The Pacific Community’s (SPC) Public Health Division launched a recipe contest in February this year to promote healthy eating and to encourage the use of local ingredients. It is important to promote healthy, locally sourced recipes with reduced levels of sugars, salt and fat, to help combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are responsible for 75% of deaths in the region.
Participants through this contest, had to submit recipes using local ingredients, the use of less sugar, salt and unhealthy fats, creativity and visual presentation to showcase Pacific cooking traditions. 41 contestants submitted their recipes and the public voted for the best 10, with a selection panel comprising of Pacific chefs and dieticians selecting the winner.
The winner for the Pacific Healthy Recipe Contest is Margareth Prudhomme from New Caledonia. Her “Fish Pumpkin Bouquet” is a beautiful arrangement of grilled fish on a vegetable “bouquet” (purple yam, pumpkin flesh, leaves and stalks, red cabbage and passion fruit). The recipe can be easily reproduced, and the pumpkin shoots can be substituted by other green leafy vegetables if needed. Margareth has won herself and for her family, a gourmet meal prepared in their own home by chef Gabriel Levionnois. Gabriel Levionnois is a renowned New Caledonian chef and restaurant owner.
The most liked recipe on Facebook was Judith Taupotini’s “Poke manioc sauce auti” (Cassava poke with auti sauce). Judith is from Marquesas Islands and added a fresh new twist to the traditional recipe with auti leaves, which is not very common in modern cooking.
It is noted that unhealthy eating habits contributes to the NCD crisis in the Pacific, and one of the objectives of the Public Health Division is to raise awareness and increase people’s knowledge of eating healthy in order to prevent NCDs in the long term.