Delicious local food is one of Bali's most famous attractions, and now visitors can take home the authentic flavours of Indonesian cuisine, thanks to the new Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy, opening August 4, 2014, at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay.
"Four Seasons is the only resort on the island to feature its own stand-alone cooking school," said Greg Bunt, Four Seasons Executive Chef. "We wanted to go beyond offering casual lessons in the kitchen to providing a full professional-quality training facility. Our classes are designed for novice and experienced cooks alike – creating a focused learning environment for a maximum of 10 students per session," he added.
Housed within its own building, the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy features a charming stone-paved courtyard and herb garden at its entrance. Enormous glass doors lead into the air-conditioned kitchen, equipped with gleaming state-of-the-art appliances and a large, kidney-shaped, black granite preparation unit with induction hot plates. Students can sample their creations at the communal dining table or outdoors in the shaded courtyard.
The Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy provides a hands-on opportunity to learn about the secret techniques and distinctive ingredients of Indonesian cuisine. As Greg explained, "We sourced the recipes from our team of Four Seasons chefs who come from various regions across Indonesia, including Bali, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Many of the recipes are based on old family traditions. Now our students can take home these authentic dishes and share them around the world."
Leading the classes is Chef Anak Agung Kristya Yudha, a Balinese native who has been preparing delicious meals for Four Seasons guests for over 20 years. Caring and passionate with a charming sense of humor, Kristya enjoys engaging with students and sharing his knowledge of Indonesian cuisine and culture.
In each half-day session, students learn to prepare a full five-course meal according to traditional menus representing Bali, Java, Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Highlight dishes include: "Sate rembiga" (traditional beef satay skewer with spicy sauce) from the Nusa Tenggara region; "Bebek betutu"(roasted duck with wrapped in banana leaf) from Bali; and a dessert of "Es doger" (young coconut, tapioca pearls and cassava with sweet milk) from Java.
As part of the day, students can visit the Jimbaran Fish Market – about 10 minutes from Four Seasons – to see how locals shop for the freshest seafood. Students can also pick indigenous ingredients from the academy's herb and spice garden, growing Thai lemon basil, tamarind, pandan leaf, ginger and garlic. Taking a class at the Cooking Academy is ideal as an interactive family activity. Once a week, the school offers a kids' pastry class, focusing on Indonesian desserts.
After an optional market tour at 8:00 am, students gather in the kitchen at 9:30 am to create an authentic Indonesian meal. There are six regional menus (including two different Bali menus), rotating on a daily basis, seven days per week. Special pricing is available when booking multiple sessions, starting at IDR 900,000++ per class. Classes are taught in English only and are open to a maximum of 10 participants. Non-resort guests are welcome to attend with advance reservation.
"Our aim with the Jimbaran Bay Cooking Academy is to enhance people's cultural appreciation of Bali and Indonesia," said Greg. and "Food is always a great way to create a deep personal connection. All graduates receive an official certificate of achievement, as well as copies of the recipes in a beautiful hand-drawn booklet," he added.