Chef Robert Oliver wants Kiwis to buy a stake in their own Pacific restaurant video

While the islands get a bad rap for their cuisine, dishes like Fijian raw fish kokoda have gone unnoticed.
Shiri Ram

While the islands get a bad rap for their cuisine, dishes like Fijian raw fish kokoda have gone unnoticed.

World-renowned Kiwi chef Robert Oliver is hoping to change negative stereotypes of Pacific cuisine, showing it's more than just fatty pork and taro.

Winner of the best cookbook in the world and ex-My Kitchen Rules New Zealand judge, Oliver has taken Pacific cuisine across the world, setting up restaurants across the United States. But the proud Kiwi wants to highlight the cuisine at home in Aoteroa.  

He's aiming to open one Kai Pasifika restaurant in Auckland this year, with a second on the cards by 2019. The plan is to boost trade with the Pacific Islands and train chefs in local cuisine.

Chef Robert Oliver, right, with chief operations officer Richard Hall, property and Pacific advisor Repeka Lelaulu and ...
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Chef Robert Oliver, right, with chief operations officer Richard Hall, property and Pacific advisor Repeka Lelaulu and chief financial officer Kenina Court.

Members of the public are being invited to make their own contribution through Pledgeme with an incentive of having a stake in the restaurant.

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Without over complicating dishes, Kai Pasifika will be highlighting dishes like this Fijian fish stew at the restaurant.
Shiri Ram

Without over complicating dishes, Kai Pasifika will be highlighting dishes like this Fijian fish stew at the restaurant.

Oliver said he wanted people to take ownership of Pacific cuisine, and the restaurant, rather than seeking private investment. 

Dishes on the menu include salmon poke, fish salad; Fijian-style kokoda, a coconut milk marinated fish dish; and pork belly with koko Samoa, a chocolate sauce.

New Zealanders can invest from wherever they are.  

Hawaiin salmon poke, a marinated fish salad, is becoming increasingly popular world-over.
Shiri Ram

Hawaiin salmon poke, a marinated fish salad, is becoming increasingly popular world-over.

"[They] can come to Auckland and say 'I'm going to my restaurant'," Oliver said. 

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The group are also open to looking at expanding into Wellington and other major centres. . 

Up to 50 per cent of the company is up for grabs, with a minimum investment of $500 at $1 a share. 

"That's within reach for many, many people. They will be part of it from the beginning."

Their target for investment is $450,000, with a cap at $600,000. Over $150,000 has been pledged so far, with the campaign culminating at the end of November. 

Oliver said he viewed New Zealand as a Pacific nation, so wanted to highlight and adhere to Pacific values. That's part of the reason they are offering up to half of the business to the public. 

"Community comes first."

And while Auckland has a vibrant dining scene, there was nothing highlighting a large portion of the population's culture. 

"Pacific cuisine has kind of got a bad rap." 

It would also play a role in educating chefs on how to cook Pacific dishes, which is not often taught, as well as paying staff the living wage minimum ($19.80 per hour).

For more information, or to invest, visit: pledgeme.co.nz/investments/250-kp-auckland-limited

 - Stuff

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