Camilla Chevillot

CAMILLA CHEVILLOT. GM, SARDINE

So Camilla, when and how did you first find yourself on Bali? First impressions?

The first time I came was about nine years ago, mainly because my grandmother decided to move here. I finally made the move to Bali about two years ago. First impression . . . big change from the tiny Caribbean island I was living on before. Bali has a very strong culture, very kind people, many places to see and things to do, and many people to meet. The great thing about Bali is that all the expats you meet here have a great story as to why they ended up here and what’s inspired them to stay. I have to say this is the first time I’ve lived somewhere and don’t have the urge to live anywhere else.

Did you always know you would end up in this line of work?

I had NO idea what I would do when I grew up. It was a frustratingly, frequently asked, question throughout my adolescence. I always loved animals and considered training animals for movies in Hollywood. Then I got a pet and realised that it’s a lot of work . . . dirty work! So to avoid cleaning up shit, I got a job as a dishwasher in Vancouver B.C. (go figure). From there I moved up the line and learned about being a cook, which I thoroughly enjoyed . . . having come from a background of French chefs!

From there I became a bartender and moved to St. Martin. That was fun for a few years . . . but I found myself looking for more of a challenge. After a visit with the family in Bali, and after seeing Sardine, the opportunity presented itself to become a part of the team so I jumped on it!

How does Bali compare to other places you’ve lived/worked in?

It’s under a lot of development and it’s very exciting to see what’s yet to come. It’s awesome.

What’s the biggest challenge in doing what you do?

Did I mention I work for my family? Well that mostly. But it’s also very special to finally be able to spend family time together. We have our moments but that’s only natural . . . we always manage to laugh it off later. Other than that, it was really about learning to work and communicate with another culture. I did a six- month management trainee internship at the Legian Hotel, which was a great introduction to how people work here. Working in a new place is always intimidating but the Balinese are so warm and welcoming that it really took the edge off.

Also, I am kind of an awkward and shy person and have a hard time talking to strangers, and part of my job just happens to be going around and talking to customers. It’s amazing how much easier that has become.

Can you give us any taste of the future for Sardine this year?

Our chef, Michael, has been traveling around Vietnam doing some research on the cuisine, so you can expect some exciting new flavours on the menu.

What’s the funniest or most unexpected situation you’ve had to navigate so far?

A gecko landed on a customer’s head . . . and on top of that she had a phobia of lizards. So she finished her dinner at the gecko-free bar.

What would you most like to see improve on the island?

Traaaaffiiiiiiic! I hope someone finds a solution.

How do you most like to spend your time away from work?

In bed, watching movies, phone off, A/C on. Pizza? Sure why not, I’m off.

What’s your dream?

Let me sleep and I’ll tell you tomorrow.