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Samoan Cuisine with Spencer Matagi

Chef Spencer Matagi, is a Chef de Partie at Soul Bar and Bistro and graduated from the New Zealand School of Food and Wine in 2018. Chef Spencer shared the Samoan classics, Palusami - Taro leaves, steamed with coconut cream along with Samoan lamb chop suey.

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Chef Spencer Matagi prepares the taro leaves for the Palusami.

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Palusami wrapped in foil to bake and our students watching on.

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Palusami ready to serve hot from the foil - taro leaves, steamed with coconut cream.

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Collective effort to plate up the Palusami. 

Follow Spencer -  Instagram - @chefmatagi                            



  • 12 Taro Leaves
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Can Coconut Cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Foil to make parcels


  • Dice onion and crush garlic
  • In a bowl mix diced onion, crushed garlic and coconut cream. Season well with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly, then set aside.
  • Cut off a piece of foil big enough to cover the biggest taro leaf so that the leaf is not over lapping the foil.
  • Place the biggest Taro leaf in the middle of the foil and layer 3 more leaves biggest to smallest on top of the foil. 
  • Spoon 3 large tablespoons of the coconut cream mixture into the centre of the taro leaves.
  • Bring the sides of the taro leaves and foil up to a point to make a small parcel. 
  • Twist the centre of the foil to seal the parcel.
  • Repeat twice with 4 leaves in each parcel and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 45 minutes.




  • 250g Vermicelli Noodles
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (Crushed)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Celery Stalks
  • 2 Carrots
  • 15g Crushed Ginger
  • 4 Lamb Chops
  • Water (to cover the 4 lamb chops to boil)
  • 1 Cup Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Cup frozen vegetables (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil
  • 2 Cups of Lamb Broth
  • Cooked Rice (optional for serving)


  • Place lamb chops in a pot and cover with water, bring to the boil until the lamb is cooked and then take out lamb and put aside the broth for later.
  • In a pot heat cooking oil and cook mirepoix until fragrant. Add crushed garlic, diced lamb, crushed ginger and soy sauce.
  • While the meat is cooking (remove string from around the vermicelli) place vermicelli noodles in a bowl and cover with cold water until soft. Strain straight away and cut to preferred length with scissors.
  • Add chopped vermicelli noodles to pot and mix gently.
  • Slowly add the lamb broth, continoue to cook on low/medium heat until broth has reduced.
  • Serve with rice or on it's own.


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Celia Hay

Celia is a qualified chef and holds the WSET (London) Diploma of Wine. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History, Master of Education (Distinction) and MBA Master of Business Administration from the University of Canterbury.

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The School

Founded by Celia Hay, the New Zealand School of Food and Wine opened its first campus in Christchurch in 1995.

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