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Goldfarb: “Any of my staff could be influential chefs in the world”

“Honestly, 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”

Part of the restaurant’s early popularity has stemmed no doubt from Goldfarb’s already excellent reputation in Bali. Prior to opening Room4Dessert in Ubud, he had launched high-tech food lab and restaurant Mejekawi, or Sacred Table, at Seminyak’s world-famous Ku De Ta in June 2013. There, he’d worked with equipment that would have been more at home in a science lab than a kitchen, using everything from rotary evaporators to blast chillers to create tasting menus that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Michelin-starred elBulli. A younger Goldfarb trained there for a season but, despite being offered a coveted paid position, he opted to go it alone. Yet Room4Dessert is a different beast to Mejekawi. Goldfarb hasn’t brought any of his high-tech tools with him, preferring instead to go back to basics. In fact, he believes he can get even better results using only the most rudimentary equipment. “The key tastes are the only things you can rely on,” he explains, adding that he’s enjoying challenging his culinary creativity by removing the props that are synonymous with his previous venture. “It’s quite a change!” he remarks,

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but adds that his favourite piece of equipment hasn’t changed. “It’s always the same – spoon and offset spatula – we just had more expensive toys at Mejekawi.”

Quality in abundance Another thing that hasn’t changed since Goldfarb transplanted to Bali in 2009 is the incredible array of ingredients at his fingertips. “I love being in the cradle of all the products we use for pastry – sugar, chocolate, cocoa butter, spices, fruits – they’re all here,” he gushes. “Plus, Bali is unusual because it has all these ingredients and it’s cosmopolitan. I can’t think of many places [with such good ingredients] that are as sophisticated as here. There are plenty of other tropical rainforest environments in the world, but…” He trails off, with a shrug. And he’s not the only chef to have cottoned on to Bali’s combination of abundance and hunger for fine dining. In Ubud alone during the past two years, excellent new additions to the restaurant scene in Goldfarb’s eyes include Locavore by chefs Eekle Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah, which serves European-style tasting menus created from all-local ingredients; Hujan Locale, the latest venture by Will Meyrick, the creator of Bali fine dining institutions Mama San and Sarong; authentic Peruvian

restaurant Pica South American Kitchen, the brainchild of Chilean chef-owner Cristian Encina; and Blanco par Mandif, created by Teatro Gastroteque’s chef Mandif Warokka, will follow in Ubud later this year.

As Goldfarb puts it – if you include Room4Dessert – this all adds up to “five hard-hitting joints in one small town”. And that’s not even taking the rest of the island into account. On top of Mejekawi, Mama San, Sarong and Teatro Gastroteque, it is home to the first restaurant in Indonesia conceptualised and overseen by a Michelin- starred chef – Italian Ezio Gritti’s Solata – since 2013.

“People come here for the food now, 100%, no question,”

says Goldfarb. If he gets his way, the island will be producing its own culinary stars before long. “Any of my staff could be influential chefs in the world,” he says. “Their ability is equal to or greater than anyone else. it’s a matter of work, desire and creativity. The standard they’ve received here means they can be the best in the world if they are interested in that.” So, any plans to return to the Big Apple then for Goldfarb? “No, I love New York, but I don’t miss it. It would have to be an extraordinary offer. “This is home.”


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