REY­NALDO DELUNA II

Exquisite Taste - - Up Close & Personal - By Runi In­drani

: When did you first dis­cover your pas­sion for cook­ing and how did you get into the culi­nary in­dus­try it­self? Rey­naldo: As a baby my mother wouldn’t let me watch car­toons or tele­vi­sion. She would sit me in the kitchen and tell me to watch what­ever she cooked. A Span­ish mother and a Mex­i­can fa­ther, so two dif­fer­ent types of cui­sine. As a baby I would go to the mar­ket with my mother and would choose the fresh fish and veg­eta­bles. She would bring ev­ery­thing to my nose and tell me to smell it. When I was three un­til about seven, I was al­ways sit­ting in the kitchen, help­ing to peel gar­lic and do other things. At 16 I told my fa­ther that I wanted to be a chef, so he en­rolled me in a culi­nary school.

The Seminyak Beach Re­sort & Spa’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Rey­naldo DELUNA II was born into a Span­ish-Mex­i­can fam­ily that’s re­ally pas­sion­ate about cook­ing and he trot­ted the globe to cook be­fore fi­nally call­ing In­done­sia his home. Now, more than ever, he strives to give In­done­sian in­gre­di­ents the recog­ni­tion they de­serve.

In the morn­ing I would go to school and at night I would go to the culi­nary school. I did that for two years, and I fin­ished my culi­nary stud­ies be­fore I fin­ished school. My first real break was at 16 when my fa­ther put me to work in our fam­ily’s side-busi­ness, which was a taco truck. So my first real kitchen ex­pe­ri­ence ever was in a taco truck.

: What have been your big­gest in­flu­ences in cook­ing?

R: Be­ing able to un­der­stand nutri­tion for the body. That has in­flu­enced me to learn that our bod­ies are just like a build­ing, if you use very bad ma­te­ri­als it’s go­ing to be of a bad qual­ity. Same with your body, if you get bad nutri­tion, you won’t have the power you need. I got into a lot of sports when I was younger – rock climb­ing, boul­der­ing, slack­lin­ing, and I used to be a pro­fes­sional skate­boarder. Ath­letes need the best nutri­tion to per­form, and that in­spired me to pay at­ten­tion to the nutri­tion of the food I make.

: What coun­tries has your ca­reer taken you to? Do you have any favourite? R: Be­fore I moved to In­done­sia, I had lived in China, Ja­pan, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, France, Mex­ico, the US and Qatar. My favourite is In­done­sia by far. Home is where I feel com­fort­able, and for the last five years it’s been In­done­sia.

: What’s the best thing you’ve come across in your culi­nary ca­reer?

R: Learn­ing about the his­tory of gas­tron­omy and in­gre­di­ents in In­done­sia, be­cause if it weren’t for In­done­sia, we wouldn’t have spices – black pep­per, white pep­per, nut­meg, all of th­ese spices that the Dutch, Span­ish, English, Por­tuguese came here for. If it weren’t for In­done­sia’s gas­tron­omy as­sets, the world wouldn’t have pep­per, cloves and more – and where would we be with­out pep­per? When peo­ple re­ally think about it, they would ac­tu­ally re­alise that In­done­sia has had the big­gest im­pact on the world, gas­tro­nom­i­cally. A lot of the young gen­er­a­tion of In­done­sian chefs grab the tongs and metic­u­lously plate their creations. What are you do­ing? Don’t waste your time with this. You come from the gold mine of in­gre­di­ents of the world! And they don’t know, I ask them where kayu ma­nis (cin­na­mon) comes from, they don’t know.

: Speak­ing of In­done­sian food, do you have a favourite re­gional cui­sine from In­done­sia?

R: I’m re­ally into Su­ma­tran cui­sine. To me there’s noth­ing bet­ter gas­tro­nom­i­cally than the bumbu. Noth­ing can com­pare to the 40 in­gre­di­ents it takes to make a bumbu ren­dang. I re­ally re­spect the bumbu, ba­si­cally any­thing that can be made in an ulekan (mor­tar and pes­tle).

: Do you have any fu­ture goal in terms of cook­ing?

R: I just do what I like, and I like what I do. My goal would be to give the knowl­edge of all that I’ve ever learned about In­done­sian in­gre­di­ents to the young gen­er­a­tion of chefs.

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