Monday, 29 April 2019

A story to be told

A late-night dinner between chefs never ends well and as proof, this is what we got ourselves into last time I met my chef friend the great Will Meyrick.

High from feasting on his delicious curries and over excited to have found someone equally mad about food, we somehow agreed and committed to something damn near impossible. We would travel to a place we had never been before, eat through the streets, coffee shops and simple restaurants to discover as much traditional food as possible. We would meet the people who cook the food and understand their story and the dishes they serve. All this information would be taken back to our kitchens and together like best friends we would craft new dishes completely inspired by those we ate and by the methods used to prepare them. The idea at the time sounded genius: to tell the story of our journey through food. But, having never worked together before and coming from completely different culinary backgrounds, telling a story in two different languages was going to need some translation.

So, with fingers crossed and the location selected, we were off to one of Indonesia’s thousand islands: Southern Kalimantan.

To really learn you must be seen as a curious student, not an arrogant teacher, a big challenge with a TV crew and their daunting cameras following every step we took. To sum up the 6 day trip, we devoured everything we came across: smoky char-grilled wild duck, boiling rich herbal chicken soup, crunchy fried river fish dusted in roasted rice dust, Arabic-influenced slow cooking, fermented exotic fruit jams, rustic fish and rice cooked on the jungle floor in young bamboo over open fire and so much more. Indeed we ate Kalimantan and discovered powerful full-flavored hearty comfort food squeezed directly from bustling local markets and cooked by proud locals. A week full of those magical moments when someone gives you their food and curiously watches for a reaction as you try something for the very first time. All that was left was to now try and figure out how to put that into a dinner that gives every guest that experience not just as it was, but the way we would like to translate it.

With a 12 course menu of new dishes modeled from those old traditional molds, ceramics hand-crafted precisely for each dish, a dining room set like a jungle with the echoing sound of the forest, weeks of cooking, tuning and testing, the stage is set and our story of Southern Kalimantan ready to be told.

Tickets still available for May 11, 7pm at Som Chai restaurant in Seminyak. Book yours here





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