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B BRIEFING


Unfinished business B


Will Goldfarb: “I love New York, but I don’t miss it. This is home”


Six years ago, pastry chef Will Goldfarb gave up critical acclaim in bustling New York for a life in laidback Bali. But, instead of slowing him down, Elly Earls finds out how the move has offered him a second shot at the title


ack in the mid-2000s, pastry chef Will Goldfarb was the go-to guy for discerning dessert lovers in the Big Apple. His dessert-and-cocktail concept Room4Dessert on Manhattan’s Cleveland Place won acclaim from the media, celebrities and his culinary colleagues alike for its elaborate dishes, made with near-scientific attention to detail. But fast forward to 2015 and life looks altogether different for the avant-garde chef. Not only did Room4Dessert close in 2007 after Goldfarb fell out with his business partners, but soon after he was diagnosed with, and survived, cancer. Subsequently, he decided to move half way across the world to Bali, an island known for its laidback attitude as much as it is for its beaches, and all of it a far cry from the pace of Manhattan.


A home in paradise


The more relaxed pace of life in Indonesia, where Goldfarb has been living for six years, clearly agrees with the precision pastry maker. When I meet him in Bali’s cultural centre Ubud at his latest venture, a reincarnation of Room4Dessert that opened in summer 2014, he seemingly couldn’t be more content. “This is home now,” he smiles, between chatting away to his staff in Indonesian and whipping me up his favourite dish on his new outlet’s menu,


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the Sugar Refinery. It’s a mouth-watering combination of palm sugar, more palm sugar, mangosteen bitters, belinjo and Balinese meringue – and it took Goldfarb a year to get just right. Despite Bali’s languor, he clearly hasn’t lost his touch. Indeed, other menu items include


Goldfarb’s take on rice pudding, Passion You, with rambutan, passion fruit and chia seeds; a petit fours dish of cocoa nibs praline, new-style klepon, buttermilk biscuit and strawberry jelly; the Loneliness Redux, which is made up of incredibly light cashew sponge, fresh soy milk and raw cacao; and Baba O Rhiley, a rum-soaked brioche with milk jam, snakefruit ice and cashew Nutella. The Nine and a Half Yards, a tiny version of everything


on the tasting menu, has so far proved to be diners’ most popular choice. So, I ask, why another Room4Dessert? And did Goldfarb really think it would work in a small town in Bali? “I definitely had unfinished business to attend to – much like Beatrix Kiddo in Kill Bill,” he replies. “I didn’t end it entirely on my terms the first time, and I wanted another shot at the title. To be honest, I didn’t think this concept would work in Ubud, but it’s where I live and it’s the only thing I know how to do. It’s exceeded my expectations for sure. Of course, it could always be busier but it would be greedy not to enjoy what we already have.”


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