In a first for NZ publishing, Me`a Kai: The Food and Flavours of the South Pacific has been named the Best Cookbook in the World for 2010 at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
In order to secure the win, Me’a Kai beat off stiff competition from NOMA – one of the most talked about cookbooks of the year – and the New York Times Cookbook.
The win for Me’a Kai was announced at a glittering ceremony in Paris.
“This is quite remarkable and we are so utterly thrilled for the author, Robert Oliver,” says Me’a Kai’s publisher, Nicola Legat, the publishing director of Random House New Zealand.
Author Robert Oliver and tourism academic Dr Tracy Berno decided to put together a gorgeous recipe book that would say to Pacific chefs, “this is who you are! Your food is as great as any.”
They approached Fiji’s best photographer, Shiri Ram, and so began the
journey leading to a book which has been hailed as a breakthrough in the Pacific, and of which local people are intensely proud.
“This makes the win all the more sweet,” says Nicola Legat.
“Robert and Tracy ensured that it is so much more than a cookbook. It’s a celebration of the home cooking of the Pacific, of food that is all too rarely available to the visiting tourist and that is miles away from the corned-beef-and-taro stereotype that some visitors have. It’s also a book that argues that if this food was celebrated and offered more, then the Pacific would experience a rise in economic activity and sustainability.”
Authors: Robert Oliver with Tracy Berno and Shiri Ram