From one food-loving island to another, newly arrived Singaporean chef Khairudin ‘Dean’ Nor is making sure guests at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah not only tour Bali’s fertile rice paddies, but also get a taste of its flourishing gardens.
Last month the Chedi launched a timely refresh of its F&B offerings with a new destination-inspired a la carte menu, an expanded beverage list and bespoke dining invitation from the chef that is as personalized as the resort’s butler service.
The new menus have been in the works since Chef Dean’s appointment earlier this spring.
The 39-year-old chef brings more than 17 years of culinary experience to the Chedi, a 20-villa estate set amid five hectares of landscaped gardens, ponds and pagodas sharing a border with a sweeping panorama of undulating rice fields and tropical jungle.
Raised in multi-ethnic Singapore, Chef Dean was mentored for eight years by acclaimed chef Emmanuel Stroobant, host of the “Chef in Black” TV series. He cooked his way up the ranks from Chef de Partie to Sous Chef at the prestigious Saint Pierre restaurant in Singapore, winner of ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at the World Gourmet Summit 2007.
A world away from the competitive kitchen of Saint Pierre, Chef Dean says going off into the garden is half the fun of his new position as executive chef of 70-seat semi-fine-dining restaurant at The Chedi Club in Ubud.
“Citronella, hot basil, cassava, tarragon – it all grows nicely down here; and having access to these ingredients gives us real freedom with our menu,” says Chef Dean. “I smoke my own salmon and duck breast, we roast suckling pigs in a part of the garden, we make our own ice cream – we’re inspired by the location itself.”
“We do a touch of everything, but the priority is Balinese cuisine,” he says.
The resort’s expansive organic vegetable and spice garden, fishponds and rice paddies supply Chef Dean with not only the inspiration but also the ingredients for many of the menu’s new items.
Simple and elegant is how the chef describes the current selection, which lists entrees such as Sop Buntut oxtail soup and organic red quinoa salad; mains such as pan-fried barramundi, duck leg confit and Tournedo Rossini; and desserts such as chilled pineapple soup and passion fruit mousse.
The updated beverage menu is a collaborative effort between Chef Dean and the resort’s F&B Manager, who likewise joined in 2012. New creations such as hibiscus-infused vodka and tamarind tea coolers have expanded the drink list by more than half and draw liberally from the resort’s gardens.
After three months of preparation and refinement, the chef says the menu is just a jump-off point for the resort’s culinary adventurers.
“The best thing about cooking in Ubud is that I have a personal connection to the diners,” says Chef Dean. “The guests don’t even have to look at the menu. If a guest says, ‘Dean, I want to eat a Thai fish curry’, or, ‘Can you make me chilli crab like in Singapore?’ I say, ‘No problem, you give me a time, and I’ll make it for you.’”
Established in 1992, GHM (General Hotel Management Ltd.) is known for conceptualising, developing and operating an exclusive group of hotels and resorts. With an expansive portfolio and more projects in the pipeline, GHM prides itself in providing guests with an unrivalled lifestyle experience.
Each GHM property is an original. A symbiotic relationship between the hotel and the local culture enables GHM to provide guests with a genuine, close-up experience of the best each destination has to offer. The signature GHM style melds contemporary interpretations of Asian designs and distinctive local touches to create inspired, memorable spaces.
GHM’s portfolio includes:
• The Legian Bali, Indonesia
• The Club at The Legian Bali, Indonesia
• The Nam Hai Hoi An, Vietnam
• The Strand Yangon, Myanmar
• The Ananti Kumgang Mountains, North Korea
• The Ananti Club Seoul, South Korea
• The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
• The Chedi Muscat, Oman
• The Chedi Chiang Mai, Thailand
GHM properties currently under development:
• The Chedi Club Suzhou, China
• The Chedi Tamouda Bay, Morocco
• The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
• The Chedi Taiping Lake, China
• The Chedi Qutub, New Delhi, India
• The Chedi Club & Residences Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
• The Chedi Khorfakkan, Sharjah, UAE.