Big taste, no waste

There’s no such thing as left­overs at Ijen in Seminyak.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News - MAYA KERTHYASA

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,

Din­ing room at Ijen. Right: Ijen chef Wayan Kresna Yasa; grouper in ba­nana leaf, smoky gar­lic prawns and bar­be­cued corn at Ijen.

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