Robert Oliver is a New Zealand chef who was raised in Fiji and Samoa. He has developed restaurants in New York, Miami, Las Vegas and Sydney, "farm to table" resorts in the Caribbean and food programs feeding homeless people and African immigrants with AIDS in New York City.
Robert returned to the South Pacific from the Caribbean to write his first cookbook with Dr. Tracy Berno and Fijian photographer Shiri Ram.
Written with a development mission to connect Pacific agriculture to the regions tourism sector, “Me’a Kai The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific” stunned the food world by winning top prize, "Best Cookbook in the World 2010," at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris, considered to be the Oscars of cookbooks, beating the books from NOMA (the worlds best restaurant) and The New York Times. In 2015 “Me’a Kai” was deemed by the Frankfurt Bookfair to be the 3rd best cookbook in the world in all categories for the years 1995-2015.
In 2013, Robert released “Mea’ai Samoa: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Polynesia” (Random House). In May 2014, this book won the “Best TV Chef Cookbook in the World 2013” at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing in association with his television series REAL PASIFIK. REAL PASIFIK is the Pacific’s first regional food television series and travels across the Pacific Islands connecting chefs to traditional cuisine and local agriculture
Robert is Chef Ambassador for Le Cordon Bleu and is a judge on the hit prime time cooking show “My Kitchen Rules” and is co-host for the Maori reality cooking show “Marae Kai Masters”.
Because he’s making it all about entertainment by including the fabulous presence of Cindy of Samoa. For those of you unfamiliar with Cindy, she is an internationally acclaimed ‘fa'afafine’ singing sensation, renowned for her impersonations of Shirley Bassey, Whitney Houston, and Tina Turner.
Her revue-style show is considered one of the top 10 things to do in Samoa and she’s a regular performer at SkyCity Casino and corporate and charity events all around New Zealand. What’s she doing at a cooking gig? Making it more fun for the audience, according to Robert.
“She’s a masterful performer who is revered in Samoa not just as an entertainer but also as a super-generous soul. She brings this great energy and pizzazz to the show. It’s going to be ‘food as entertainment’,” he says.
Cindy will help Robert prepare his dishes, which naturally have a Samoan theme. First up will be raw salmon with ‘Poke’ (pronounced ‘poor-keh’) ginger and soy sauce dressing and garnished with cucumber and grated coconut. Followed by ‘Ota Ika’ with mango and mint, in which raw fish is dressed with lime juice, chilli, coconut milk, mango, and mint. And to cap it all off, a delicious iced ‘Koko Samoa’ smoothie-style drink using fabulous Samoan-grown cocoa, condensed milk, and coconut milk.
Cindy will distribute samples of these dishes to the crowd so this demo promises to be a delight for the taste buds as well as for the ears and eyes.