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Nikko Bali News - June 2011

Nikko Bali Resort and Spa continues its mission to uphold traditions of Bali through their annual cultural event

art rejuvenation

JUNE 2011 - NUSA DUA. Being a leader in the hospitality industry, a resort such as Nikko Bali Resort and Spa has the means and desire to maintain the heritage of Bali through its products and services. As you can see throughout Bali, most of the hotels and resorts will have a regular art related event in different forms, from paintings, dances, sculptures and even cooking.

After the success of its previous five similar events, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa will once again hold its annual cultural appreciation nights throughout July and August 2011. Held at the Kupu Kupu Amphitheatre, this year's event will feature Bali's best artists including the maestros of Balinese dances.

For this year's opening ceremony, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa invites its guest to see the dance maestros of Bali through "The Living Legends" performance featuring Ida Bagus Blangsinga, Ni Ketut Arini Alit, I Gusti Ayu Raka Rasmi, Jro Made Puspawati and I Wayan Dibia who will "wow" you with their grace.

Nikko Bali Resort and Spa will also feature other dances that have been the trademark of Bali such as the Kecak dance, Legong dance and Barong dance every week.

Look forward to this event that will also feature authentic Balinese cuisine by the resort's culinary team throughout July and August at Kupu Kupu Amphitheater, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa.

Nikko Bali Resort and Spa chats with Graeme Ritchie, the new Executive Chef and found out about the culinary world through his eyes

Graeme Ritchie

NUSA DUA - JUNE 2011. When you're in love with cooking, it's always exciting to taste and learn new cuisine from different parts of the world. With more than 20 years of experience, Chef Graeme Ritchie has the opportunity of traveling the world, experiencing each country through its culinary and learning it along the way. He started his career with an apprentice program in South Africa then climbed his way up the ladder, recently leaving Hong Kong to continue his journey here on the Island of the Gods, at Nikko Bali Resort and Spa as the new Executive Chef. In his last post, he opened a restaurant that was recognized in the Michelin Guide of 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a recommended restaurant.

Taking a little time out of his busy schedule, Chef Graeme sat with us one cold afternoon to talk about himself, his career and how he sees the culinary world.

This is your first time working in Bali, what is your impression of the island so far?

That's a good one, well, what makes Bali is the openness of the people, their warm hospitality, their unique personality that makes you feel that warm welcome. And for me, it’s a little like stepping back in time, not in a bad way but as if time slows down and you now have the 'chance' to take things into account.

When I was working in Hong Kong; everything was moving very fast, things change 'in the blink of an eye' and you need to go with the pace. Here in Bali, I have to adapt to the culture and the way people think and in a way, the island kind of reminds me how to take time, to step back a little, see what's around me and analyze everything before doing something.

What made you interested in the culinary world? How did you manage to get to this point?

I have to say the biggest influences would be my grandmother and my mother. They both like to cook and as a kid growing up in that kind of environment made me fall in love with food.

Being a chef was the last thing on my mind though, when I was in high school I wanted to be a veterinarian, to work in an animal conservation or something. But as I passed my teen years, I realized that I was in love with food after all. During holidays, I took part time jobs in restaurants and found my world.

I finally got accepted in a hotel school and had an offer for an apprentice scholarship at a hotel at the same time. So I decided to take the scholarship instead. I had to work my way up during that apprenticeship, scrubbing pans and pots for the first few months then chopping up onions and other stuff before finally stepping into the kitchen. I consider myself lucky because at that time in South Africa, most of the chefs were expatriate chefs from UK, Germany and other European countries, so I got the chance to learn from them. And it went on from there until today.

You've been around different continents and countries throughout your career life, how has it influenced your style of cooking?

Western cooking tends to be very heavy and concentrated on one particular ingredient, while Asian cooking concentrates more on the freshness of the ingredients and enhancing its natural flavors. For example, if you savor Cantonese cooking, it's quite bland but the natural flavor is there, you can taste it whereas French cooking tends to be creamier, heavier and rich in flavor.

So I guess, the traveling simplifies my style, it made me appreciate the quality of the food more and see seasoning in a different way.

Spending so much time in Asia specifically, have you found any ingredients that you don't like to work with?

I am one of those people that keeps on trying, that includes eating and cooking. The first time I've tasted Nato (Japanese fermented bean) I told myself "Never again". Then I thought maybe the first impression was not a good one so I gave it another shot then another and I grew accustomed to the taste then started to experiment with it - how to use it in a dish. So I have to say that I don't have anything I don’t like quite yet.

How about durian?

Right! I cannot appreciate the smell, taste and texture of durian yet. I love all tropical fruits, rambutan, lychee, longan, snake fruit, jack fruit. I also love chilies, that's why my team here were surprised when I asked for 'cabai potong' (chopped chilies) when I eat.

What is your biggest challenge being a chef in different countries?

I would say the biggest challenge for me is not necessarily the work, but life. I've moved around for several years and I found that I miss the 'home' comfort. I miss having that homey feeling, to be surrounded with my books, my music and my boys (Chef Graeme has two adorable boys, aged 9 and 8)

In Hong Kong, you managed to get listed in the Michelin guide book as a recommended restaurant, how did that feel?

Well, first of all, we didn't get the star, but still we're in the book, people notice us and we've been opened for only a year. That made my team and I very proud of ourselves at the end of the day. I mean, it's only a year and we got that kind of acknowledgement.

Who is the person that inspires you the most?

My grandmother; she's the one that inspired me the most, when I was a child, she often made us simple comfort foods and it was the thing that made me fall in love with cooking.

Last one, if you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Passionate, energetic, spontaneous.

Chef Graeme Ritchie is now working as the Executive Chef at NIkko Bali Resort and Spa, overseeing all the food and beverage outlets including the award winning The Shore Restaurant and Bar and the F&B side of MICE, weddings and other banqueting events.

Nikko Bali Resort and Spa collected more than US$ 10,000 for the victims of the natural disaster in Japan during its 6th annual golf open tournament

bali golf tournament

NUSA DUA - JUNE 2011. When a mega earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the impact on the world was immediately felt and all nations stood up and lent a helping hand.

Expressing their condolences, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa took part in the world's mission of helping Japan by holding the 6th annual golf open tournament to raise funds to be donated through Japanese Consul in Bali to Japanese Red Cross Society. The tournament took place on Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at the Bali Golf & Country Club Nusa Dua with 123 players of all handicaps.

The donation was collected from the entry fee from the participants as well as several sponsors from the business partners of the resort. During the award presentation dinner that took place on the same day at Graha Sawangan Ballroom, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa, a silent auction was held to get additional donation with three great prizes, including return flights ticket to Tokyo and accommodation at Nikko Bali's sister hotels, Okura Hotel Tokyo and Hotel Nikko Tokyo. "We wish to be able to get the maximum amount of donation for Japan and this is the time to give back" said Jean-Charles Le Coz, General Manager of Nikko Bali Resort and Spa.

In the end, more than US$ 10,000 was collected and given symbolically to Japan General Consul for Bali, Mr. Shirota Minoru. "It was great, the guests participated by placing their bids on the auction and we’re glad that we've managed to collect this amount of money to be donated" explained Jean-Charles Le Coz, "We've collected nearly US$ 3,000 from the auction alone and the rest of the donation came from the entry fee and our partners' support."

About Nikko Bali Resort and Spa
Nikko Bali Resort and Spa is a 5-star resort hotel located atop a 40-meter cliff in Nusa Dua and offers a 180-degree view of the Indian Ocean. The 389-room resort also has a scholarship program for the local school in Sawangan area along with other community based activities to ensure the welfare of local community.

