E: When did you first discover you had a passion for cooking?
Richard: When I was in my final year of high school, I went on a two-week internship to a famous London restaurant and loved it so much that I knew this would be my chosen career.
E: Who or what have been your biggest influences and inspirations?
R: I’m influenced by many things from products, producers, to my last meal. Bali is a great place for constant inspiration with the amazing ingredients that are available.
E: What would you say your signature dish is? Can you tell the story of the inspiration behind the dish?
R: Not really sure I have one particular dish, even the dishes that I consistently put on menus around the world always have some kind of evolution every time they appear. My current favourite is a dish made using local hamachi, which we cure in smoked sea salt for three minutes and then marinate like a ceviche in orange and yuzu juice. We serve this on top of a wild fennel panna cotta – the fennel we pick from our garden here in the hotel. It’s a great flavour and texture combination with sweet, sour and salty elements, which I really love.
E: What are some of your most memorable experiences as a chef?
R: I have some amazing memories of visiting local markets in Vietnam and meeting artisans of some wow products like forest honey, which depending on the season can taste and smell like longan or mint. There was a lady we met in a village who coloured sticky rice in seven different colours using only natural roots and plants. I’ve been a part of some awesome events like the air show in Dubai where we catered a set menu for 3,500 people, with Katy Perry playing live during dinner. There will always be lows but as long as the highs keep outweighing them, I’ll keep going!
E: What future goals do you have that you still want to achieve?
R: I have quite a few future goals, which include opening my own restaurant, writing a book, forging my own knife and distilling my own bottle of gin, to name a few.
E: What tips would you give to anyone looking to break into the culinary industry?
R: Work hard, don’t work for money and work for the right people and everything else will look after itself with time.
Crab with Jicama, Nitro Pomelo and Wild Fennel Blossom
- 350g jumbo lump crab meat
- 50g mayonnaise
- 8ml lemongrass essence
- 5g chives, finely chopped
- Zest of half a lemon
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, julienned
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2kg lemongrass
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 500ml water
- 1 medium size jicama, remove skin
- 100ml water
- 25ml white sushi vinegar
- 2 fennel seeds
- 25g sugar
- 50ml red beetroot juice
- 10g fresh turmeric juice
- 200g pomelo flesh, no skin, no seeds
- 200ml liquid nitrogen
- Fennel flowers
- For the lemongrass essence, smash the lemongrass with a rolling pin and shred roughly. Heat oil in a large pan and sauté the lemongrass until aromatic, add water and bring to boil, reduce to a simmer until there is 400ml of water left. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until a purée, hang overnight in a muslin cloth with a bowl underneath to catch the essence. Set aside.
- For the jicama, make the pickling liquid by placing the water, vinegar, sugar and fennel seeds in a pan and bring to boil. When boiling, turn off and leave to chill. Once cold, divide the vinegar into half – one half goes to the beetroot juice and the other half to the turmeric juice. Cut the jicama into discs of about 1cm in diameter. Place 24 discs in each pickle solution, so you have two colours of pickled jicama. With the remaining jicama, cut some fresh discs, keep in ice water until required.
- For the crab, carefully combine all the ingredients, make sure not to break the crab too much. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in the chiller.
- For the pomelo, place the pomelo flesh into a clean and dry stainless steel bowl, pour the liquid nitrogen over the pomelo, it will turn white as it freezes. Once the liquid nitrogen has all evaporated, smash the pomelo with the back of a spoon and it will break into tiny segments.
- To serve, divide the crab onto four plates, using the outside of a pastry cutter to make a ring. Arrange carefully so you don’t press the crab meat too much. Add the two coloured pickled jicama discs and the fresh white jicama. Place some fennel flowers around and sprinkle the nitro pomelo.
W Bali – Seminyak
Jalan Petitenget, Kerobokan,
Bali 80361, Indonesia