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.
After working for 5-star hotels on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Phi Phi Island in her native Thailand, Chef Lert moved to another tropical island to join AYANA as Head Thai Chef at Padi restaurant.
Q: Did you cook growing up?
Chef Lert: Yes, a lot! I helped my mother all the time back home in Phuket. I also went to cooking school, so basically all I did was cooking. I cooked during the day at school and afterwards when I came home again I cooked for myself again. Cooking is a big part of my life. My mother taught me a lot but I also learned a lot from all the people around me.
Q: What made you decide to become a professional chef?
Chef Lert: It was quite clear from the beginning that I was destined to become a professional chef, I just love to cook and that will never change. A great hobby that allows me to travel the world!
Q: What is the main difference between Balinese and the Thai cuisine?
Chef Lert: To be honest the food is quite similar, both Asian. Only I would say that Thai food is a little spicier than Balinese, and also we use a lot more curry in Thailand than they do here in Bali. My all time favorite Thai dish is Tom Yam which is also available at Padi.
Q: Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by in the cooking-world?
Chef Lert: Not one person in particular, I am inspired by everybody I work with. I learn from everybody, everybody is specialized in a different area. Some chefs are very good at making a salad while others are very good at making desserts. I carry a notebook with me all the time and as soon as I see an interesting recipe or idea I write it down. There are many recipes in there now, gathered throughout my entire career.
Q: What would you cook at home but never cook in a restaurant?
Chef Lert: I make papaya salads at home all the time. Actually I can also make this at Padi, but it’s not currently on the menu. I just really like this salad so I make it often at home, plus it’s healthy.
Q: Which Padi dish would you recommend and why?
Chef Lert: Well the menu is a compilation of Thai, Indonesian and Indian recipes. If I may choose one from each country I would say my favorite Thai dish is the Tom Yam like I mentioned before. My favorite Indonesian dish is the Lobster Nasi Goreng i meme, and my favorite Indian dish is the Tandoori Murgh. But of course all dishes on the menu are good, that’s why they are there!
Q: What is your favorite thing about Bali?
Chef Lert: So many things, I like the Batik, the culture, the creativity, the wood carving, the paintings (laughter). I also really like the Balinese dances, when there is a Kecak or Ramayana dance at Langit Theatre I always get my camera to take some pictures.
Q: What three ingredients would you recommend everybody have at home?
Chef Lert: Chili, onion and garlic. I use these three ingredients in EVERY dish I make. They are essential for every kitchen. I love spicy food myself so chili is a real must, just sambal is not spicy enough for me.