You read the reviews, listen to the praises from friends and colleagues, or happen to catch one of your favorite celebrities exiting that very spot you’ve been meaning to check out.
You know what the folks on the outside are saying, but have you ever gotten the story from someone on the inside?
journeyPod goes behind-the-scenes in Chef’s Corner with some of the World’s most esteemed, critically-acclaimed, award-winning (and naturally, our favorite) culinary masterminds to get the real scoop!
Come away with us on a tasting excursion to the island of Palau as we explore the local fish, giant clams, fruit bat soup, taro & unique Palauan recipes. journeyPod gets up close and personal with Executive Chef Alex Suzuki for the Palau Pacific Resort.
How did you get your start in cooking?
I used to watch my parents take turns cooking for our big family when I was younger. I decided that I wanted to start cooking for a living and moved to Hawaii for 3 years to learn the trade at Victorias Station. As most of the dishes in Palau are comprised of seafood, I was able to add BBQ and the art of cooking meat to my resume.
Tell us about the cuisine of Palau as well as the food at the Palau Pacific Resort:
I would say Palauan cuisine is made up fish prepared in very unique ways like being wrapped up in coconut leaves, or cooked in coconut milk. I used to cook a lot of fish in coconut milk – the magic ingredient for Palauan cuisine, but once people started getting too big they realized that the fat from the coconut milk was not helping with their diet.
What three ingredients are always in your kitchen?
Soy sauce, oil and fish.
Is there anything you won’t eat?
I’ll try everything at least once.
If you were on Iron Chef Japan, what would you hope would be the key themed ingredient?
Tuna which, believe it or not, is very versatile. For the dessert I would make a grilled teriyake seared tuna in a chili fruit salsa.
What’s the strangest request you have ever received from a customer?
A group of Malaysians visited my restaurant here at the Palau Pacific Resort and asked for their meat to be cooked Halal. This is not an easy thing to do in Palau – the guests spent the rest of the week as vegetarians unfortunately.
What celebrities have you cooked for?
John F. Kennedy Jr. and his wife Carolyn Bessette as well as the Prime Minister of Japan and Malaysia.
Would you kindly share the recipe of one of your signature dishes with us?
Sure here is the recipe for Steamed Local Fish with Palauan Nuts:
Debone one whole fresh fish, season with salt and pepper. Steam for 10 minutes. Add salad oil, sliced ginger and diced onions to a saucepan and cook for a few minutes. In a third saucepan cook soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and water. Add juliened green onions to the third saucepan and combine the heated ginger and onions with this sauce. Add chili, garlic and palauan nuts (may be substituted with walnuts or almonds) and cook for a few more minutes. Once this sauce is done, pour slowly over steamed fish.