You have been all over the map! How does being in a new environment/culture influence your culinary craft? What have been the benefits of living abroad, both professionally and personally?
I love living abroad not only because I do love to share new methods and dishes with new teams, but more importantly because they teach me so much about local cuisine, traditions and culture. I always try to soak up as much as I can and incorporate some of the local ingredients, creating a western style dish with a fun local take on it.
What do you believe makes Balinese cuisine stand out? Are there ingredients/dishes you are excited to create with?
I believe the great local herbs and spices you can find all around here on the island are what’s making Balinese cuisine stands out. I love it! The local markets offer a huge variety and the freshness of Balinese products is remarkable. I specifically excited to create dishes with local herbs like moringa and kemangi, these are special to this area and give a true local flavor.
What was it like to attend The Culinary Institute of America? Was there a particular mentor and/or experience that positively impacted you?
The CIA was such a great experience! They treat the program as a military academy to create structure and order. This gets the young cooks mentally ready to head out into the industry. One thing they do very well is exposing students to all types of cuisine from around the world in one campus; this creates a wealth of knowledge and hands on experience for the students to have before they depart.
How do you get into your “element” to make that perfect dish? What gets the creative juices flowing?
Talking to local vendors gets me in the moment for creating dishes. When you meet a farmer who is passionate with his crops, it makes you respect that ingredient so much more. Having an ingredient straight from the farm keeps it at its peak flavor, so it doesn’t need extra manipulation.
What do you believe are common misconceptions about culinary arts, or the food industry in general?
I think most people in this industry think that it will be an easy job like they see on Food Network. Truth is, it takes a lot of dedication and determination to execute a consistent product for the guests coming to experience your work.
When life gets tough, how do you push through?
After a busy day in the kitchen, getting home to my wife! Ally has been an amazing support, especially when we decided to come to Southeast Asia for this amazing experience.
There will always be bumps on the road! For me, I love being able to come to work and be with my talented team as we all lift each other up, and push each other to reach excellence.
Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life journey?
My father, by far. He was a single father, and taught me to keep pushing to achieve all of your goals, nothing is too big or too challenging to accomplish
Describe your dream kitchen. Where would it be located? How would you design it?
My dream kitchen is what we have here in W Bali, a team of talented Chefs who all are pushing to send out a better dish than the last one
Do you have skills or hobbies you enjoy when you’re not in the kitchen?
I love to travel with my wife, and eat in all styles of restaurants, tasting other visions of cuisines. There is no right or wrong way to make food, but there are so many different ways to make one dish, which is why I like seeing how other chef’s interpretation of dishes.
What are your goals as the new Director of Culinary?
W Bali – Seminyak was set up very well by the previous chefs. There is such a great team of Talents here, producing amazing dishes every service. My goal is to ensure each guest experiencing our restaurants leaves with a positive flavor in their mouth and remember it in their heart.