Uncle Tony’s inspiration

The PNG hotel industry needs more local food on the menu, says Anthony Wesley Evennett.

Anthony is commonly known as “Uncle Tony” and appears on a local television cook show, Haus Cook.

However, he is not a professional chef.

Tony’s decision came after his experience on an American tour boat as a part-time cook and tour guide.

He says he never cooked unless they were on an island with restaurants.

“They preferred to go eat at hotels and restaurants. And looking at the hotel industry, there was no culture in our food. Nothing represented PNG in our food,” he said.

“Everything was stock-standard. Only a handful of places where they had few traditional mumu and clay pot cooking that we could order but then we had to order ahead for it to be prepared because these are slow cooked food.”

That was where he got his idea that PNG should have its own menu, which integrates traditional and modern dishes and methods of preparation.

This opportunity came with the offer to cook on Haus Cook.

Since then, Tony has been a cook that lives by the moment, making up dishes on the spot as he goes.

“So half the dishes are pretty much done on the spot. I get the base idea and then, on the day of shoot, I make it up and improvise as we go.”

His dishes bring out a more PNG and tropical feel into it, where he prepares simple recipes with the most easy and accessible ingredients, and cooks outdoors.

“This is acknowledging my culture; and that is the people. Because we Papua New Guineans are people people.”

Uncle Tony is still pushing for a specific PNG menu that should be included in hotels and restaurants, both nationally and internationally.


Gloria Bauai