Interview with Dean Keddell, Chef & Owner of Ginger Moon & Jackson Lily’s

Tell us about yourself and why did you decide to open Asian home cooking restaurants in Bali?

I was born in New Zealand and moved to a small country town Australia with my family at the age of 10. At age 16 I started an apprenticeship in the local hotel and after completing my 1st year and with the basic skills to get my foot in the door, it was off to Melbourne.  Since then the urge to discover, explore and create has taken me to many interesting places.

My distinctive cuisine at Ginger Moon Asian Canteen is best described as “Asian Innovation”- creative, exciting, fun variations of the classic dishes of Indonesia. Jackson Lily’s follows these same lines but encompasses a lot more of the globe taking in food influences from my Chef’s Journey – many years of travelling and working in diverse, far flung locations.

I strongly believe wherever I am in the world my food should reflect my location. The people around me share the foods they love to eat and help write my menus.  My ultimate aim is to create everlasting memories with one of life’s simplest but greatest pleasures – food. After all, sharing great food with friends, family and loved ones creates wonderful memories to be treasured long after the dishes have been washed and the lights have dimmed. My Bali restaurants are a haven for those who appreciate and celebrate the diversity of Bali and all this wonderful island has to offer

What is your most memorable moment since being a Chef?

My job has allowed me to travel and work all over the globe, I have memorable moments a plenty. I have cooked for many famous people and worked in some amazing establishments but my most memorable moments are created in my restaurants every day. There is nothing more pleasing than watching 100’s of happy people leave with smiles on their faces.

What is the weirdest request of food/drink that you or your team had to prepare? 

If you are squeamish best skip to the next question. The weirdest request by far occurred early in my apprenticeship so 30+ years ago. A guest requested a raw beef fillet – served warm with a sauce they brought themselves, also served at room temperature, that looked like and I am quite certain was (cow?) blood. They said they had an iron deficiency but to this day I am not so sure…    

Who has inspired you in life, and why?

My inspiration comes from the amazing places I’ve lived and worked in Asia and elsewhere, and the many styles of cooking I’ve shared with generous and stimulating people along the way. Inspiration on a daily bases comes from the people I surround myself with, my family, the people I work with and the many interesting people I meet as guests.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done in your life?

Become a chef!

Is there any world famous chef that you would like to meet and why?

Living chefs not so much but past Chefs there are a few. I would like to meet Marie-Antoine Careme, “the King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings”, a true inventor and genius, to see what he could come up with in today’s kitchens would be mind-blowing. And Anthony Bourain, a witty, charismatic global traveller, whose dark humour and journey of self-amusement made him a lot more interesting than most.

If you were not being a chef, what career choice would you pick and why?

I was always going to be a chef for as long as I can remember but if I had to choose another career it would have to be along the same vein (eating, cooking & traveling) so a Travel Journalist I would be.     

What do you do for fun during your day off?

Making most of the time I have with Jackson & Lily is the most fun I have, of course eating and/or cooking is always part of the plan.

What is your most favourite Indonesian food?

I am a chef, all food is my favourite, desires may change from day to day but it’s all good. I guess that’s why Nasi Campur always hits the spot, so many tastes, and so many different things to try. My “Mother-in-Laws” chicken curry is on the menu at Ginger Moon, it’s a memorable dish, but I can’t single out one all-time favourite. I will have to keep eating till I can J               

How do you want to be remembered?

By my kids – the worlds’ best Dad.

By my wife – the world’s best husband & father.

By my sisters – a caring, truthful, loving brother.

By my teams – a supportive & thoughtful person who gave them the training and knowledge they need to succeed professionally and of course financially in order to provide a sound future for themselves and their families. Someone who made their part of the world just that bit better than it used to be.