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Love and passion

Shayal Devi
Saturday, May 20, 2017

FREQUENT visitors to the Korotogo-based Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort may have come across Jope Lalaga Sema at some point during their stay.

The 47-year-old is seen as one of the most senior staff at the property after being in the culinary field for nearly 16 years. And he shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.

Originally from Serea Village in Naitasiri, Sema says his father was a high school teacher and mum, a housewife.

"I have two brothers and a sister and I have an 18-year-old daughter who is studying at the University of the South Pacific," he said.

"I have been in this trade for about 16 years and my love and passion for food encouraged me to enter this trade.

"I'm the only one in the family who is part of this profession."

Things didn't pan out as planned when he first joined, Sema recalls.

"I started my career as a steward in 2000. In 2002, I was promoted as a cook and was the first steward ever to be climbing up the ladder as a cook.

"I did breakfast, dinner a la carte, buffets and fine dining too. In 2007 I was promoted to a commis (junior) chef and in 2015 to a demi chef de partie position. I got more exposure in other culinary areas of kitchen.

"The thing I enjoy the most about my job is that I look back over my past and seeing how far I have come.

"We have had changes in the kitchen and I feel proud to be a part of this team which is highly recognised in Fiji as one of the finest resort kitchens in Fiji."

He says one of the hardest aspects of his job was balancing time with his family and work demands.

"Despite all this, my major goal is to become a senior chef before I retire.

"I have had many memorable moments that are a part of my work and one of this includes sharing my knowledge with the newcomers and learning from them at the same time.

"After I retire, I hope to pursue teaching in culinary schools as a volunteer and share my experience and knowledge, prepare the future chefs on what to expect when entering this profession."

Sema says his motto regarding a successful family and work life has remained the same throughout the years: love and passion are the key ingredient for success.








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