Derrick Walles – Executive Chef at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Derrick Walles – Executive Chef at Alila Villas Uluwatu

Derrick Walles

With over 15 years of experience in luxury hospitality, Chef Derrick Walles brings a wealth of expertise, honed from his beginnings at Hilton Colombo to his tenure at esteemed Maldivian resorts. Now, he looks to craft unforgettable experiences, drawing inspiration from Uluwatu’s stunning landscape. Expect tantalising flavours and nourishing spreads that champion local, organic produce. We caught up with the new resident in Uluwatu and saw what lured him to the world of culinary.

by Rizky Adityo

E: How did you first get into cooking?

A: I have always loved to cook, but my uncle was the one who really inspired me to pursue a career in cooking. In 2007, I initially enrolled in Hilton Colombo’s three-year apprentice programme. My goal was to learn everything I could, and as a result, my career took off.

E: You are now the executive chef at Alila Villas Uluwatu. What inspired you to join the resort, and what excites you the most about curating distinctive culinary experiences in such a unique location?

A: Bali has an incredibly rich culture that has been influenced by many different cultures over the ages, including Dutch Art Deco, modern design and the Hindu Majapahit Empire.

I have always admired Alila’s philosophy, especially its dedication to sustainability, which is demonstrated by the use of repurposed wood in buildings and the careful handling of rainwater and wastewater. The gorgeous setting, tucked away between the ocean and the jungle, fits my cooking philosophy because I think calm spaces naturally encourage creativity.

E: How has your background in Sri Lankan cuisine influenced your approach to creating menus at Alila Villas Uluwatu, particularly in terms of utilising local and organic produce?

A: Balinese cuisine holds profound significance for us Sri Lankans, with its rich array of spices, notably chillies and a strong emphasis on seafood reminiscent of our own coastal cuisine. This resemblance makes it easier to create flavour combinations that speak to me.

In my experience in Bali, I’ve found that local suppliers are highly involved, much like in Sri Lanka. The harmonious combination of ingredients and flavours is striking. I enjoy inviting them into the kitchen for demonstrations, fostering a deeper connection with the produce we work with.

E: Could you elaborate on the fresh Mediterranean-inspired menu you’re planning for CIRE? 

A: CIRE offers the best in fine dining, using only the freshest, in-season ingredients prepared with skill and technique to create a memorable meal. We provide top-class service in an environment that makes you feel special. Our goal is to combine cutting-edge culinary ideas with the true flavours of Indonesia with a dash of global flair. I want to ensure that everyone feels welcome in our restaurants, whether they are daring and adventurous diners looking to try something new or comfortable diners seeking comfort in familiar fare. To eat food that brings back memories is definitely worth the trip.

E: How would you describe your style in operating the kitchen?

A: I guess you could say that I am one of those people who can never be satisfied. I am adamant about achieving my goals. Every day, I strive to improve things and I never stop pushing. I am looking for that perfection I know I will never achieve because, in my opinion, you can never be perfect. I just enjoy making things, and I get a kick out of being the first to do something novel and unique. I guess it’s a little bit of a show-off.

E: Sustainability is increasingly becoming a focal point in the culinary world. How do you plan to integrate sustainable practices into your culinary offerings at Alila Villas Uluwatu?

A: We strive to be mindful and conscious of our practices, working closely with responsible and ethical suppliers to minimise waste as much as we possibly can. Even though it is just a tiny step, we really think that every effort matters in the quest to build a more ethical and sustainable food industry.

E: As a newcomer to the island, are there any particular culinary traditions or local flavours from Bali that you’re excited to explore and incorporate into the resort’s menus?

A: Making dishes requires, of course, being mindful of the availability of seasonal produce. For the sake of authenticity, I place a high value on knowing where the main ingredients come from and try to combine them with complementary ingredients that are also from the same area. I am looking forward to working with many suppliers throughout Indonesia and seeing their locations to understand their enthusiasm and commitment to their crops and production processes. Furthermore,

I am looking forward to experimenting with traditional home-style cooking through culinary expeditions.

E: And lastly, what do you love most about being a chef?

A: As a chef, I live and breathe it. My motivation comes from our guests’ satisfied looks, kind words and smiles. Similar to chemistry, cooking produces unforgettable experiences with the right ingredients. My experiences working in different kitchens have taught me a lot about empathy, punctuality and discipline. 



  • 150g sashimi-grade tuna
  • 50g wasabi avocado
  • 45g roasted garlic dressing
  • 8g extra virgin olive oil
  • Garden micro herbs or scallions for garnish


  1. Begin slicing fresh tuna into thin, even pieces. Make sure to use a sharp knife to get clean cuts.
  2. Arrange the sliced tuna neatly on individual serving plates or a platter, leaving some space between each piece for presentation.
  3. Take the prepared wasabi avocado purée and add a dollop on top of each piece of tuna. You can use a spoon or a piping bag for precision.
  4. For the warm sauce, heat it gently in a saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Once the sauce is warm and ready, drizzle it over the plated tuna and avocado purée. You can be as generous or as light with the sauce as you prefer, depending on your taste and the flavour profile of the dish.
  6. Optionally, you can garnish the dish with additional ingredients like sesame seeds, chopped scallions, microgreens or citrus zest for added flavour and visual appeal.
  7. Serve the dish immediately while the sauce is warm to enjoy the flavours at its best.

Exquisite Taste Volume 43

Alila Villas Uluwatu

Jalan Belimbing Sari, Tambiyak, Pecatu

Bali 80364, Indonesia

T: (+62) 3618482166



IG: @alilavillasuluwatu