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The Good Cooks Episode Two: Fiji with Sarah Todd

Sarah Todd inspects taro plants with Jasmine Stice in Fiji

In episode two of ‘The Good Cooks’, Aussie chef and restauranteur, Sarah Todd, travels to Fiji to learn both how ACIAR is helping local farmers and to learn how to cook like a Fijian.


Despite its rich soil and tropical climate, increasingly unpredictable weather patterns combined with limited commercial farming knowledge meant most of Fiji’s fruit was imported and Fijian fruit growers were missing out on export opportunities that could change the lives of the locals.  


Livai Tora take Sarah Todd to The Natures Way Cooperative where breadfruit are being heat treated for export
Livai Tora take Sarah to The Natures Way Cooperative where Fijian breadfruits are being heat treated for export

So ACIAR used Australian overseas aid to bring together teams of Australian and Fijian scientists to work with the Fijian fruit farmers on a range of new agricultural programs.

Some designed innovative ways to protect fruit trees from cyclones and tropical storms. Others developed better suited varieties of fruit trees—a major success being a new export-quality Fiji red papaya. 

By helping introduce infrastructure and knowledge to commercialise fruit production, ACIAR helped farmers significantly improve fruit quality at the same time as reducing costs, increasing local employment and growing revenue.


Sarah Todd cooking Fijian fruit lote
Sarah Todd cooking Fijian fruit lote

In this episode of 'The Good Cooks’, Aussie chef and restauranteur, Sarah Todd goes to a village on the outskirts of Nadi to meet local growers involved in the program who show her how to cook like a Fijian.

Sarah Todd
At the tender age of 18, Sarah was discovered as a model. She moved to Sydney, Australia under contract and then spent most of her career travelling the world and working for high-end fashion labels. 

Sarah’s now classically trained in French cookery from Le Cordon Bleu and was pinned as the favourite to win MasterChef Australia Season 6. She has published her first cookbook with worldwide publishing house Penguin. 

Sarah has filmed six television series. My Restaurant in India is a 6-part series showing Sarah’s journey from model to mum to MasterChef contestant to author to restaurant owner and is a lesson in doing business the Indian way. The series has been broadcast on SBS Australia, Food Network Australia, National Geographic, Fox Life India in 156 countries. Serve It Like Sarah is a 10-episode adventure, travel and food series. Sarah travels and cooks her way around Goa tasting local delicacies. 

Sarah has achieved a new level in her career, from contestant and explorer to now an entrepreneur and an advisor to aspiring chefs and restaurateurs. She filmed Grilled in which she is the host and judge of a new restaurant start-up series airing on Fox Life in 2017. Currently in production is the second series of My Restaurant in India. 

With thanks to the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture, Voivoi Estate, Aviva Farms, Bula Agroforestry Nursery, Nature’s Way Cooperative, Navilawa Village and the University of the Sunshine Coast.

For more information on the ACIAR project visit the project page: Enhanced fruit production and postharvest handling systems for Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga