Luigi Calcagno and Gianluca Visciglia, founder and executive chef of Zibiru respectively, have come a long way from their Italian roots, each taking different paths to becoming the culinary masters they are today. Having teamed up at Zibiru once again, the pair share their storied pasts, which have seen them around the world and, now, at the summit of Italian dining in Bali.
E: How did you both debut in the culinary industry, and were there any notable influences throughout your upbringing?
(L): My foray into the culinary world was profoundly influenced by my upbringing, particularly by my uncle, who was a successful restaurateur across France, Luxembourg and Italy back in 1992. Growing up around his restaurants, I gained invaluable exposure to various facets of the industry, from the intricacies of fine dining to the dynamics of casual restaurants and bars. This early immersion not only honed my appreciation for the culinary arts but also provided me with unique insights into business and management.
Here in Bali, I’ve embraced the opportunity to establish my own brand, a culmination of my diverse experiences and a reflection of my passion for the culinary arts. It’s been an incredible journey of learning, growth and discovery, deeply rooted in the influences of my early years and the diverse cultures I’ve encountered along the way.
Gianluca (G): My journey in the culinary world began quite humbly, rooted in the traditions of my hometown in Italy where I started as a butcher at a young age. This experience was the spark that ignited my passion for cooking, propelling me into the heart of the culinary universe – Firenze, Italy.
With over 25 years of dedication to the culinary arts, I’ve had the privilege of working with international luxury hotel brands such as Shangri-La, InterContinental and Pullman, spreading my wings across four countries: Italy, the Philippines, Oman and Indonesia. My career has been significantly influenced by my time under the tutelage of several French and Italian Michelin-starred chefs, as well as collaborations with various celebrity chefs.
My roots in Italian fine dining, combined with a deep-seated passion for pastry, have been the cornerstone of my culinary identity. It’s been a remarkable journey of hard work and a testament to the belief that with determination and passion, one can rise from humble beginnings to achieve global recognition in the world of gastronomy.
E: Luigi, as the founder, what was the story behind Zibiru when you opened it?
L: Everything began in 2012 with a vision to create something truly unique in Seminyak. The core idea was to establish a venue where the worlds of exquisite cuisine and soulful music could intertwine, crafting special moments for all who walked through our doors. Whether it was a meal shared among close friends, a romantic date, a family gathering or a simple yet delightful dinner with a life partner, the goal was to make each dining experience memorable.
Moreover, we proudly boast a selection of over 100 labels of Italian wines, accompanied by a curated assortment of more than 100 fine spirits. A recent addition is our warm analogue sound system that plays an exceptional collection of vinyl records, creating an ambience that complements the culinary journey. At Zibiru, it’s not just about a meal; it’s about creating an atmosphere where food, music and moments come together in perfect harmony.
E: Gianluca, you are now the executive chef of Zibiru. What sets Zibiru apart from other Italian restaurants in Bali?
G: Zibiru has been a well-established Italian restaurant in Bali since 2012, known for its exceptional culinary offerings. It has consistently maintained its reputation for serving high-quality Italian cuisine that authentically captures the essence of traditional flavours. Zibiru also stands out for its modern and sophisticated approach, embracing the latest cooking techniques and presenting dishes with finesse in plating that elevates the dining experience.
What truly sets Zibiru apart is this harmonious blend of authentic Italian taste with contemporary culinary artistry. The restaurant has carved a unique niche in Bali’s vibrant food scene by staying true to the roots of Italian cooking while simultaneously pushing the boundaries to create something fresh and exciting. This balance of the traditional and the innovative, is what makes Zibiru an esteemed destination for Italian cuisine.
E: Gianluca, what advice would you give to those looking to break into the culinary industry?
G: For the younger generation aspiring to be chefs, it’s important to understand that cooking is more than what’s portrayed on TV. Start with the basics, work hard, listen to your seniors and maintain professionalism. This industry demands a lot of time and commitment. Success in the culinary world often means sacrificing leisure for the sake of passion.
Exquisite Taste Volume 42
Jalan Drupadi, Seminyak
Bali 80361, Indonesia
T: (+62) 82236631302