At work with: Chef Molly Vaike


Airways Hotel’s signature chef, Molly Vaike, is training the next generation of Papua New Guinean chefs and taking the national cuisine to the next level.

Airways Hotel’s Molly Vaike.

Molly Vaike started her career at Airways Hotel nearly 15 years ago and has risen through the ranks to become the company’s signature chef. Airways draws business travellers and tourists to its restaurants Vue Restaurant and Louge Bar, looking across the Owen Stanley Ranges, fine diner Bacchus and casual Italian eatery Deli KC.

The pandemic poses many challenges to the hospitality sector, and Vaieke says that the Airways kitchens all have added safety measures to make sure that customers are safe.

The signature chef is now mentoring the next generation of Papua New Guinean hospitality workers, a role she takes very seriously.

Molly Vaike on …

1. The Airways culture I have always felt supported to grow in my various roles at Airways and for me the company has always been a place where locals are encouraged to be who they want to be.

2. The next generation Currently we have chefs that don’t have a lot of experience, but when they come to us we help them to broaden their knowledge and become better chefs. It is like a college.

When new chefs come and we train them, they often move on to somewhere else, but we are still happy because it is like having our Airways product somewhere out there because they are taking the skills they learned with them. We learn and they learn, and it can lead to new local dishes on the menu for guests to enjoy.

Story continues after advertisment...

3. Celebrating local food The hotel has a long history of great Indian and modern-Australian dishes and I cook a lot of the dishes for the Indian buffet. Recently we have put a lot more local Papua New Guinean dishes on the menu.

Previously , we would put dishes like aupa with coconut chicken on the menu for Papua New
Guinea’s Independence Day, but there is now a local menu all the time. The dishes, like grilled local prawns with papaya salad or a puff pastry stuffed with sautéed aibika leaves, can change a bit, depending on what the suppliers bring us. Sometimes they deliver it to us and sometimes we just get what is at the market, but it is always fresh.

4. Why she loves her work My husband is also a chef, so it is something of a family business.
You create something that looks perfect and then when someone eats it and enjoys it, it makes you feel good too.

The article ‘At work with … Chef Molly Vaieke’ was first published in the August-September issue of PNG Now, PNG’s leading lifestyle magazine.

Leave a Reply