Samoa’s culinary and hospitality industry has taken another step forward in being recognised further, internationally.
Last week, Owner of Scalinis and President of the Samoan Culinary Association (S.C.A), Chef Joe Lam, graduated as a culinary competition judge with endorsement from the World Association of Chefs Society (W.A.C.S).
The World Association of Chefs is the premier culinary association, and to graduate is an achievement and honour for Chef Lam and Samoa.
But why did Chef Lam undertake this gruelling training in the last week of July in New Zealand?
On Saturday 29 October 2016, the Samoa Culinary Association is hosting the first ever national chef competition called Oceania Gas Salon Culinaire, here in Apia.
Salon Culinaire is like the Olympics of the culinary world.
Participants practice for months prior to the competition under strict supervision and training from chef coaches.
On the day of competition, participants’ kitchen hygiene and management skills along with their culinary expertise are scrutinised by W.A.C.S endorsed judges. Competition is fierce, standards are of an international standard and only the best of the best will be awarded a gold medal (if at all).
For the Samoan Culinary Association to run the Oceania gas Salon Culinaire event, Samoa must have W.A.C.S endorsed competition judges.
Chef Joe Lam will now pass on his newly gained skills and training to other local chefs, so they can eventually become qualified competition judges.
As part of Chef Lam’s training he was required to judge up and coming chefs competing in the Pacific Region Challenge at the New Zealand Salon Culinaire.
Teams from Guam, Fiji, New Zealand and Australia competed.
His mentor for this part of his training was the world renowned Swedish chef, Mr. Gert Klotze. Having judged this competition, Chef Lam is excited about the ability of Samoan chefs.
“Samoa could have easily put a team up for the New Zealand competitions this year. S.C.A is now working hard to have a team there next year,” he said.
As President of Samoan Culinary Association, Chef Lam met with other Pacific Presidents from Guam, Fiji, Cook Islands, Australia, Vanuatu and New Zealand.
Even though S.C.A is a new organisation, he is encouraged as to how S.C.A matches up with other associations.
“S.C.A is very active in the programmes that we are running. For example Salon Culinaire in October, Oka Festival in December, and the current Samoa New Zealand Friendship Week Restaurant Challenge, which S.C.A is associated with.”
Further exciting training opportunities for local chefs in 2017 are planned with “a huge possibility in discussion at the moment that would see some exceptional international chefs running master classes, workshops and seminars for our local chefs. Watch this space,” says Chef Lam.
For further information about the Samoan Culinary Association, or if you want to be involved in sponsorship with our events please visit our Facebook page @samoanculinaryassociation or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.