Chef Alit Mendala

Alit Mendala, Renaissance Bali Nusa Dua Resort

Chef Alit Mendala

In this interview, Alit Mendala, executive chef of Renaissance Bali Nusa Dua Resort, gives some insight into the kitchens on the property and shares his thoughts on the food scene in Bali.

What do you do?

I showcase local ingredients into high-end products for Backstage and the upcoming Tanah Liat restaurant (seafood and plant-based) that will be open soon at Renaissance Bali Nusa Dua Resort.

How did you get into the industry?

I first jumped into the Four Seasons culinary brigade as a cook helper in the year 2000. 

Share with us a story from behind the scenes.

I was inspired by my mother, grandmother, and both of my uncles, that were chefs. Therefore, I aspired to also become a chef. Later, that aspiration became a reality when I graduated from Bali Tourism College.

What food memory from your childhood or travels stands out?

My favourite childhood breakfast is called “Mengguh,” which means rice porridge in Singaraja, Bali. This porridge is like a risotto-style porridge combining salted fish from Bondalem village in Singaraja. This village is famous for its artisan salt, which is usually served together with local fish to create a great balance of flavourful salted fish porridge

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?

Working in a busy, professional kitchen is always challenging. It’s a high-pressure environment as we constantly drive ourselves to achieve consistently high standards with each and every dish that leaves the kitchen. You need good teamwork to achieve this, and I am thankful that the team is so supportive. It’s what keeps me going and striving for the best.

Alit Mendala’s favourite food and beverage pairing?

Sweet and spicy pork satay with a cold beer.

What’s one of the wildest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?

A naked party on a cruise ship for 1500 passengers – the craziest and wildest moment ever.

The perfect day off would be…

Relaxing on a virgin beach with a bucket of beers. 

A day in the life of Alit Mendala is…

… constantly improving quality and creativity. Talent is one of the assets in the hotel industry. Every day you face new obstacles. You may overcome them easily, or you may find them greater in the next moment. Sometimes we feel like giving up because of a lot of challenges, however, we need to face up and achieve our goals. 

What does Alit Mendala do for fun?

Explore the world, find something new and try it.

What’s something you’d like guests to know about Backstage Food Theatre?

ACTION!!! The Backstage of a theatre is where it all happens. Everyone plays a role in making the show go on, so guests can enjoy the show. Backstage restaurant offers an inviting atmosphere designed around the ambience of a true backstage with live food theatres by using local ingredients.

Providing guests with a flexible culinary destination that is open morning, noon, and night, backstage is perfect for a leisurely breakfast after a long night on the town or an experiential lunch and dinner offering innovative international a la carte dishes that inspire bubbly conversations about the fun and adventures of the day. 

How has the pandemic changed your perspective or the way you operate?

I have grown my critical thinking skills. My mindset has shifted by taking everything as an opportunity. I always try to reduce wastage and keep saving. 

What’s something you’d like people to know about being a chef as a profession?

Being a chef and cooking is my passion, and it always has been, so my job enables me to fulfil that passion every day. My motivation is a mixture of happy customers, good reviews, and being featured in Good Food Guides. Those kinds of rewards inspire and give you the drive to keep achieving more. It’s also good to meet our customers when we cook alongside them in our cooking experience sessions. It is fun to help people learn some of the arts.

What’s your view on the food scene in Bali?

Bali undoubtedly has one of the most vibrant and diverse culinary scenes in Indonesia that is constantly evolving. Whether it is a new restaurant, café, or bar, the endless list of culinary destinations plays an integral role as to why people keep coming back to the Island of the Gods. Here we take a look at some of the finest additions to Bali, several wood-fired local restaurant concept trends, and also, there are a ton of different jobs in the food industry, ranging from caterer and restaurant owner to food stylist and personal chef. Each of these jobs is radically different, and they all have their own pros and cons but are still fun.

What practices do you currently implement or hope to implement to work towards social responsibility and sustainability in the future?

We implemented the “REN” garden (a.k.a. Chef’s Garden) in order to get fresh ingredients from our own resources. One of our soon-to-open restaurants, Tanah Liat, is an arts-and-crafts-inspired restaurant focusing on experiential food highlighting local seasonal seafood and plant-based cuisines. The daily catch and natural vegetables sourced from Bedugul, Plaga, and the onsite “REN” garden will take centre stage. In the morning, it serves breakfast as an extension of the ADD restaurant. Ror lunch and dinner, as the name suggests, Tanah Liat is an experience-driven eatery with the restaurant sharing space with a pottery atelier. Tanah Liat offers guests the opportunity to paint themselves a masterpiece or master the art of wheel-thrown pottery. Alternatively, they can simply relax in the lounge, enjoying the restaurant’s serenity and sense of place. Guests will leave Tanah Liat with memorable experiences. A shared workshop and professional kiln are located within the workshop, with superior exhaust treatment to complete the pottery work.

A large residential kitchen table in the middle of the restaurant turns the main space from a pottery studio into an open kitchen cooking studio to offer another interactive element beyond pottery. 

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months?

We will have an upcoming Tanah Liat restaurant open and hope to make it popular with guests and residents in Nusa Dua.

Find more interviews similar to this one with Alit Mendala here, and stay up to date with the latest food and beverage happenings in KL here.

One Comment

  1. He sure is a jovial-looking fella! LOL!!!

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