The vibe was chill, as usual, and I had to opportunity to learn more about the house chef, Manasa.
The first time we stayed at Waidroka, I was impressed by the food: its flavors, presentation–and quantity (I love to eat, and I don’t like small portions).
The food was impressive again this weekend.
We learned that Manasa is on Team Fiji of the “Pacific Island Food Revolution” TV show, where regional chefs compete.
This guy is an artist. It shows in the elements, preparation and presentation on the plate. He is very creative, and he uses local ingredients for a cosmopolitan palate.
For dinner our first night, he made roast pork with compote using a Fijian citrus fruit that’s like a cross between an orange and a lime. The pork was wonderfully tender–even the fat melted in my mouth–and the veggies were well seasoned. Excellent.
For dinner the second night, he allowed me to come into the kitchen and take photos of him plating the appetizer and main.
The appetizer was a lovely pumpkin puree, garnished with an orchid and cilantro and served with delicious garlic toast. Pumpkin is popular produce in Fiji.
The main was tuna, a fish native to Fiji waters, served on a bed of couscous.
Dessert was chocolate served four ways, varying in density and texture: two types of cake, a coconut ball (coconut is a common ingredient in Fijian cuisine) and a sauce. Beautiful. Like I said, the guy is an artist.
He hopes to own his own restaurant showcasing Fiji food to the world one day. I have no doubt he can accomplish this. He certainly has the talent.