INSIDER’S GUIDE: Chef Chris Salans on Bali’s best

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The face and soul behind world-renowned Moziac restaurant in Bali’s heart, Ubud shares his favorite haunts in Bali and the secret to turning the uni-student favorite, instant noodles into a gourmet meal

Having worked in restaurants from Paris to New York, what first attracted you to Bali?
The reason I wanted to come to Asia was to learn about Asian ingredients and how to use them. I worked at the time for David Bouley who used lemongrass, coconut and ginger but which at the time was very new and I loved it but I wanted to learn more about it and get to the source of it. After sending 100 letters across Asia for a job, a Singaporean company offered my girlfriend a job in Bali. Luckily (for me) she said that she wouldn’t go without me, so there I was with a job offer in Bali!!!

Have you found that being away from the increasing pressures of the celebrity chef culture in New York and Paris has changed your cooking style?
No, not particularly. But I do think that being away from the stress, one might see things under a different light and therefore might perform differently (better I am not sure as I believe that pressure is necessary in my line of business).

Mozaic’s degustation-only menu changes on a daily basis. What are the main influences behind the regular changes?
The daily changes are based on daily arrivals from my staff who source products for me, from suppliers and from my private gardens! I am an ingredient driven chef and the more ingredients come through my kitchen the more creative I become.

What do you see for the future of the dining scene in Bali?
That s a really tough one! And actually I was just discussing that with another restaurateur here in Bali over lunch today. I think that small casual dining is the future since the market is continuously shifting here in Bali. I think that South East Asian flavors especially Balinese ones will be favored.
Favorite place to go when dining out in Bali?
Babi Guling Ibu Oka in Ubud, Warung KKN in Sanur, Mama San in Seminyak and many others… There is so much good food in Bali now.
Apart from of course a visit to Moziac, do you have any tips for first time visitors to Bali?
See a temple, see a rice field and get a massage. Also spend a lot of time in Ubud. It is by far my favourite ‘side’ of Bali! The true Bali that is.

What’s your go to quick meal that you would cook at home?
Instant noodles with rempeyek (a type of local cracker with lime leaf, peanuts, etc… inside) SO AMAZING that it turn an instant noodle into a gourmet meal!

And finally, if you could cook for anyone, who would it be and why?
For my family because I love them and they are the most important thing in my life.

Posted in Indonesia, Year 1

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