The tables are laid, the candles lend a soft glow and the heady scent of the flowers add romance to what promises to be another night to remember. Weddings and events take on a very personal feel with the family behind Bali Good Food catering, writes Sarah Douglas.
No two events are ever exactly alike and that is just how Mira Suarsana likes it. The 27-year-old daughter of the couple who launched the Bali Good Food company, and its many successful restaurants, brings her own creative vision to the family business.
Mira grew up around food, although never imagined she would make a career out of it. Raise in Bali she has travelled the world, studied and worked abroad before coming home to visit and finding that the family business might just be her sweet spot.
Bali Good Food is a familiar name to many in Bali. With restaurants like Batan Waru paying homage to local food, Siam Sally telling a Thai tale, Cinta Grill fanning the flames for flavour, and the former Terazo showing us how good American-style café food can be, there’s a legacy of food in this family. Add to that their own organic farm, the source of much of their produce, and the catering company, BGF, and this adds up to a delicious legacy.
Mira has always been passionate about food but never imagined she make a career of it. “I was working in New York and fell in love with cooking. I loved coming home with my shopping and putting a meal together but still never saw myself in the business. I was on my way to Sydney for a job interview and stopped off to see my dad in Bali and things just fell into place,” Mira explains.
Mira’s Dad, Gusky, is Balinese and he is behind the creative design of the restaurants and runs the business. Her mum Karen is a New Yorker who is passionate about food and has her own entertaining blog, Kitchen in Surgency. Mira completed her studies overseas and then began her working life, coming back for visits but with no plans to settle here.
“My dad offered me the job and I became totally involved in it. I love working with the event planners to put a personal spin on everything. We have a lot of restaurants to draw inspiration from and a team who have worked together since I was young. They are totally dependable, creative and a great support system. It really feels like family to me and we are a great team,” continues the vivacious and well-spoken Mira.
Her favourite part, she says, is customizing the menus and the events to give each one a personal touch. There is nothing cookie cutter about their approach.
“Our two most popular events are the seated dinner, usually about three to four courses and the pasar malam theme which is based on a night market with live cooking, Jimbaran-style seafood and little stalls where guests can pick and choose,” she explains.
With four high profile restaurants behind them, some guests request Thai or Indonesian, others want a Western menu or something totally new like Indian or Mexican.
“What’s really great is that I get to tweak the recipes and the most successful ones will appear on the restaurant menus. We recently did a Mexican feast and we designed a fish and cauliflower taco that has become one of the most popular items on the Cinta Grill menu now. That side of it is very creative and I love it.”
Joining a generation of her Bali friends who have started successful businesses in Bali or are working in family-run businesses is another aspect of coming home that was unexpected.
“It’s great to see how many of the friends I grew up with are doing really well in business, it’s exciting,” she laughs.
Bali Good Food has been a major player in Bali for over two decades. With a fresh face to front the business, giving it new energy and driving it with creativity, the future of the foodie company looks to be in very capable hands.