Putting organic produce at the core of his cooking, The Wordrobe talks eating natural and keeping it simple with Stephane Gortina, Executive Chef of The Legian Seminyak in Bali
What inspired you to become a chef?
Our family culture; as a family, we spend a lot of time together around the table eating. My mother and grandmother were great cooks and their homemade cooking inspired me.
From a young age, I’ve always loved cooking for other people, it always makes me happy to see someone enjoying my cooking. This all started when I was around 12 years old.
Where did you train? Tell us more about your culinary background…
I graduated from a catering school in Nice, then started work at a high end two Michelin star restaurant, Jacques Maximin.
I then continued to explore my culinary skills in different Michelin star restaurants in various regions in France.
Then, I joined one of the most celebrated chefs in the world, Chef Alain Ducasse at the renowned Le Louix XV at l’Hôtel de Paris in Monaco.
I followed him for 14 years in different countries and restaurant concepts throughout Japan, Hong Kong, Mauritius, London, Russia, Qatar.
After that, I received my first Michelin star as a chef.
What’s your favourite summer dish?
Our marinated mahi-mahi with palm tree and passion fruit is a perfect tropical dish, of course available at The Restaurant at The Legian Seminyak, Bali.
What can guests expect from a meal at The Restaurant at The Legian Seminyak?
Simply enjoy it! We have the best products available in region cooked in a sustainable manner, an amazing panoramic view of the Indian Ocean and a team of attentive staff with excellent service.
Name your three favourite signature Balinese dishes:
1 Slipper lobster curry*
2 Local red mullet grilled in banana leaf with spinach-chili
3 Sirloin beef rendang with labu siam
*All these are available on the dinner menu of The Restaurant at The Legian Seminyak, Bali.
What does it take to achieve a Michelin star?
A LOT of work! You need to be accurate, pay close attention to details, and be constantly rigorous.
Having a solid and knowledgeable team plays a key role. Most importantly, always use the best produce available and make sure to cook or season it the best way you possibly can.
Do you have any role models?
Alain Ducasse. I loved his sustainable style of cooking, his philosophy, and his way of teaching.
He always used the best ingredients and treat them in the most simple ways, with perfect seasoning and cooking that results in delivering the best flavour of the product to the guest.
Therefore, he continues to inspire my cooking to this day.
What does hospitality mean to you?
Welcoming guests and providing them with an all-round experience through the culinary offerings, service, and overall atmosphere.
The goal is to make them remember us, and put us top of mind for an exquisite dining experience.
Name three of your top restaurants.
1 Le Louix XV at l’Hôtel de Paris in Monaco – three Michelin star fine dining restaurant
2 Le Bistrot d’Antoine in Nice – casual Mediterranean food
3 And, of course The Restaurant at The Legian Seminyak, Bali!
What advice would you offer to aspiring chefs?
Be passionate about food always; eat in different places, explore different techniques and ingredients, get to know the many food cultures.
In the beginning, it’s going to be tough but that’s how you learn. So work hard, keep striving, and don’t count the (15-20 a day) hours of work!
What do you think is 2019’s biggest food trend?
Eating simple and being conscious of what you eat – knowing where it comes from, consuming natural products that are in season, in the right place too.
Also, the culture of consuming more veggies and less animal protein. All in all, save the planet by what you’re eating!
Find out more about Stephane Gortina and his dishes by visiting The Legian Seminyak website.