'Emotions affect your cooking; I've proven it a million times'
Talking food with Dewa Gede Ari Saputra, Sous Chef, Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah
Your favourite memory of food?
When I started training to be a chef, I was so excited about the idea of eating all kinds of foods in the kitchen. But, in my experience, it is the complete opposite, as I did not have enough time to eat due to the busy schedule required to hone my skills. There was a time when I came home feeling hungry and exhausted and the only available food was instant noodles. I always remember that moment because I have never tried eating it before. After that, I have relied on it whenever I'm too tired to cook.
Do you have a personal mantra that drives the way you cook?
I strongly believe that your emotions affect your cooking and I have proven it a million times. For example, when you are cooking for your loved ones or people who are close to your heart, you will be truly inspired and upbeat, so the food will taste really good. Thus, whenever I come to work, I make sure I leave all problems behind, so I can create dishes that will satisfy our diners.
If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be?
Joko Widodo, the president of my country, Indonesia. I admire him because he had a very simple life, yet worked hard to fulfil his ambition. Even though he runs the whole country and can have any kind of food he likes, I would want to serve him a classic fried tofu. It's simple, healthy and tasty Indonesian food.
How often do you eat out?
Not very often but whenever I feel like eating out, you'll find me having sushi at Japanese restaurants around town.
After cooking all day, do you cook for yourself at home too?
I usually rest whenever I reach home. If I'm really hungry, I prefer to buy food from restaurants near my place. Most of the time, I settle for cooking instant noodles, as they're simple, fast and filling.
You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
Baked grasshopper with coconut mixed with Balinese spice in a banana leaf. I don't see a lot of grasshoppers in Dubai so, I immediately thought of this dish when I saw one the other day.
Who do you admire most in the culinary world - and why?
I really look up to Chris Salan, one of the world's leading French chefs and a top ambassador for Balinese cuisine. He is very creative and successful in what he does. I think it's because he always tries to create something new and find ways to challenge himself. If you give him one ingredient, he can create a new dish out of it - that's the kind of skill I want to achieve some day.
Favourite comfort food?
As a chef, it's very difficult to choose one dish that comforts you. For me, as long as it is tasty, it's good to go.
One ingredient you can't stand.
Tamarind. You can find it used in a lot of dishes, but there's too much work required to balance it with other ingredients, due to its strong taste.
If you could choose a last meal, what would it be?
I wouldn't really ask for much, as long as it's cooked by my grandmother.
Favourite culinary destination?
Definitely my hometown, Bali. Indonesia has fresh ingredients and unique spices in abundance. Spices bring authentic and natural taste, so I never tire of cooking Balinese dishes.
Where can we find you, when not in the kitchen?
In the comforts of my room, relaxing while playing mobile games. It keeps me entertained and relaxes my mind, so I will be ready to meet any challenges the next day.
- Staff Reporter