The staff at Tropica Island Resort have an excellent reputation for their warm and professional manner and head chef Gerard Mar is no exception. We’re proud to say the resort continually receives overwhelming positive reviews from guests that dine with us! Gerard’s culinary finesse and his commitment to utilizing fresh produce within the creation of his innovative dishes really does speak volumes (in-between mouthfuls of course). Meander down from your ocean view room and indulge in a carefully prepared, flavourful meal.
Our main restaurant has undergone extensive renovations and is now a premium entertaining space that overlooks the infinity pool and into the Pacific Ocean expanse. Tropica Island Resort loves a private island celebration and our ever-changing menus and extensive international wine list has all the evidence of just that. We recently sat down for a sunset chat with Gerard on the Tropica jetty to ask him a few questions about his passion for food and for life and coincidentally it was just as the local fisherman arrived to deliver the daily catch.
Hi Gerard, where are you from?
Bula, I’m Fijian born and bred, I was raised in Nadi.
What inspired you to & when did you start cooking?
At an early age, about 12. I was always inspired by mum and my grandparents cooking styles and loved going with them on trips to the market. Seeing all the colourful fresh produce there and taking in the aromas was always a highlight of my youth.
Please name a chef/s that you admire?
Mum’s cooking…she always cooks the best food. Pretty much all sushi chefs, such talent. Marco Pierre White is a solid influencer of mine too.
What are you most likely to cook at home on a Sunday afternoon for family and friends?
Can’t go past a Sunday roast with all the trimmings or a large dish of wonton soup to share.
Which local Fijian ingredients have you been cooking with lately?
Ota; it’s a local bush fern also known as ‘pikopiko’ to our Kiwi friends. Fresh fish such as Mahi Mahi and Snapper. Mud crabs and local herbs/spices.
Do you have a signature restaurant dish Gerard?
I’m currently in the process of creating a ‘Coconut Curried Mud Crab’, a ‘Prawn Kokoda with Green Papaya Salad’ and a zesty ‘Crispy Reef Fish with Red Wine Vinegar Sweet and Sour’ for the menu.
Favourite international cuisine?
Mostly Japanese but also classic French and traditional Italian.
Where do you source most of your produce from?
We aim to have as much local produce as we can here at Tropica. However, our beef is regularly sourced top quality Australian and New Zealand suppliers.
Do you have a favourite traditional Fijian style dish?
Sure do. One is Ota Miti which is bush fern in fresh coconut cream and another true favourite of mine is Lovo Pork with Palusami and Sweet Potato. Palusami is taro leaves wrapped with coconut cream and cooked in the lovo aka earth oven.
What country have you not been to that you would like to visit to sample their food?
I cannot wait to experience Japan one day and of course France too – their bakeries would be amazing.
Please tell us your favourite pastime in Fiji outside of the kitchen?
Well, spending time with family is very important to me. Plus, I’m keen on fishing and find it pretty relaxing, same goes for sitting around the tanoa for an authentic Fijian kava session.
What activities would you recommend to guests visiting Tropica Island Resort?
Island hopping throughout the Mamanuca group is spectacular. There’s world class diving just offshore too. Personally, I reckon a game of beach volleyball and a massage at the Tropica Day Spa is a good way to put in the afternoon. Our kitchen team can arrange a private picnic with all sorts of tasty items, so if you’re here for a spot of romance I’d definitely do that.
For those reading who would like to see our sample menu’s please click the button below.