Head Chef at Sheraton Samoa serves up new dining concept
Jiju Rajappen is promising to bring not only a new taste to Samoa's growing cosmopolitan dining scene but also an entirely new way of running a restaurant.
Jiju is the Executive Chef for Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows new restaurant, which has been re-branded to Aggie Grey's Restaurant.
He has previously cooked for U.S. Presidents Barrack Obama and George Bush, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England, and musicians such as Elton John and Michael Jackson.
But for his newest venture the focus will be exclusively local.
“I want to get what’s in the market; what’s available; what’s seasonal, so I am making the menu accordingly for weekly, so that makes a change compared to other restaurants,” Chef Jiju told the Samoa Observer.
"[We are] opening with a new concept. [The] menu changes every week, unlike other restaurants [that] don’t change their menu daily or weekly [and] have the menu for years.
“We are not selling one dish; we are selling a five course meal, which people can have a taste of five different meals at $95 tala."
The chef was born and bred in India but now resides in Australia.
His career has taken him all over the world including Italy, Mexico, England, India and now Samoa.
“I worked in big restaurants like Sheraton, the Hyde, Inter Continental Hotels Group, and on board the Queen Elizabeth II cruise ship for two-and-a-half years, where I travelled the world.
“My style of cooking includes fresh food, putting it in an artistic way to the plate and be natural.”
Chef Jiju came to Samoa in 2017 motivated to introduce a new concept of cooking, but that did not happen because of Cyclone Gita.
“Now after almost two years, I will finally make use of my ideas,” he said.
Asked about his passion for cooking, Chef Jiju said: “I was born into cooking. I used to help my mother a lot in cooking. My brother is also a chef, so that drives me to become who I am. And I also love eating food.”
Chef Jiju supervises 40 chefs.
His pastry chef is from France; an Italian chef has charge of the restaurant's breakfast menu.