Michael Taylor spent three weeks in Bali, Indonesia, in the fall of 2012. While there, he explored the sights, sampled the food, learnt about the culture, and checked out what's hot and what's not in one of Southeast Asia's most exciting travel destinations.
Michael stayed at several hotels and resorts at various price points during his stay. The first hotel on his itinerary was the Grand Mirage Resort, which is located in Nusa Dua, Bali, but not within the gated community. During his three night stay, he had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Wood, the hotel's Executive Chef.
The most difficult challenge facing chefs at five star hotels is consistency, says Matthew Wood, Executive Chef at the Grand Mirage Resort & Thalasso Bali.
"It's the same at every hotel,” Matthew says.
"It's not the kind of job at which you can just delegate and sit back. It requires constant follow up.”
Located on the tip of Nusa Dua Beach in the village of Tanjung Benoa, the Grand Mirage Resort is an all inclusive hotel that attracts a diverse clientèle. During public holidays in Indonesia, you will find lots of Indonesian families staying at the resort.
When it's cold in Europe, there are lots of guests from Britain, Germany, and Russia. The hotel is also popular with Australians during holiday periods Down Under.
So in addition to maintaining consistent standards of quality at the hotel's seven restaurants, bars, and cocktail lounges, Chef Matthew also needs to cater to the varying food preferences of the various nationalities that stay at the hotel.
"We try to make a menu that meet all the guests' needs because we have guests from so many different cultures,” he says.
"Being inclusive is the biggest challenge.”
But there is another challenge facing the Chef, as well. One of the things that sets Grand Mirage Resort apart from most of the other hotels and resorts that I have stayed at is that it offers a variety of inclusive packages.
These run from basic bed and breakfast packages to packages with full room and board. Some packages include water sports or theatre tickets.
"At the highest level, breakfast, lunch, and dinner is included,” Chef Matthew says.
"Guests can dine in their room. They can eat at any of the buffets. They can also order ala carte – and that includes having dinner at the fine dining restaurant.”
Since many guests staying at the Grand Mirage Resort book these all inclusive hotel packages, they would quickly tire of the fare if it were not changed on a regular basis.
"It means that the menu has to change every day,” Chef Matthew says.
"If someone is staying on an all inclusive basis, that's a lot of meals. So we have to make sure that the guests don't get bored. At the buffet, we usually change four or five of the hot dishes each day.”
Meet Your Celebrity Chef
An Australian national, Matthew Wood worked in the kitchens of such top hotel brands as Sheraton, InterContinental, Park Royal, and Nikko in his native Australia before heading for Asia. He came to Bali eight years ago.
Matthew was appointed Executive Chef at the Grand Mirage Resort in mid 2012.
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