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Homecoming of Sorts for New Zealand Chef

Wednesday 12 October 2005

Homecoming of Sorts for New Zealand Chef

It’s a homecoming of sorts for New Zealand chef Brendon Coffey when he starts work at Fiji’s newest five-star luxury resort.

Brendon is the new executive sous chef at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, which is due to open on December 10. He headed over to Fiji a couple of weeks ago and despite it being his first visit to the island Brendon already has an intimate insight into Fiji’s culture and food as his wife Sharon was born in Fiji.

“While I have never actually been to Fiji before I certainly know all about its culture, heritage and food and have been eating and cooking the local cuisine for many years. Sharon – who is also a chef - is of Fijian Indian descent and I’m really looking forward to adding a taste of New Zealand into the menu and combining it with local Indian flavours and dishes into fusion that could be described as Pacific Indian,” he says.

Brendon hopes to have a New Zealand influence in the menu and to create a contemporary Pacific flavour, including his favourite New Zealand produce – lamb, beef and fish. Distinctive dishes Brendon has in mind include some favourites his wife has introduced him to including a tomato and coconut salsa which works really well with hapuka and baby salad greens, and innovative eggplant dishes utilising homegrown Fijian eggplant.

“Simplicity is the key, less is more and I will be utilising the best available local produce, both local Fijian and from New Zealand,” he says.

Brendon comes to the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa from the position of executive chef at the Heritage Hotel Auckland and will be working alongside executive chef Jean-Marc Perrignon. Jean-Marc was previously at the 700-room Novotel Xinqiao where he oversaw the complete renovation of the Food & Beverage operation resulting in awards for the best French restaurant in Beijing. He has more than 15 years Experience as an executive chef and has also worked in New Caledonia, Paris, Oman and Tahiti.

“It was time to move on and Fiji was a great choice, my 10-year-old daughter Natasha and wife Sharon are really looking forward to it,” Brendon says. “I’m also looking forward to working for Accor.”

Brendon’s career spans 25 years including working as executive chef at the Citylife Hotel Auckland Heritage Hotel, head chef at North Shore’s Killarney Street Brasserie and a working stint abroad. He was New Zealand Culinary Fare Assistant Chief Judge 2004, confirmed Chief Judge 2005 and his career highlights include catering for the All Blacks and Heads of State and Prime Ministerial functions, along with being invited to participate in the World Gourmet Summit 2000 in Singapore.

The Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa is located beachside at Denarau Island amidst 26 acres of stunning landscaped garden. Its facilities include three restaurants and three bars, a lagoon style free-form pool, a tranquil day spa, kids club, retails outlets and a wedding chapel. Resorts guests also have access to the Denarau Golf & Racquet Club with its 18-hole golf course and 10 tennis courts.

The 296 guest room resort will offer Fiji’s biggest and most luxurious conferencing setting with its ballroom seating up to 720 delegates theatre style and 640 for a sit down dinner. The eight meeting rooms are complemented with private gardens and verandahs to take advantage of the balmy Fijian climate.


Sofitel is the prestige brand of Accor hotels, with 185 properties that bring a unique French “art de vivre” to prime locations around the world.

With 168,000 people in 140 countries, Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in travel, tourism and corporate services, with two major international activities:
- hotels: over 4,000 hotels (more than 466,000 rooms) in 92 countries, casinos, travel agencies, and restaurants;
- services to corporate clients and public institutions: 19 million people in 34 countries use a broad range of services (food vouchers, people care and services, incentive, loyalty programs, events) engineered and managed by Accor.

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