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.
Meet Ravinder Dalal, who joins AYANA as Chef de Cuisine (Indian cuisine) at Padi restaurant, where he will work alongside the resort’s Indonesian and Thai chefs to present a pan-Asian culinary journey. Here, he shares his favorite dishes from his homeland, his first impressions of Bali, and why he admires Gordon Ramsay.
What made you interested to join AYANA?
Chef: I was interested to join AYANA because AYANA is a very good property, with a good hotel reputation and in terms of branding, the most famous hotel in Bali.
What is your passion working as an Indian Chef?
Chef: I really love to cook all kinds of Indian cuisine. Delhi is known for its distinctive food from the times of the Mughal era and people love to cook with various styles. Food from that time was rich and flavorful and sparked my interest and curiosity about the culture and customs of Indian gastronomy.
Which dish do you most like to cook?
Chef: Mouth-watering Kebabs with authentic aromatic flavors.
Which dish do you recommend guests try?
Chef: All! Because all of my Indian dishes are very special and have different flavors that complement the other. They are very nice to enjoy ‘banquet-style’ with your family or a group of friends. Some of my personal favorites are Dal Makhni (Black lentil stew with a blend of mild spices, tomato puree, cream and butter), Murgh dum Bryiani (Long grain basmati rice and chicken cocked with aromatic rice, served with raita), Arwaini Jhinga (Roasted shrimps with mustard seeds, yogurt, and agwain spice), Tandoori Murgh (Marinated tandoori chicken) and Roghan Josh (Lamb curry stew with Kashmiri spices).
I notice that you have won awards at many competitions including one in which you had to cook dishes that used mango as their main ingredient. Can you tell us a bit about this?
Chef: This competition was organized by Delhi Tourism and lasted three days. There were more than 100 participants from various hotels and restaurants, including 10 from the Hotel Park Royal Intercontinental where I was working at that time. On the first day, we had to cook an appetizer, on the second day a main course and on the third day a dessert. I was responsible for the appetizer and I created a Mango Chicken Fantasy and won the Bronze medal, as voted by the panel of seven judges. I was very honored and satisfied with this achievement as I entered the competition really just for fun.
What is your favorite thing about Bali?
Chef: Bali is a beautiful place. Balinese people are very polite and friendly. I also love the beaches here, I usually like to swim at the beach in my time off.
Do you have anybody you look up to or are inspired by in the cooking-world?
Chef: Yes, Gordon Ramsay for his passion, speedy work, creativity and excellent results.
Another one is Corporate Indian Chef, Anil Khurana.
What do you like to do in your time off?
Chef: Swimming, shopping (I usually look for clothes and shoes of good quality, when I see these two items at the mall I forget everything else!), watching movies and listening to music.
Dava Chef de Cuisine Jusman So is one of Singapore’s most acclaimed chefs. His 40-seat fine dining restaurant, Sage, was nominated ‘Best New Restaurant’ at the World Gourmet Summit 2008 (the same year Jusman won Best Rising Chef), awarded one of Singapore’s Best Restaurants by Singapore Tatler magazine, and named on the prestigious Miele List in 2010. Since moving to Dava, Jusman has relaunched the menu as modern French and introduced his most popular signature dishes, enhancing them further using local flavors and the best available ingredients to offer a new level of gastronomical refinement. Here, he shares his Top 10 Tips for serving a meal your guests will never forget.
Top 10 tips:
1. Always season whatever you are cooking with salt to bring out the flavor.
2. Always taste your food before serving to your guests.
3. If you don’t like what you see on the plate, chances are that your guests will not like it too. So don’t serve it.
4. Always use a well sharpened knife. It will save you time and energy when cutting meats and vegetables.
5. Use heavy bottom pots and pans. It helps to distribute heat evenly and prevents burning.
6. After cooking, always rest your meats for at least 5 minutes before slicing. It keeps the juices in.
7. Never keep cooked and raw food together in the same container.
8. Fat is essential in cooking as it adds flavor and moisture so be generous. If you are health conscious, use grape seed oil or extra virgin olive oil. If not, hit it with duck fat or lard! You will not regret it. Trust me :)
9. Always use a countdown timer when you are roasting something in the oven or boiling something on the stove. It saves you the trouble of having to wash a burnt pot/tray and start over.
10.When it turns black, it’s definitely cooked! But send it into the trash and start over because it’s definitely burnt too!
It’s me again, I just wanted to say a very merry Christmas to those of you who will be celebrating it this weekend, and to give you a little insight into how I’ll be celebrating, with my lovely girlfriend Ayu. We plan to join the Christmas Eve Dinner at Dava restaurant with a special menu prepared by Chef Jusman So. I’m as hungry as a bear just reading the menu below! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and don’t forget, you still have a chance to join our Christmas Bear Contest on AYANA’s Facebook page. Good luck and season’s greetings!
Christmas Eve Menus at Dava
Medallion of cured Petuna ocean trout topped with Avruga caviar and celery granite, toasted walnut and
herb salad with Granny Smith apple espuma
Turkey & Foie Gras
Terrine of slow cooked turkey breast and foie gras with cranberry relish, puree of baby yam with honey
and blood orange bubbles
Chestnut & Truffle
Chestnut mousseline laced with black winter truffle, double boiled poultry consomme, mushroom melba
scented with truffles
Barramundi fillet crusted with duxelle mushrooms with leek cream on a bacon, onion and potato galette
Baked veal tenderloin with pistachio mousse and smoked ham, glazed baby carrot and caramelized
orange confit, pumpkin crumble, natural jus
‘Valrhona’ chocolate pudding, dried fruits and almonds topped with lemon-infused mascarpone sorbet
and brandy eggnog