Bold ocean flavours

Epicure (Indonesia) - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

“At Cuca, we only use what is In­done­sian.

There is not a sin­gle in­gre­di­ent used that does not grow, swim or walk in In­done­sia. This is the base for ev­ery­thing that we do,” says chef Kevin Cherkas. As the co­founder of Cuca, Cherkas de­fines Cuca’s of­fer­ing as in­ven­tive com­fort food. Fresh­ness and flavour take cen­tre stage at this Jim­baran restau­rant.

Hav­ing worked at El Bulli and Arzak in Spain, Cherkas is an in­gre­di­ent-driven chef. “Be­fore we de­velop our seafood dishes, we be­gin by talk­ing di­rectly to lo­cal fish­er­men, sus­tain­able fish­eries, and NGOS to learn which prod­ucts are abun­dant and good for the sus­tain­abil­ity of marine life in In­done­sia,” ex­plains Cherkas. Work­ing di­rectly with th­ese stake­hold­ers and know­ing for a fact that their pur­chase ben­e­fits the smallscale fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties is some­thing that Cuca has been es­pe­cially proud of since its open­ing in 2012.

This phi­los­o­phy can be found in one of Cuca’s sig­na­ture ta­pas, Black Squid “Risotto”. In­spired by the clas­sic Span­ish dish Chipirones en su Tinta, Cherkas wants to recre­ate this bold flavour by us­ing lo­cal squid. He minces the squid to the size of small rice grains and slowly braises them in a sauce of white wine and tomato, adding veg­etable stew and gar­lic cream, and lastly, gar­nish­ing it with popped rice. Cuca’s ap­proach proves that big flavour and com­mit­ment to sus­tain­able seafood goes well to­gether. Af­ter all, when it comes to seafood, the ocean is the limit.

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