Saturday, June 28, 2008


UNIQUE, authentic and great tasting. They are three reasons that Dickson Lum (pictured) stuck with Japanese cuisine for 21 years.
He says the traditional diet is one of the healthiest in the world the emphasis on authenticity, practicality, health and simplicity.
Tofu. Miso. Sushi. Gree tea. Soba. These are terms that even locals are becoming familiar with.
Dickson's first brush with anything Japanese came about in 1987 while working at Sheraton Fiji on Denarau, Nadi.
It was there that he met the owner of Daikoku, a restaurant that specialises in Japanese food. The rest is history.
He is now a supervisor, looking after the sushi bar at the Daikoku restaurant in Martintar, Nadi.
Dickson attended Vatukoula Marist Convent Primary School and completed his secondary education at AD Patel in Ba.
"My intention was never to be a chef or be involved in the food industry," he said.
"After high school I moved on to FIT in Suva, aspiring to become a mechanic. During my second year at FIT I had come down to Nadi."
"That's when things started to change for me. I started working for this Japanese guy Ikeda and ran his business for him."
Dickson said after that stint he found employment with the Sheraton Fiji when it first opened its doors for business in 1987.
He said while at the Sheraton he met the owner of Daikoku Restaurant.
"I was asked whether or not I would like to work at their restaurant in New Guinea," he said. "I saw this as a challenge which I grabbed with both hands. I got to learn Japanese cooking."
"While I was out there in New Guinea I also got to do my cookery courses and other short courses to add to my qualifications."
He stayed in New Guinea for eight years
Dickson, who refused to divulge his age or delve in his personal life, said young people need to outgrow the mentality that being a chef was a third grade job.
He said there were great career opportunities and money that could be earned by people who mastered the craft.
"You are stars especially in the food business because it's you that prepare customers' meals."
In 1995 when Daikoku opened its doors for business in Nadi town, Dickson returned to Fiji.
"When Daikoku opened for business here in Nadi, I came back to work here and been here ever since," he said.
"It's been more than ten years that I have been based with Daikoku here in Nadi.
"Learning Japanese cooking is not very easy as you need a lot of skills to prepare meals.
"Even though I have been preparing Japanese meals for a while, I learn something new every day."