Celebrity Chef John Ashton (www.JonAshton.com) recently visited American Samoa on a mission to learn about the local food culture. Chef Jon has teamed up with Crystal Cruises to bring the taste of the world right to their ship. He explores various destinations with local specialists, experiences the culture first hand, and uses these concepts as inspiration to create dishes with the ship's culinary team for Crystal Serenity's passengers.
Chef Jon’s visit to American Samoa gave him the opportunity to experience a very unique dish – Samoan sapasui (chop suey) while also learning a about the island, the people, and the Samoan culture. Chef Jon was greeted at the port by TourAmericanSamoa.com owner Paula Stevenson-McDonald for a 6-hour tour to get a better understanding of this local longtime favorite dish. The first stop took Chef Jon to the beautiful beachfront DDW Beach Café, where Chef Iose showed Chef Jon how to make Samoan sapasui. While the DDW recipe remains a secret, Chef Jon got an up-close look at the preferred ingredients and method of preparation. The next stop took Chef Jon to a local Samoan food favorite, Charlie’s (formerly Louise’s) Samoan tona’i in Tafuna. Here, Chef Jon was able to sample a few variations of sapasui and also some of the other local favorites like the coconut shrimp curry. The last stop on the agenda was to visit Paula’s cousin Moelili’a to see how their grandmother Ma’amu used to make sapasui when they were kids. The family recipe hasn’t changed and will continue to be enjoyed by generations of the family to come!
Armed with this new information and experiences, Chef Jon works with the culinary team on the Crystal Serenity to craft a new dish using concepts and ingredients from his visit. These dishes are featured at different restaurants on the ship based on the cuisine.
Chef Jon was also accompanied by his film crew and at some point in the near future, they will release an episode of his traveling adventure to American Samoa. The show will be published as a web series that will be hosted on Crystal's website and social media platforms.
Watch this blog for updates! Safe travels Chef Jon!