There are lots of things people think about Fiji for… the beaches, the snorkelling… the food? That was what my trip was for – to check it out. I have been to Fiji before but had really only stayed in Denarau close to the airport and so really had only seen the ‘tourist’ side of Fiji. This trip was a completely different experience.
It was amazing as I travelled out into Fiji more, and some of the outer islands, to realise how little people had… and what a stark contrast it is to the beaming beautiful smiles of the people. What is most amazing about Fiji really is the people, there kindness, caring do anything for you attitude.
During my five day foodie tour there I got to travel to five amazing resorts, some luxury and some more family orientated. I got to meet their top chefs and staff and try out their amazing food. All but one of the hotels had a well travelled, highly qualified, kiwi head chef – who knew we were such a nation of foodies?! What I found particularly inspiring was the way they were all so dedicated to training and passing on their vast foodie knowledge to the young local Fijian chefs. One of the Chefs was telling me how sad it was that he was regularly attending funerals of his peers – people dying in their forties. Partially due to poor diets which was leading to poor health. As his part he makes a point of hiring and training up Fijians – providing them not just with skills useful for employment, but also teaching them about nourishment, balanced eating – life skills. It was inspiring to see them having found a way to be providing a living, as well as life skills to the Fijians, while simultaneously providing tourists with the most amazing food, staff to patron ratios and a luxury stay.
My experience of Fiji felt so much richer this time having gotten to go out into Fiji, meet the people and experience a little more of the ‘real’ Fiji, rather than just the tourist version…. Oh, and the food was divine! – read all about it in an up-coming NZWW issue!