The award for Mea'ai Samoa: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Polynesia was made at the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Beijing. Robert Oliver was there to accept the award and said he felt both honoured and humbled: "I guess at this point you could say that Samoa cuisine has truly arrived on the world stage."
Three years previously Robert won the top Gourmand award, 'Best Cookbook in the World 2010' for his first book Me'a Kai, in which he showcased recipes from around the Pacific. It catapulted him and Pacific Island cuisine into the spotlight and was key to Robert's work in creating a sense of pride in Pacific food. He subsequently filmed a television show Real Pasifik which screened in New Zealand in 2013 and is currently filming a second series.
His goal is to marry up the tourism and agricultural sectors in the Pacific Islands by featuring Pacific Island food in the resorts to create demand for local product.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Melielegaoi says Robert Oliver's work has transformed food from the villages. "What he has done is recorded and elevated our food culture, our organic farmers and our country. We are both proud and grateful to him."
(Mea'ai Samoa: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Polynesia is published by Random House NZ.)