A highly skilled chef with a penchant for keeping things fresh and creative, Daine has collected culinary inspirations from his impressive and globe-trotting career. Helming Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort since 2013, he talks to Exquisite Taste about what makes him tick in the culinary world.
E: Who or what have been your biggest influences and inspirations?
Daine Gilbert: Among them are Joël Robuchon, the famous late French chef and restaurateur otherwise known as “Chef of the Century”, as well as the Roux brothers, who are known for opening Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain. Another inspiration is ABaC Restaurant in Barcelona, a three-Michelin star restaurant by chef Jordi Cruz.
E: What are the most important factors or philosophies in your career and in the kitchen?
D: Always work hard to achieve your goals, being creative will always pay off well, always keep learning because there’s never a shortage of things to learn in life, and keep up to date with the latest culinary trends.
E: What is the most memorable/rewarding experience you’ve had as executive chef at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort?
D: To be able to serve 21 international APEC delegates and be part of the IMF congress – being able to cook for them was one of the top highlights of my time at Sofitel Bali.
E: What are your goals for the property as executive chef?
D: We are grateful to have our brunch become one of the most wanted brunches in Bali, and for it to have been voted one of the best hotel brunches in the world by Conde Nast Traveler. We strive to always be the talk of the town with new brunch concepts, as well as with ever-changing menus for Cucina, our award-winning restaurant that has been the trendsetter for the finest brunches on the island.
E: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across so far during your time at Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort, and how did you overcome it?
D: Sometimes the availability of certain products does not match international options and it can be a big challenge at times to find ideal alternatives. Also, the prices of original items tend to be more expensive than local ingredients.
E: What tips would you give anyone looking to break into the culinary industry?
D: Especially for young chefs who have started in hospitality, you really have to have a strong passion and love to cook to become a chef. It’s not just a job, it’s your whole life!
A rich and indulgent bisque served with chunks of sautéed lobster.
- 2-3 fresh or frozen lobster tails
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- ½ cup dry white wine or stock
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp creole seasoning
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- ½ — 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 to 2 1/2 cups lobster stock (adjust to desired thickness)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 -1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Boil lobster tails for 3-4 minutes, until shells turn slightly red. Once cool, remove lobster tails from the pot and reserve stock.
- Use kitchen scissors to cut down the centre of the tail or place it on its side and press down until the shell cracks.
- Hold the tail, flippers up and shell facing down, pull back on both sides to crack open and remove meat.
- Return lobster shells to pot, add 4-5 cups water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium-low and gently simmer for at least 20-25 minutes.
- While stock is simmering, chop lobster meat into bite-sized pieces and chill.
- Strain shells from stock and reserve.
- Add olive oil to medium-sized pan over medium-high heat and sauté onion, garlic, celery and thyme for 4-5 minutes.
- Slowly add wine (if using), then stir in Worcestershire, creole seasoning, paprika and white pepper. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Stir in tomato paste followed by lobster stock and simmer for 8- 10 minutes.
- Add cream and butter, allow to melt, then remove from stove.
- Purée small batches in a blender, season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
- Place a pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon butter followed by chopped lobster meat. Season lightly with creole seasoning and sauté for 2 minutes or until warmed through.
- Top individual bisque with lobster and serve immediately.
Exquisite Taste March – May 2019