David Gavin, Sundara at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

David Gavin, Sundara at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay

refined restaurant, creative bar and an idyllic beach club, Sundara has won hearts and followers since the get-go. Ideally nestled in the serene neighbourhood of Jimbaran, boasting a lengthy infinity pool and the soothing sights of Jimbaran Beach and the Indian Ocean, Sundara always places the food and beverage quality as top priority. The sophisticated, yet relaxing, casual ambience completes the experience. 

Late last year, the dining and drinking destination welcomed a new leader in the kitchen, Chef de Cuisine David Gavin. The Swedish-born chef, however, is not a new name on the island’s thriving culinary scene, previously working for a much-coveted fine dining establishment in Bali. With his arrival, David brought along new ideas to refresh the Sundara menu. 

With his fondness for Indonesia, David is heavily inspired by local flavours, exotic spices from across the archipelago, and high-quality locally sourced ingredients to craft his dishes. Add to that the authentic raw flame-oriented cooking methods, such as roasting, grilling and smoking to honour the neighbourhood Jimbaran barbecue culture, and diners should be prepared to be gastronomically enchanted. 

Juxtaposing refined French techniques and presentation with genuine Indonesian ingredients and recipes, David and the culinary team present divine delicacies, such as the juicy, crispy baby pig with snakefruit chutney; smoked Australian wagyu brisket with fresh green peppercorns from north Ubud and roasted local sweet potato; and salmon cured in kelp with Indonesian vierge sauce, smoked avocado and fresh herbs. 

Embracing how the island is home to so many fresh and unique ingredients and how the local chefs can use 20 different spices in a single dish, such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, nutmeg and more, David aims to incorporate as many local fruits, spices and seafood varieties as possible to serve meals with ingredients that are true to Indonesia. 

E: What is the biggest challenge you’ve come across when refreshing the concept for Sundara, and how did you overcome it?

A: As with many restaurants, consistency is one of our biggest challenges. We have a couple of new chefs on the team and a new menu, so we are currently focusing on staff training. Another challenge is finding suppliers who can deliver the best produce consistently when we need it.

E: Where do you usually get your inspiration for your culinary creations?

A: I like to stroll around markets and speak to suppliers to find great products, as well as eat out, read, and ask staff about food traditions and what they eat at home, but inspiration can come from anywhere and anything.

E: What do you think is the key to being a successful/great chef? 

A: Being patient (I’m constantly working on this!); spending time in the kitchen; and being open-minded and curious enough to continue learning.

E: How would you describe your career journey in the culinary industry?

A: In one word: fantastic! I started working in Sweden as a teenager and have worked in many kitchens over the years. Now I’m working in this beautiful setting alongside some of the best chefs in Bali, so it’s been an interesting journey.

E: What advice would you give to those who would like to get into the industry?

A: Work in restaurants with great chefs and learn from them, listen and always be open to learning. Move abroad, work in many different restaurants, and try new things.


  • Crispy baby pig with snakefruit chutney
  • Squid risotto 
  • Salmon cured in kelp with Indonesian vierge sauce

Sundara at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay (sundarabali.com)