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Expand your knowledge of cuisine at one of three very different cooking schools in Bali.

Asojourn in Bali can be about more than relaxing with sun, surf and rice fields. Visitors and residents alike can take advantage of the opportunity to learn new tricks, at the hands of chefs who open their kitchens as cooking schools.

In these kitchens, which range from Balinese home-based schools to the astounding dream kitchen at Four Seasons Jimbaran, students can discover cuisines from across Bali and the world.

Simply Does It

The kitchen of Balinese chefs Wayan Subawa and Ni Luh Made Puspawati overlooks a deep and mysterious ravine in the hills of Laplapan on Ubud’s outskirts. The couple run Paon Bali Cooking Class from their traditional Balinese compound. Lined up at benches, a half dozen or so visitors are busy chopping red onions, ginger and turmeric. In the family courtyard, others take turns pounding sambal in a massive mortar and pestle.

Earlier in the morning, the group visited the Ubud produce market and then took turns planting rice. The students of this cooking school say that Paon Bali Cooking Class is an experience every foodie should try because it gives them the opportunity to immerse themselves not only in Bali’s cuisine style, but also in its culture and the process of how food gets from the garden to the table.

“This is fantastic,” says Heather Hawthorn from Florida, USA. “It is a real cultural experience – from the rice fields to being here in a Balinese home learning to cook local dishes. I’ve taken several cooking classes, but this is so much more.”

Her husband Lee, taking part in his first cooking class, admits to getting down and dirty in the rice fields.
“I’ll be honest – I had seen advertisements for rice planting tours and thought it was a bit cheesy. But doing it – planting a rice seed – was wonderful,” Lee says. “Wayan teaches us the many layers of the temple and his family compound, so this is more than a cooking class – it gives us a different picture of Bali.”

Wayan and Puspa’s philosophy is to introduce visitors to their village, away from the cities and tourist buzz. In the process, they have brought organic farming back to their village and developed a plastic-recycling system that encompasses the entire village.

Five-Star Spread

A quantum leap from a family compound cooking school to a five-star kitchen lands students of cookery under the guidance of internationally awarded chef Jatu Rizki Putra Anuratha of the Four Seasons Jimbaran.

Jatu, who represented Indonesia in the famous chef competition Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs in Helsinki last year, heads up the Four Seasons Jimbaran Cooking School, introducing students to Balinese cuisine. His school kitchen, while snug and homey, is state of the art with stainless steel and granite workbenches.

“I became a chef because at home in Balikpapan cooking was my hobby. My mom worked really hard so she never cooked for me so I had to cook for myself. I was inspired by cookbooks,” the young chef explains. “But when I came to Bali for a new experience I studied Balinese cooking, and I am now teaching this style of food, which is very exciting.”

Jatu’s skills have been honed at Caprice, the three-Michelin-star restaurant at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, as well as the Four Seasons restaurants in Paris and Singapore. He brings skills learned at these internationally recognized kitchens to the tables of his cooking school in Jimbaran.

Local cooking with Ni Luh Made PuspawatiLocal cooking with Ni Luh Made Puspawati

Raw Flavors

Where Paon Bali Cooking Class and Four Seasons Jimbaran Cooking School focus on Balinese cuisine, the kitchen of Chef Made Runata at fivelements resort in Mambal glides into the world of new cuisine.

After more than four decades as a chef at quality restaurants at hotels such as the Crowne Plaza in Jakarta, the Beijing Holiday Inn and The Sheraton in Nusa Dua, Chef Made has all but abandoned his ovens for raw foods.

“I studied ‘raw food cuisine’ at the Living Light Gourmet Institute in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and have been creating raw food dishes for the past year,” Made says. “I lost 10 kilograms in my first two weeks at the institute and I feel lighter and more energetic.”

His cooking style uses little heat in food preparation. Instead, he relies on grinding, pureeing and mixing flavors to create dishes free of meat, flour, dairy products, eggs and refined sugar.

“I am still learning. My kitchen these days is very different. I don’t use the stove much. It’s just used for reduction or blanching vegetables and fruits,” he says. “My kitchen is more machine based with blenders, food processors and dehydration equipment for making breads, which I make with nuts instead of flour.”

Working with organic ingredients and a healthy approach to foods has become so popular Made is teaching students of STP (Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata, or Bali Tourism Institute), who will go on to work in some of Bali’s top kitchens.

As well as giving seminars at STP, Made is establishing a cooking school at fivelements, in “raw food cuisine”.

“This [organic] is a huge movement in Bali,” Made says. “Hotels are moving toward organic produce, because it’s healthier.”


Source : The Jakarta Post

Trisha Sertori, WEEKENDER | Fri, 05/27/2011 11:57 AM


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