As the new executive chef for the trending Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach, Nic has quite some culinary projects to look forward to. From the recently opened signature dining outlet Salon Bali, to revamping the brunch and prepping for the much-anticipated SugarSand – bar and restaurant on the beach. He made some time to sit down and share some kitchen talk.
E: Who or what has been your biggest influence and inspiration?
N: My mum’s vegetable garden and her passion for organic and real home-grown food made me approach produce and products in a whole different manner. Travelling and jumping into kitchens whenever I can is great for learning and inspiration.
E: What are the most important factors or philosophies in your career and in the kitchen?
N: Continue to learn and share what I have learnt with others, push my creative boundaries and keep it exciting and new.
E: What are some of your most memorable experiences as a chef?
N: I guess the last three years or so have been rather memorable. I have squeezed in a lot of travel time and managed to set foot in about seven kitchens in five countries.
E: Can you elaborate on your role as Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach’s executive chef?
N: I have been with the team here at Indigo now just on two months; it’s been all systems go since then. We opened Salon Bali about two weeks ago. Now I am revising the new brunch offering at our all-day dining restaurant Makase, whilst working on SugarSand’s menu development with my sous chefs; it is set to open late August.
E: Salon Bali opened recently, how would you describe the restaurant to those who haven’t been there?
N: We try to source some different products and use indigenous spices. We have a small menu, we’ve got a couple of tasting menus in there as well. The idea is to add the Purnama dinner every month during the full moon. It will also be a tasting menu, but will be more Balinese traditional stuff, like the suckling pig. The whole thing will involve some of the full moon ceremony, donning traditional Balinese outfits, we’ll do a kind of blessing when you sit down, that kind of thing. The idea is that when people go there, they don’t just eat but they get to bask in the whole experience. At Salon Bali the flavours and the spices we use are certainly authentic Indonesian, but our techniques and the presentation are different from traditional dishes.
E: What are your goals for the property as executive chef?
N: To build Salon Bali into a unique experiential dining restaurant and to offer a very special Purnama ceremonial dining journey that I believe Bali has not seen yet. I would also like to position SugarSand at the forefront of Japanese and Nikkei-inspired venues in Bali.
E: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve come across so far, and how did you overcome it?
N: We are chefs, we come across challenges all day, every day, and in a big operation like this they don’t stop. You have to prioritise yet work on all fronts and collaborate with the team daily.
E: What tips do you want to give to anyone looking to break into the culinary industry?
N: Plan ahead, as with anything, do as much self-development as you can possible – travel, eat, learn and be inspired.
- 3kg lamb shoulder (meat cleaned and trimmed)
- 8g cardamom
- 10g cumin seeds
- 15g coriander seeds
- 2g cloves
- 10g long pepper
- 5g black pepper corns
- 3g white pepper corns
- 5g sea salt
- 15g dried whole red chilli (toast, deseed)
Toast all the above spices and grind dry.
- 120g shallot
- 60g garlic
- 30g galangal
- 40g ginger
- 25g turmeric
- 12 pieces candlenut
Rough chop and blend with 80g sunflower oil. Mix with dry spice and marinade lamb for minimum 12 hours with 2 whole sliced onions. Sauté lamb in 50g sunflower oil.
- 5g cassia bark
- 4g cinnamon stick
- 4 salam leaf
- 1.2l fresh coconut milk
- 1l chicken stock
- Balance flavours with 60g palm sugar and sea salt.
Pickled Labu Siam
- 100g rice wine vinegar mizkan
- 60g rice wine (mirin)
- 46g white sugar
- 10g fresh green peppercorns
- 170g dashi stock
Heat all ingredients and pour over shaved labu siam.
Charred Baby Eggplants
- 25g garlic
- 250g olive pomace oil
- Sea salt and white pepper
Cut baby purple eggplants lengthways. Blend garlic and oil together. Rub over eggplants, season. Roast in oven at 200C for 12 minutes
- 250g firm Japanese tofu
- 10g kombu (dehydrate, grind to powder)
- 30g yellow miso
- 15g mirin
- 30g mizkan rice vinegar
- sea salt and white pepper
Blend all ingredients to form mayonnaise-like consistency, keep in sauce bottle.
- 250g large green chillies
- 20g green birds eye chillies
- 40g shallot
- 20g garlic
- 120g green tomato
- 10g lime juice
- 20g white sugar
- 7g sea salt
- 3g white pepper ground
- 100g vegetable oil
Blanch and peel tomato, rough chop. Blanch and then rough chop chilli, garlic and shallot. Purée all ingredients in blender and sauté until cooked, balance and check seasoning.
- Dehydrated grated coconut
- Micro coriander
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach