From the likes of Europe to the urban centre of Macau, Executive Chef Yoann Mathy has come a long way from his humble beginnings in his home nation to become the forefront of The Apurva Kempinski Bali’s dining scene.
E: Tell us a bit about where you’re from, your upbringing and any notable moments that influenced you towards the culinary industry.
A: I am originally from France, but for the past 10 years I have been residing in Macau. I grew up in a family that cherished good food. Since I was 12 years old, I have been passionate about cooking and culinary art. I found immense joy in preparing meals for my family and relatives, especially when I saw their joyful expressions as they savoured my dishes. Since then, it has become one of the driving forces behind my culinary journey. I believe food brings collective warmth and connection to the people around the table.
Throughout my career, I worked in various two-star and three-star Michelin restaurants worldwide with some of the most renowned Chefs, including three years under world-renowned Chef Joël Robuchon, who had 25 stars under his hat in the highly esteemed Michelin Guide. I have learned tremendously from the chefs I have worked with. They not only taught me cooking skills, they also shared their story, roots and cooking philosophy. Respect, humility and willingness to share skills and knowledge to the next generation are the valuable lessons I gained from these successful chefs.
E: You’ve recently been welcomed here in Bali by The Apurva Kempinski Bali with your position as an executive chef. How did that opportunity come around?
A: I believe it was the power of striving to deliver my best in everything I do and networking. It was a great journey before I decided to take on this crucial role, involving a number of researches such as about the resort and about living in Bali. I was amazed by the resort itself and the number of dining destinations at The Apurva Kempinski Bali. It is a unique resort with a strong commitment to celebrate Indonesia through a culinary journey. Our common vision of highlighting local ingredients and flavours through excellent and innovative culinary experiences opened the path for me to be part of and lead this remarkable team. I am truly grateful for this opportunity.
E: What have you found the biggest adjustment from your role in Macau to that in Bali?
A: Transitioning from Macau to Bali has been an exciting journey. I have been fascinated with the richness of Indonesia’s herbs, spices and local produce, and how they are becoming the stars of different types of cuisines offered in eight dining destinations throughout the resort. Operational-wise, I find myself navigating smoothly as it involves similar standards and scope of responsibilities. Meanwhile, I always take time to get to know the team, their culture, background and cooking philosophy. Overall, with the help of a fully supportive team across departments at The Apurva Kempinski Bali, it has been a smooth and enriching transition.
E: What have been your favourite things about Bali, since moving here?
A: With my love and passion for local flavours, I have been enjoying discovering the diverse varieties of local ingredients and signature dishes from different regions of Indonesia. Be it from various restaurants in Bali or the street food stalls, discovering the diverse tastes of Indonesia has been my favourite. My first Babi Guling experience was fantastic and I am amazed with the different types and flavours of sambals. It’s like a bomb of flavours in one bite. I am a spicy food lover, so I have found my paradise here!
In addition, the hospitality of the people here, including those I meet on the street is truly inspiring. They always smile and are respectful, making my me and my family feel warmly welcomed.
E: Any culinary projects in the making at The Apurva Kempinski Bali you can share with us?
A: We are currently cooking many exciting culinary projects at The Apurva Kempinski Bali. For instance, we have recently launched a new concept for L’Atelier by Cyril Kongo with its Mediterranean Tapas. Most programmes until the end of the year are set and ready to be executed, while we are finalising the programmes for next year. We continue to celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Indonesia and ensure to deliver authentic flavours in each of our dining venues. Sustainability is at the heart of what we do, from sourcing the ingredients locally to supporting the sustainable agriculture programmew with the local communities. Chef collaborations with Michelin-starred chefs and respected figures in the culinary field will also continue to be fostered. Most importantly, we continue to focus on training and development initiatives for the team and ensure they are keeping up with the latest techniques and trends.
Exquisite Taste Volume 41
The Apurva Kempinski Bali
Jalan Raya Nusa Dua Selatan, Nusa Dua
Bali 80361, Indonesia
T: (+62) 3612092288