Sheraton brings people together with Gourmet Festival

Locals got a taste of international and local food cuisines with live music at the Gourmet Festival on Saturday.

Organised by Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows and Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, Manager of Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort, Mark Wendt, said the inspiration of the event came from the Sheraton brand being about bringing people together.

“And with the current COVID-19 challenges of border closures we needed a concept to draw people in and because we have a variety of chefs from different countries including locals, we wanted to showcase their talents,” he said.

The event also presented an opportunity to showcase what both properties have to offer in terms of food.

“We have gotten a lot of feedback about what the local guests favour and what cuisines they love," Mr. Wendt said.

“It gives us an opportunity to showcase what we have that are all popular with our guests.

“This festival has got three components which include: food, inspiring young students to take up various professions in the hotel by giving them a tour, and giving our partners a chance to display their products.”

He added that some locals think hotels are about cleaning rooms and checking in people.

“But we have other departments like finance, sales and marketing which are opportunities that these students can use.

“This will be an annual event and to showcase both properties and we will alternate hosting the event.

“We have been working really hard with the Samoa Tourism Authority to try and include this as part of their tourism calendar.”

He added that even though the month is not during its busy times for tourists but the hotels hope to attract guests to have a more reason to visit and stay for a week.

“We have also brought in our business partners like, Taula Beverage, Ah Liki Group, Chan Mow, Vailima, and also Samoa Women’s Association of Growers. Our plan is to grow the event and maybe by next year we can host it at Mulifanua."

“A challenge is that we are coping with the impacts of COVID-19 and it has also affected the economy but our teams have worked so hard to get this all organised.”

Chef Rajesh Ramasamy said that some of the unique dishes on display include: Malaysian traditional soup, seafood laksa.

“The significance of the festival is that it gives us chefs an opportunity to showcase our work with the different dishes.

“We have seen so many people become intrigued with our international food cuisines because the food we have is not common and in Samoa. But we have also infused in some dishes both local and overseas cuisines.”

A Samoan Commons Chef, John Vasa, shared his passion for making deserts.

“We have on display a sacher cake, vanilla cheesecake, chocolate cake. I think that most people love sweets because the food somehow cheers gives people feel good.

“Desert is always the last part of a full course meal and besides, we all need sugar or something sweet.”

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