Bayu Retno Timur
In this interview, Bayu Retno Timur, Executive Chef of Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, shares his entrance to the industry and some curious stories along the way.
What do you do?
I am the Executive Chef of Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Besides overseeing the main kitchen and working side by side with the culinary team, I provide guests with memorable food experiences at the resort’s award-winning outlets Kubu and Sawah Terrace; Pool Bar and The Library, and the newest addition, Ambar.
How did you get into the industry?
I have adored cooking since I was a teenager. It was like a hobby to me. However, after finishing school, all I could think of was working as a corporate employee. Then I came to Bali for a holiday, to visit my brother who was a chef in Ku De Ta back then and he asked, “Why don’t you work in the hospitality industry like me?” Then I decided to major in Food & Beverage – Culinary and started my career in pastry and bakery in 2003.
What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?
When I went to Thailand, for the opening of The Ritz-Carlton, Koh Samui for one week we worked along with the team and the pastry chef invited me to try the local street food, beef soup (looks like an oxtail soup here). What sticks out the most is the distinct spicy taste I had never tasted before. We could adjust the condiments. It’s like a restaurant experience but it’s street food. Until now, I still want to try the dish again and hope to be able to make one myself.
What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
Only the best! I’m proud of myself for representing Indonesia in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or Asia-Pacific 2018 in Guangzhou, China. It is more than a gastronomic competition; it celebrates chefs around the world and their passion for cooking.
Bayu Retno Timur’s favorite food and beverage pairings?
The best pairing of food and beverage is beef kimawi with Bordeaux red wine
What’s one of the funniest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
When I worked in pastry and bakery, I prepared breakfast at 4 o’clock in the morning. I always had breakfast with this meat that was sooo good. During operations, we would get to try some cancelled food orders. The funniest and most embarrassing moment is when I realized that the dish I liked to have for breakfast every day for three months was pork meat (boneless pork ribs) and I’m a Muslim. And I just kept to myself at that time.
The perfect day off would be…
I like spending my day off building quality time with family, going the gym and often playing badminton.
A day in the life of Bayu Retno Timur is…
Full of inspiration!Most of my time being a professional in hospitality is working in afternoon shift. When it was closing time and returning home, I used to get inspiration to create a new menu for the refreshment.
What do you do for fun?
Play badminton and PlayStation.
What’s something you’d like guests to know about Kubu at Mandapa?
Kubu is a Mediterranean-European restaurant that stands out with its magical cocoons – bamboo woven nests that bring the intimate and unique setting of a dining experience. We are using the finest ingredients in each course to make this restaurant become the most popular restaurant in Ubud.
How has the pandemic changed you, your perspective, or the way you operate?
Alongside being a chef, I had to become a salesperson too! In my personal life, I had to sell more products, made sushi to survive, and adjusted to the market movement. I also became a lecturer at Politeknik International Bali, a university for culinary practice.
In terms of professional work in the kitchen, we are now really paying attention when it comes to hygiene – attention to details, sanitizing before and after making dishes, being aware of the high touch points, and serving guests with the established standard.
What’s something you’d like people to know about being a Chef as a profession?
Being a chef is fun. We are required to be innovative and creative. You can put ideas into food and be able to produce simple elegant dishes that are flavourful.
What’s your view on the restaurant scene in Bali?
Restaurants in Bali are multicultural compared to the past. As evidenced by the existence of fusion food ranging from Japanese to Korean, they are keeping up with the current food trends.
What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement in the future to work towards social responsibility and sustainability?
We implemented the chef’s garden in order to get fresh ingredients from our own resources. We also came up with a composting initiative to help reduce the amount of waste that we throw in landfill. First, we divide the waste into three categories and provide a waste bin in all outlets to make the process easier. We sort organic waste into two classifications: waste food compost and non-compost. For the compost food, we distribute it to our composter area, and process it into fresh organic fertilizer for our resort’s garden. For the food waste that is not compostible, we cooperate with a third-party vendor that shares it with local farmers for animal feeding.
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
Elevate the product quality in Kubu for the next season. New stories for Kubu – stay tuned!
Read more interviews similar to this one with Bayu Retno Timur here, and stay up to date with our latest gourmet travel finds here and here.
Ku De Ta sounds like coup d’état