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Fou and Katerina Fale Tuitama want to change the way people perceive Island food.
“Our Samoan food especially, is beautiful,” says Fou. “Yes our food is served in bulk and is seen as ‘fatty’ but it doesn’t have to be. Our vision for food is for it to be presentable and to add certain ingredients to enhance the flavours. Authenticity is the goal.”
The husband and wife duo are the proud owners of D’vine Banquets, a catering business serving Pacific and Western food with stunning presentation.
"Every time I went to an event where Samoan food was served, I would analyse the food and think of ways of how I could make it more appealing to the eye or to the taste buds - our food can be underrated at times and I wanted to emphasise that.
“D'vine banquets has introduced the recreation of our Samoan delicacies to be served not only at our private functions but at a corporate level too.”
Since its’ launch in Auckland two years ago, the pair have enjoyed catering at many events in the world’s biggest Polynesian city. Having seen the potential for growth, the couple decided to relocate to Melbourne in 2017 to try their luck and to entice new consumers. It wasn’t long before they were inundated with enquiries and bookings.
Opening the business hadn’t always been easy particularly with their three young children in tow. With a fourth child now added to the mix, Fou (Faleasiu,Leulumoega) and Katerina (Lalomanu, Aufaga) reflect back on their journey.
Fou’s love of cooking goes way back to when he arrived to New Zealand from Samoa as a nine-year-old, not knowing a word of english. Fe’aus (chores) were carried out everyday in his household and it was there where he enjoyed learning how to cook.
Years later, the vibrant couple decided that Fou should pursue his love of food more seriously and take on a chef’s course. Katerina did not hesitate to go back to work as a flight attendant for Virgin Airlines and study a couple of business papers of her own (part-time).
They juggled their courses and work respectively around their children but it was their strong faith in God that pulled them through.
“God gave us a vision and a dream that we both knew we couldn’t do on our own and he provided the very people we needed.”
After Fou had graduated, they decided to take that leap of faith. They wanted to create a business that centered on good hearty food combined with a sense of togetherness and inspired by memories of the motherland - but to expose this concept to a bigger audience.
“I wanted people of different backgrounds to taste our food and experience the flavours and heart behind our creations and taste. A close friend of ours said to us ‘You guys are sitting on a gold mine.’
The couple say the feedback from their clients has been overwhelming.
“We were blown away at people’s reaction to our food especially our taro, palusami and chopsuey."
“Sometimes we felt it was a museum display of food because people didn’t want to touch it as they were engaged in the presentation of our food. It’s so true what they say, you ‘eat with your eyes first.’”
D'VINE BANQUETS - Auckland NEW ZEALAND & Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 432 344 761
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