If you’ve been to our outpost in Seminyak, Bali lately, you might have seen this familiar face: our next guest chef for Kilo Cooking Beats—Raíces is Kilo Bali’s executive chef, Yohans Gozal. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, he will bring a taste of authentic Indonesian cuisine to the Kilo Kallang kitchen come Thursday, 25th May. Yohans spent most of his childhood and teenage years growing up in Malaysia before going on to study in Australia. It was there that he fell in love with “the buzz, the heat, and the screaming inside the kitchen” during a part-time stint while studying, and although he went on to work in the IT industry in Singapore for two years, he found himself back in the kitchen soon after. Having worked for established hotels and restaurants such as Mandarin Oriental, Marina Bay Sands, Ola Cocina Del Mar and Restaurant BAM!, Yohan resumed his position as executive chef in Kilo Bali in May this year, after first taking up the role in 2015. We caught up with Yohans ahead of his session:
Could you tell us a bit more about what you liked about working in the kitchen?
My first part-time gig in the kitchen was in this modest, small-sized Turkish bistro in Brisbane. Like many other kitchens, it was humid, hot, and noisy; the working hours were gruesome; and if you heard the way everyone talked to each other, you’d be surprised they weren’t trying to kill each other. It was madness, but somehow organised, and if you looked closely everything was actually in harmony. It was organised chaos, and I liked it.
How different were the experiences and the food scenes in Singapore and Indonesia?
Professionally, as a chef, I’ve worked mostly in Singapore. I came back to Indonesia to work in Bali only since early 2015. The restaurants in Bali have an added advantage of having the beautiful backdrop of Bali’s tropical landscape. Bali is a holiday destination and the weather is usually hot all year round, so people are more relaxed, unhurried and are usually in shorts and flip-flops. This translates to the feel and atmosphere of the dining scene in Bali. Singapore, however, has positioned itself as a gourmet destination in recent years, on par with other gourmet destinations in Asia like Hong Kong and Japan. I miss how easy it is to literally eat the world without having to leave Singapore. The choices are plenty.