CELEBRITY chef Lance Seeto will give his services and that of his Castaway Island Resort team for free to cook at a glamorous ball which aims to raise money to establish a professional association for fashion designers in the country.
Speaking about the Fashion Designers Alliance of Fiji's Crystal Ball, which starts at 7pm today at the Suva Civic Centre lower auditorium, Mr Seeto said food and fashion were two fronts on which Fiji could be highlighted on the world stage.
"Like the work we are doing with food in the tourism industry, the fashion community is raising the international focus on Fiji and so we have many things in common," he said.
For the first time in Suva and maybe even Fiji, Mr Seeto will conduct an open food site while cooking for guests at the inaugural Crystal Ball.
At $100 a ticket, the celebrity chef has named his menu 'Diamonds & Pearl', enough of a challenge to become the night's main entertainment.
But the celebrity chef is both excited and eager to impress.
"This will be the first for me to cook in a public place and for a fundraiser but this is a good cause and I'm quite excited.
"Castaway Island Resort has generously agreed to sponsor everything to do with the cooking, so I'm bringing down a team of six chefs who are also eager for the experience."
The Castaway Island Resort sponsorship comes at an opportune time for its kitchen staff who have been off normal duties since December's Cyclone Evan ravaged the West, the heart of the tourism industry.
"Fashion and Food are two of Fiji's exports which is driving international interest in this country," Mr Seeto said.
"I believe that fashion designers and Fiji Fashion Week are doing important work in telling people about what else we have to offer to the world.
"We do the same work, food and fashion and so this time we are bringing to Suva a taste of what we do with tourists so the fashion community can enjoy it.
"Like fashion, the food industry has had some influence but not enough to drive a bigger international audience so its great to keep doing new things like events like this to influence not just the way we do food but also fashion."
Naziah Ali, president of the FDAF said the organisation was quite humbled by chef Lance's willingness to be a part of the event as the ball would provide much needed funds to get important work done.