Interview with the Chef
Chef I Komang Ari Wibowo
We recently met with Chef I Komang Ari Wibowo, also known as Chef Ari. Originally from Tabanan, Bali, the Head Chef at Cocoon Beach Club gave us a unique insight to what goes on behind the kitchen doors from the eyes of the chef via a candid one-to-one interview.
1. How long have you been in the culinary industry? When did you know that you wanted to be a Chef?
It’s been about 3 decades now since I first began my culinary journey as Chef. I think I have always known that I wanted to be a Chef; it comes so naturally to me as I received an early start at the age of 9 when I would help my mother to prepare traditional Balinese herbs and spices while she shopped for fresh produce at the morning market. We would cook together in the kitchen – she would cook and I would help.
2. How long have you been the Head Chef at Cocoon Beach Club?
I’ve been here from the very beginning; I was part of the pre-opening team. In the kitchen alone, we have a team of about 23 staff and 2 senior Chef De Parte.
3. You have a large team! How do you motivate and inspire them?
We work together and help one another. Here in this kitchen, we are all teammates working towards one common goal – to ensure consistently authentic, delicious and unbeatable fare with great value for money. Even the most senior personnel have had experience from the very bottom at some point in their lives, so every one of us understands the intricate workings of the kitchen and what each team member is responsible for. I try my best to be here for my team, I believe that it is important that we work alongside each other for a maximum outcome and excellent results.
4. What’s your favourite dish to make here at Cocoon Beach Club and why?
My favourite dish is definitely the Lamb Shank, and the Ayam Bakar Kecap with Sambal Matah, also known as the Grilled Chicken with Soy Sauce – the latter was inspired by my mother, who made her own, very delicious version of the Balinese Ayam Bakar Kecap for the whole family to enjoy.
I enjoy making the Lamb Shank as a challenge to myself – to continuously create and produce the softest, tenderest and flavoursome lamb on this side of the island. I ensure that the meat would fall off the bones just right, and melt in your mouth along with a plethora of delicious tastes and sensations.
5. What’s your secret?
My secret lies in the marinade. Always marinade meat for hours. Or days, even. I use only the most natural herbs, spices and homemade sauces. Almost nothing here is store-bought, if we can help it.
6. When you’re not working, what do you like to do? How else do you spend your free time?
I love spending time with my family – as Chef, I work long hours and even more so when there is an event, a wedding or a function. I love taking on special events at Cocoon Beach Club, especially when there is a wedding as I find that the food and beverages presented would complement the entire ceremony. So when I have some time, I try to ensure that my attention goes to my family, my culture and my tradition.
My hobby is cooking. This is why I enjoy my work so much. As they say, if you’ve found your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.
7. Any plans to introduce new dishes soon?
Yes, we are excited to offer the Local Tasting Plate, which will be available soon. This is very similar to the Rijsttafel, where guests can share multiple small plates in one sitting. Our Local Tasting Plate will feature Beef Rendang, Babi Kecap or Pork in Soy Sauce, Chicken Curry, Butter Fried Chicken and Fried Rice. It’s a great way to sample almost everything off our local menu in smaller portions.
8. Anything else you would like to add?
At Cocoon Beach Club, we try our best to offer delicious, quality selections and amazing experiences in a stunning beachfront setting – all with great value for money without compromising on quality or taste. There is something for everyone here at the restaurant; healthy selections, western and international, vegetarian, vegan and local favourites all at really affordable prices. You can also nibble on Tapas and Bites while lounging by the pool with some cocktails, mocktails, juices, wines or beers.
Cocoon Beach Club
Jl. Double Six No. 66, Blue Ocean Boulevard, Seminyak, Bali
Ph: + 62 361 731 266