Nikko Bali Resort and Spa designed a 'green' award to be presented to their business partners

green award

There are many ways to say thank you to your friends, family or business partners, from a simple word, a card to gifts or presents. Whichever way one choose to do this, it's the actual meaning of gratitude that's highly appreciated by the receiver, a sense of acknowledgement and appreciation.

Being a major player in the hospitality industry, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa has many organizations or companies supporting its business. Year after year, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa has made it a tradition of giving a certain award to their business partners in a form of a placard. Continuing its mission of 'going green', this year Nikko Bali Resort and Spa has designed a special placard as their symbol of gratitude to their business partners.

A dried bughunia leaf in a dark brown frame with an engraved plate was selected as this year's design. The leaf represents the blooming beauty of spring - a never ending bloom as in a never ending 'green' relationship between Nikko Bali Resort and Spa and their business partners. "Each placard is presented in a bio-degradable box that can be reused while the placard can be hung as decorative item in their office" Explained Jean-Charles Le Coz, General Manager of Nikko Bali Resort and Spa.

Previously, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa distributed 'green' holiday hampers containing organic food and beauty products, a 'green' giveaway of small cactuses for their ECO HOTEL award presentation as well as promoting 'green' acts through many activities, including a recent turtle release.

What you can do for a fun family - post school test - holiday on the Island of the Gods with Nikko Bali Resort and Spa

jungle camp kids club

Remember the brain crunching week-long test that we used to have when we were children? Remember how great it felt to actually manage to finish all the test? Remember how we just wanted to go and have all the fun in the world? Well, we believe it's time we took our little ones now for a fun filled holiday after they've finished their school tests. Our number one recommendation is, without a doubt, Indonesia's paradise, Bali.

Head down south, avoid the busy streets of Kuta and have a different kind of holiday with your family in Nusa Dua. This area is well known as the enclave of five-star resorts and has great beaches that are family friendly; commonly calm waves, beaches like the Mengiat, Geger or Sawangan, a natural coral bay that serves as a natural wave breaker.

While in Nusa Dua try and visit or even stay at one of the resorts there. Some resorts have special fun programs and activities for children that will keep them busy and entertained. Nikko Bali Resort and Spa for instance, introduced its family program called "Nikko and I" in 2009 for the new Nikko Family Room and Suites. The rooms were designed to accommodate family travelers comfortably with safety features in the bathroom for children, an array of toys and board games and a PlayStation 2 game console along with a mini DVD player. Families who chose this program will have free entry to the exclusive kid's club, Jungle Camp, which offers all day long activities from arts and crafts to a tour around the resort. The Jungle Camp was specially designed to entice the children's mind for a fun and active day out; combining an indoor area where they can learn arts and crafts or just hang out with their friends, and an outdoor area, featuring tree houses, trampoline and a climbing-wall.

Another unique feature at Nikko Bali Resort and Spa is the Camel Safari where you can take your children for a ride on the back of this magnificent creature along the beach of Sawangan to a local seaweed farming village south of the resort.

These are just some of the facilities and services that are dedicated for the family travelers at the resort. Find out more and discover the perfect family holiday only at Nikko Bali Resort and Spa. Why choose the ordinary?

What you can do for a fun family - post school test - holiday on the Island of the Gods with Nikko Bali Resort and Spa

gift shop

A new shopping experience is soon to be completed Nikko Bali Resort and Spa's lobby area

When you are traveling, one of the "must do's" often relates to shopping. Some opt for the art markets where they can bargain and find great deals, some chose boutiques or art galleries to find collector’s items, but in the end, shopping - to most people - is an art. This is why many great stores around the world take such a great length to create a specific ambiance, creating a comfortable space so customers will linger longer and eventually shop there.

Taking the STEP UP, Nikko Bali Resort and Spa is renovating its current gift shop to create a better shopping experience. The new gift shop will feature a modern look with new selections including some specially designed items that are uniquely nikko. Scheduled to open mid June, guests can expect a better shopping experience at the resort soon.

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