AYANA Zeitgeist

Translated from German, Zeitgeist means "the spirit of the moment", and is the key principle underpinning AYANA's service philosophy. Here, we share our inside tips and favorite haunts to help you experience the AYANA Zeitgeist.

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Hi everyone, I’m pleased to join the AYANA team as Chef de Cuisine at Dava restaurant. I visited Bali once before and it is a dream come true to have the opportunity to work on this island, with so much fresh produce and so many creative and skilled people. Dava has always had a stellar reputation since it opened in 2005, but I will be “reinventing” the concept as an “innovative steak and seafood restaurant”. I haven’t stopped for breath since arriving but I’m loving it!

My first major responsibility – apart from launching the new a la carte and tasting menus – will be overseeing our Valentine’s Day dinner at Dava. This is such an important evening for couples, and we’ve prepared a special menu that evokes sensuality and romance. Hope you can join us!

Cinnamon Smoked Pumpkin
Cured Duck, Spicy Maple Dressing, Apples and Arugula

Braised Oxtail Omelet
Blue Crab Bisque, Asparagus and Pecorino Cheese

Lobster and Crispy Pork Belly
Kimchi Sauce, Fiddlehead Ferns, Lemon Basil

Pan Roasted Red Mullet
Garlic Emulsion, Coco Beans, Red Peppers and Cilantro

Australian Wagyu Filet
Toasted Candlenuts, Pickled Radish, Watercress Sauce

Red Velvet Fondant
Milk Ice Cream and Strawberry Pudding

Speaking of love, people always ask me how I got into cooking. It was while I was working at a ski resort back home in the USA. I was 17 and I was assigned to banquet set-up, but I decided I wanted to wear a tall, white hat. Now I never wear a hat, it falls off going in and out of coolers and is very inconvenient. But I’ve never lost my passion for cooking!

There are so many fantastic restaurants here and I want to do something completely different with Dava. My menu draws on the concept of a classic steakhouse offering the best cuts of meats paired with your choice of gourmet sauces and sides. But we’re taking it upscale with a modern twist, offering seafood dishes, small touches of molecular gastronomy in the mushroom gelee and horseradish espuma for example, use of local flavors and ingredients, and a larger selection of meats than a traditional steakhouse.

All meats and seafood are prepared using the sous-vide (French for ‘under vacuum’) technique preferred by the world’s best chefs – perhaps most famously, Paul Bocuse, Michael Mina and Joel Robuchon. Sous-vide maintains the integrity of the ingredients and ensures even, slow cooking for full flavor, by sealing the meat or seafood in an airtight plastic bag in a water bath and cooking it at low temperatures for many hours. At Dava, the Braised Short Ribs are cooked for more than 24 hours, while the Angus Beef Fillet is cooked for two hours. The results are amazing. I have also created a new Tasting Menu for more adventurous guests, with a choice of 3, 4 or 5 courses. This is my play area, where I get to do the really fun things.

Before Bali I was based in Doha, Qatar, where I was Chef de Cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton’s La Mer French restaurant. Qatar was an extremely interesting and inspiring experience. It is a lot more conservative than Bali – the only places people can drink alcohol are in hotel bars and private clubs and the local people are not allowed in them, which makes the social scene quite different. Bali is much more relaxed and the climate and atmosphere of a tropical island wash over you like a cool breeze.

Hope to see you here soon :)