10 October 2017. Samoa – For most people, cooking is just part of their everyday routine. For Tomai Manoa, cooking is her passion and way of life.
“I started to develop a love for cooking when my friends and other people commented on how my cooking was really delicious”, said Mrs. Manoa.
Tomai Manoa was born in Vaimoso where she spent her early childhood, living with her grandmother. ” I didn’t have any formal cooking training but when I was little, my grandmother taught me how to cut onions and meat.”
Being taught simple techniques was the foundation for Tomai’s culinary journey.
She later relocated to American Samoa and lived with her Aunt Koleta in Leone. That’s when her skills developed and she realized her true potential.
“When I was 14 years old and living with my aunt, I started cooking for our family and for family parties.”
Constantly revising her basic recipes and improving her methods of cooking with her family’s meals has honed Mrs Manoa’s culinary skills.
Before moving back to Samoa in 2009, Tomai lived with her family in the United States. She ran a small catering business with her husband and their good friends Smitty and Molly Pedro, in St George, Utah.
Tomai Manoa is currently operating her food catering business from her home in Palisi. Aside from catering weddings, funerals and parties, she delivers breakfast items and lunch to locals who crave her specialty – mouth-watering Teriyaki Chicken Meals and pastries.
Many offices and businesses are taking advantage of the convenience of having lunches delivered.
Ms Manoa has a culinary vision she is working towards for the future. “I want to put up and operate my dream restaurant that I would call Samoa’s Finest Restaurant, structured in 5 different islands like a mini-mall with handicrafts and shops.” This is a long-term goal for Tomai and something she has always wanted to do.
Every culinary artist has been inspired by someone and for Mrs. Manoa, her late grandmother is her inspiration.
“She is my inspiration and role model in cooking. She was the best cook I knew growing up and I want to be like her. I’ve noticed that my granddaughter, Noralani, also has a passion for cooking at such a young age and it makes me want to keep cooking and to teach her everything I know.”
Tomai Manoa is the wife of Bishop Mulimai Manoa and mother to two daughters. She enjoys spending time with her granddaughters and making people happy with her cooking.
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