Restaurant Manager and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Bali Resort
E: What are your responsibilities?
J: Looking after the day-to-day operations for Kayuputi restaurant, maintaining the high reputation of the restaurant and working with the team to improve the service. Besides that, I also look after the wine programme for The St. Regis Bali Resort. Currently we hold 350+ wines on the wine list and it is not always easy to keep it that way. It’s an honour to be looking after the wine programme for a prestigious hotel like the St. Regis Bali Resort.
E: What makes a typical day?
J: Honestly, I wouldn’t know, the restaurant environment is very dynamic. Every day I have the pleasure of welcoming new guests with their own wishes and preferences. Being able to discover these wishes fast helps to make a good day. The best days are when operations are running smoothly and nice wines are being sold. Even though I am not only focused on wine, due to my passion and enthusiasm for grapes, selling a nice bottle of wine really makes my day.
E: Your best attribute?
J: Enjoying what I do. Running the restaurant is definitely something I enjoy every second of the day. It’s not always easy and sometimes I think actions should have been different, but the success always outweighs the negatives. It’s the best feeling when a guest thanks you for an amazing evening. Together, with the team, we work hard everyday to achieve this. Training, guiding and working with the team is an absolute pleasure.
E: Team player or team leader?
J: It has to be both; you cannot be a leader without being a team player. After all I am just one person and am not able to do it all on my own. I always try to get my team as involved as possible and I value their opinion.
E: Who has been the most influential figure in your career to date?
J: I am lucky enough to have worked in some of the finest restaurants back home in the Netherlands so I have had a few, but the one that really stands out for me has to be Ronald Opten. He was my maitre’d and director of wine at La Rive Restaurant at The InterContinental Amsterdam. The way he thinks and speaks about hospitality and wine is truly inspirational and very admirable. It changed the way I look at hospitality and how I share my passion with guests and staff.
E: Name one really special thing about your hotel or restaurant?
J: At The St. Regis Bali Resort there are many things that you can call truly special; the luscious gardens, stunning views of the Indian Ocean and unique design. But for me I would have to say the staff, they make Kayuputi and the resort truly special! They are so friendly, kind and genuinely interested in you as a guest or fellow colleague. When I started at Kayuputi, they where so interested in who I was, what I thought of their island and how they could help me find my way around. I felt at home straight away. The same level of hospitality is extended to everyone visiting our property.
E: How do you unwind?
J: Going out for dinner with friends, travelling the world and discovering new cultures and scenery. Skiing!
E: Dead or alive, who would you like to take out to dinner?
J: Anthony Bourdain! I always enjoyed his TV shows. It would be a boozy night with lots of talk about food, drinks, life and travelling. What’s not to look forward to!
Exquisite Taste June – August 2019