Hospitality Business Magazine

Scholarships, Suva and Sustainable Fish


Mika Vakasilimiratu, Avikash Singh & Maraia Vakasilimiratu

Searing and soaring to success, Fiji chef Avikash Singh continues to live his culinary dream, graduating recently from Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand and taking home the celebrated Joie de Vivre award.

Avikash has spent the last few months training at the Wellington campus of the world-renowned culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu, as a 2016 WWF-Pacific Sustainable Seafood Project scholarship winner.

The Sustainable Seafood Project is an innovative partnership between WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Pacific, Le Cordon Bleu New Zealand Institute and the New Zealand Aid Programme. The primary aim of this project is securing food, fisheries and a sustainable seafood future in Fiji. The Sustainable Seafood Project also works to build a strong collaboration between local fishing communities and hotels for sustainable inshore fisheries management and seafood supply.

A sous chef at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel (GPH), 27-year-old Avikash, graduated with a certificate in Basic Cuisine.

Avikash grew up in Moto, Ba, and was inspired by his father, a popular wedding cook. He began his hospitality journey industry at Smugglers Cove at Wailoaloa, Nadi, and then five years at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola. In 2011, Avikash studied for six months at the Australia-Pacific Technical College in Fiji. When the GPH opened in 2014, he joined its culinary team.

Avikash is very enthusiastic about incorporating locally-sourced fresh ingredients in his cooking, and advocates the “from sea to plate” approach of seafood. A favourite seafood dish was his 2011 Silver Award-winning “Seafood Platter” dish which included kaikoso, fish mousse and crab “using all local seafood, fruit and vegetables”.

WWF-New Zealand Fiji Project Coordinator Sholto Fanifau said this project was about ensuring that “Fijian people have fish for life. Having Fijian chefs trained at a prestigious school like Le Cordon Bleu is an added bonus for the project. These chefs are taught how to create recipes using local seafood to meet their clientele demands and in doing so will decrease their reliance on imported seafood.”