Roko’s claims top prize at Oka Fest

By Sina Filifilia Sevaaetasi ,

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PROUD WINNERS: Head Chef Tino and Savelio with their team at their booth at Home Café.

PROUD WINNERS: Head Chef Tino and Savelio with their team at their booth at Home Café. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Oka is a traditional Samoan dish consisting of three simple ingredients: fish, coconut cream and lemon.  

Yet the chefs who took part in the second annual Oka Festival at the Home Café at Malifa yesterday hoisted the traditional Samoa delicacy to an entirely different level with their creative demonstrations.

They were not just beautiful to look at; they tasted divine.

The Home Café was packed with food coinsures and curious visitors who attended the Samoa Culinary Association’s annual Oka Fest.  

The competitors were: Taumeasina Island Resort, Roko’s, Scalinis Restaurant, Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Resorts and Hotel, Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa, Tanoa Tusitala Hotel, Siva Afi and Apia Bottling Company.

But it was Roko’s Restaurant that stole the show.

Head Chef Tino of Roko’s was absolutely elated.

“It’s pretty awesome,” he said. “Today there was a bit of pressure but I thought we did pretty well.” 

“I would like to say thanks to all the competitors and the Association for putting together this competition.  It’s one of the rare traditional foods.  It makes us proud to be doing Samoan food.”

Samoan Delicacy: Siva Afi won first place for in the Coconut Cream division.
Samoan Delicacy: Siva Afi won first place for in the Coconut Cream division.
Winner: Roko’s Award Winning Masterpiece.
Winner: Roko’s Award Winning Masterpiece.

Also present was Celebrity Chef, Peter Kuruvita.  He was ecstatic to witness the hard work that all the culinary artists portrayed.   

 “It was a pleasure to be working with the chefs in Samoa and it was an amazing honor,” he said. “What I saw today, skill and dedication and all of you helping each other and supporting each other was amazing.”

Mr. Kuruvita stressed the importance of keeping a sanitary workplace.

“Where I think we need to improve is: food safety,” he said. 

“I think soon, we’ll start to grow, as Samoa becomes busier, which you’re going to, because this is the most beautiful place in the Pacific.”

“And as you do get busier and more and more people come, there’s going to be demands on the supplies and on the restaurants and hotels and business to ensure that nobody gets sick.”  

“And that, we need to start by having the right cutting boards, looking at hygiene and I mark hardest on hygiene, I think once we begin the whole route of hygiene, we can only get better and Samoa will be better to come to.”  

Although oka was the highlight of the event, there were plenty of food stalls that were also present at Home Café. Of course the kids weren’t forgotten, as there was a bouncy castle while the adults enjoyed an icy cold beverage, jamming to great music.  

© Samoa Observer 2016

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