Inspiration abounds for Joshua Job as he updates the menus and venues at The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa. Exquisite Taste talks to him about creativity, being a chef and what he is preparing to unveil in the resort’s wining and dining outlets.
E: What brought you to Indonesia?
J: I’ve been holidaying in Bali since I was a child as my dad was a surfer. I jumped at the chance to work here; I love the lifestyle and it’s a great place to bring up young children.
E: Do you find Bali a particularly creative place?
J: Yes, it’s one of those magical places and benefits from some wonderful produce. Chefs in Bali are not afraid to fail, which means you can create something a bit more beautiful and meaningful than usual.
E: What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
J: It’s a fantastic way to be creative. I’ve been in the industry for a little over 20 years and I still feel that there is so much to see and learn. As a chef, I get to express myself through food and being able to serve something new to people is very satisfying. Yes, the hours are long and it’s not glamorous work, but it’s satisfying to see people enjoy food you have prepared.
E: You’ve been known for preparing very health-conscious dishes here in Bali; is that a particular interest of yours?
J: I grew up with a strong understanding of nutrition and healthy food and more recently have studied nutrition and became a qualified personal trainer. Many of our guests in Bali are very discerning and are looking for health-conscious choices that are produce-driven and nutritionally balanced. I enjoy presenting this kind of food.
E: How do find inspiration to create new dishes?
J: Inspiration is mostly from memories with layers added from external sources, like your surroundings, family, the local culture and produce. Family is always a strong influence for me.
E: What are your culinary plans for The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa?
J: We are updating all of our venues, so they’re fun for the public as well as our hotel guests. Sanje, our beachside Mediterranean restaurant, is very casual and produce-driven and is one of the few hotel restaurants locally with direct beach access. We’re launching a new health-focused breakfast menu and a lunch menu that’s inspired by Sicily with some Greek and Spanish influence.
Santan, our Asian-inspired restaurant, is being redecorated to reflect Bali’s golden era, the 1930s, with wooden shutters, big chandeliers and earthy tones. Here, I’m taking inspiration from Southeast Asia with Thai, Indonesian, Balinese and Malaysian food.
Meanwhile, Klass & Brass is being reinvented into a fun, after-dark, speakeasy-style bar. This will offer an incredible cocktail menu, with a matching food menu of small bites inspired by Indonesia, Asia and the Mediterranean.
We have lots happening, including wine dinners and our signature rijstaffel in the wine cellar. Our aim is to be fun and have something for everyone.
E: What food trends do you see happening in the next couple of years?
J: This is a hard one to answer. With foraging now popular, here in Bali we’re seeing restaurants with their own vegetable gardens, which could also move into rearing their own livestock. We’re also seeing regional classics being delivered in a very simple, authentic way. The industry is very fickle and the trends in Bali are often very different from what you’d see in the big cities of the world.
E: What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?
J: Something I was told years ago; don’t be afraid to fail. Fail, fail again and continue to fail; but don’t forget how you failed. That’s how you learn and grow.
“My Gnocchi” with tomato, white wine and basil
- 2kg large russet or desiree potatoes
- 2 egg yolks
- 100g parmesan cheese
- 300-400g baker’s flour
- 2kg very ripe tomatoes (Roma, cherry and grape)
- 200ml dry white wine
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp castor sugar
- 30g basil leaves attached to stem
- Bake potatoes at 180-200C for 1.5 to 2 hours, until the skin starts to crisp and a knife pushes easily into the centre.
- Cut potatoes in half and scrape out soft flesh. Grate in a Mouli.
- Tip: If you don’t have a Mouli, use a grater, but you’ll need to grate quite quickly or the potatoes can turn into thick goo!
- Lightly flour a clean surface and spread out the grated potato. Finely grate parmesan onto potato, then add the two egg yolks.
- Slowly mix all ingredients together, adding a little flour with each turn, until gnocchi dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the bench. Approximately 6 mins.
- Divide into 10 even-sized portions. Roll each with a little flour into long threads until about 1.5cm in diameter, then cut into 1cm lengths to create pillow-shaped gnocchi.
- Once you have 2-3 threads, blanch gnocchi in boiling salted water for about 1 minute.
- Refresh gnocchi in iced water before straining. Toss in a little olive oil and set aside in the chiller until needed.
- Cut the tomatoes into 1cm pieces and place in a bowl.
- Add white wine, salt, sugar and basil. Crush and massage the tomatoes with your hands to mix flavours together.
- Meanwhile, in a heavy-based pot, heat olive oil on high heat until very hot. Toss in the tomato mixture and cover. Stir every minute or so to help tomatoes break down slightly.
- Take off the heat and keep warm.
- Heat a heavy-based skillet and add a small amount of olive oil.
- Season the gnocchi with sea salt and pan fry until golden brown on both sides and slightly crispy.
- Take pan off heat and add 2 large spoonfuls of tomato sauce to the pan. Toss 2-3 times and plate immediately.
- Garnish with fresh basil leaves and olive oil on the side.