Big taste, no waste
There’s no such thing as leftovers at Ijen in Seminyak.
Banana leaves instead of plastic, line-caught seafood, and wood fire in place of gas. This is how the kitchen rolls at Ijen, a new “zero-waste philosophy” restaurant at Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak, Bali.
Its owner, Potato Head Family, has a history of sustainable business practices, but Ijen takes things up a notch by repurposing the majority of its waste – plastics are processed into building bricks, green scraps are fed to local livestock, fish scales are the star ingredient in rice-flour crackers. “We use our waste to create other products: pickles, aromatic oils, chilli
oil,” says chef Wayan Kresna Yasa. “We even ferment our own sambal using a technique similar to sriracha.”
Ijen’s open-air dining room is crafted from recycled materials. The floor is tiled in terrazzo flecked with broken glass and plates, furniture is padded with cushions made from foam recycled from motorcycle seats – even the drinking glasses are repurposed beer bottles.
Kresna Yasa turns out the likes of mackerel with rujak, beans grilled over charcoal, and grouper in banana leaf with a root-spice paste – all touched by wood fire.
The chef grew up on Nusa Penida, the arid island off Bali’s east coast, where most sustenance comes from the sea. At Ijen he combines the flavours and techniques of his upbringing with skills developed overseas; during eight years in the US he cooked for the likes of Ryan McCaskey at Chicago’s Acadia and Dan Barber at Stone Barns. He joined Potato Head in 2016 to head its Indonesian restaurant, Kaum.
“Cooking with fire is something I grew up with,” says Kresna Yasa, “but at Ijen I’m combining that with the Western knowledge that you grill the fish, finish it in the oven and get the smokiness from the wood fire.”
Vegetables are sourced from local farms, and fish, all local, are reeled in by hand. The zero-waste model keeps Ijen’s kitchen and suppliers on their toes, but for Kresna Yasa, the cause is vital.
Another luxury group in Bali taking sustainability seriously is Alila Hotels & Resorts, which is developing zero-waste policies, and a waste-processing lab and facility. Ijen, Potato Head Beach Club, Jl. Petitenget No. 51, Seminyak, Bali, ptthead.com
Dining room at Ijen. Right: Ijen chef Wayan Kresna Yasa; grouper in banana leaf, smoky garlic prawns and barbecued corn at Ijen.