Kai Moana Takeaways, located at the Cook Islands Game Fishing (CIGFC) in Tupapa opened two weeks ago.
“I’ve always wanted to open my own business, I’ve been seriously thinking about it for quite some time, I have the passion and I have 17 years of experience in the hospitality/food and beverage industry,” says Nelio.
Nelio first started waitressing by chance –while attending college (thinking of becoming an accountant) she covered a shift for a staff member at the Mai Tai restaurant.
She was surprised at how much she enjoyed the experience.
“I loved it, talking to the customers, interacting with people, I felt it was me.”
Currently Nelio manages Bamboo Jack’s in Avarua. Over the years she has completed several courses (food & beverage, culinary arts etc) at the Hospitality Tertiary Training Centre at Ngatangiia.
Her main focus is to concentrate on serving meals made with local produce, fresh fish, vegetables, fruits and whatever foods are in season.
“I’ve got high expectations of what I want to do, I must ensure the quality of the food is good, consistent and always up to standard,” says Nelio.
Nelio is grateful for the support from her mother Ngatamaine Ngatoko-Bates and her partner Adj Mave who have stepped into the role of taking care of business while she is working at Bamboo’s.
“They are such a great help, it’s great to have family I can rely on.”
Her current menu features local dishes such as goat curry, ika mata, island fries and tiopu kuru (breadfruit stew), the usual fish and chips, mussels, and fish sandwiches are also available to order.
She is looking into sourcing seafood from the Pa Enua and will eventually add more local dishes to the menu.
Nelio acknowledges and thanks the Cook Islands Game Fishing Club (CIGFC) for giving her the opportunity of owning her own business and proving herself.
“I can’t thank them (CIGFC) enough for believing in me and giving me this chance to set up my own business.
She also appreciates all family and friends who have, and continue to support her in her new venture.
Kai Moana Takeaways are open Monday to Friday for lunch 11am-3pm and dinner 5pm-10pm, Saturdays 4pm–10pm.