The Yak went behind the swing doors into the kitchen to meet Chef Ronald Junior of Beachgarden – Organic Kitchen in Canggu. We asked him a few relevant (and irreverent) questions…
Name your kitchen:
Beachgarden – Organic Kitchen – Canggu.
How long have you been in Bali and where were you cheffing before?
I’ve been here for 11 months now, and before this I was chefing a restaurant in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.
How tall were you when you cooked your first dish?
Ha ha … my first dish by myself was a bit late actually. I discovered cooking when I was around 20 years old. But I was always around the kitchen with my mom and grandmas growing up, I always loved to be around that, trying their food and helping as I could. I was probably in the way a lot.
What was it and whose recipe did you follow?
My first solo dish was a Brazilian Feijoada, which is a black bean and pork dish. I made it to my godfather’s recipe. My mom was a huge influence … she was an amazing cook. A quituteira as we’d call her in Brazil.
Tell us about your very first set of knives.
I bought my first set when I started Gastronomy University, and it was a set of Century Knives from Tramontina, which is a very good Brazilian brand. Now my baby knife is a Japanese Global.
Make us a picnic. (Wine included)
Um… bbq leftover meat sandwich with cheese, organic strawberries, grapes and mango, banana cake, sweet potato chips, orange juice and a Garrus Rosé 2017 wine.
Your best hangover cure?
Hangovers are not part of my life because I’m allergic to alcohol. But Coca-cola would be my call.
Name your top three garnishes.
Microgreens, flowers and pancs, which are non-conventional edible plants … aka weeds.
Top three herbs?
Thyme, parsley and coriander!
What turns you on? List the ingredients to your most potent aphrodisiac dish.
Well, I like cooking protein a lot! And I was “born” in the sea, fishing a lot with my grandfather. My most aphrodisiac dish is probably a seafood linguini with shrimp, squid, butterfish, muscles, “dedo de moça” pepper, coriander, herbs butter, white wine and linguini pasta.
The weirdest ingredients you have ever used?
I don’t know. Maybe the weirdest dish I’ve ever prepared was in college. I had to make desserts using beans and rice, which are normal ingredients, but culturally in Brazil these ingredients are used on salty dishes, so the result was very good, but also weird in a sense. I made white beans Pâte Sablée, a Jasmin rice Bavaroise and a mango Coulis. I don’t know if I’d ever order a dessert made out of beans.
What is your philosophy with regards to cooking?
Everyone can cook if they want to!
Name your favorite vineyard.
Milantino! It’s a Brazilian vineyard located in the Vale dos Vinhedos, south of Brazil. It’s a quite a young vineyard with good Merlot harvest from 2004, and they are great for me because they mix biodynamic and organic process to make it!
How important is organic for you and where are you sourcing your organic meats and veggies from?
Organic food is everything! The thing that I value the most in an ingredient is its quality, and when we speak about organics they are the best ones in terms of flavor. My sources on organic meat – Australia, and for veggies it is the Putra Gunung farm in Bedugul.
I am English, I wonder if you know what a greasy spoon is?
No, I don’t! Googling it now!
How long does it take you to peel and chop an onion? Time yourself please.
Ok! It just took me 11 seconds to peel and chop one onion émincé style.
Pinnacle moment in your career?
Right now! Chefing at a restaurant in Bali after arriving here 11 months ago and not speaking English was a hard, but very fulfilling moment! Lots of learning!
Name your favourite dip and give us the recipe, please.
My favorite dip is the Argentinian Chimichurri, which is a mix of dehydrated herbs with olive oil, great to have with meat. I don’t have it written down in portions actually, I do it by heart just like an Indian Masala. But the ingredients are: thyme, rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley, pepperoni pepper, black pepper, fried garlic, salt and olive oil.
If you had to be reincarnated as a dish, what dish would that be?
I have to say Brazilian bbq. I looove meat, and love to cook meat. Cooking is life, it’s love sharing, being healthy, getting in touch with our essence.
Who do you admire in the world of chefing today and why?
I really admire João Diamante, a chef who came from the Rio de Janeiro favela, who worked hard to be recognized and is now a celebrity in Brazil. Pablo Leal, a regional chef specializing in seafood, grandson of the legendary Tia Palmira who continued the family career. And my teachers, especially Gerci Trevenzolli who was my first teacher and taught me a lot about the world of gastronomy and educated me to become an organized and clean chef.
Ronald, thanks so much for your time.
Venue: Beachgarden – Organic Kitchen | Canggu