“Experiences that make a lasting connection with the destination and people of Bali have always been at the heart of everything we do,” shares Uday Rao, General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Bali. “Many of our guests have such fond memories that they are contacting me to ask when international borders will open, anxious to return as soon as they can.” In the meantime, says Rao, the two resorts at Jimbaran Bay and Sayan remain open, and over the past year wonderful new initiatives have been unveiled, including the Healing Village Spa, Telu bartenders’ workshops, an expanded wellness program, and new chef-guided culinary excursions.
From an ocean-to-table fishing excursion in Jimbaran Bay to a private riverside picnic in the Sayan Valley, Four Seasons takes guests deeper into nature and the authentic flavors of Bali. The picnic adventure enables guests to soak up the ethereal energy and scenery of the Sayan Valley in a tranquil location accessible only by foot and exclusive to Four Seasons guests. A 20-minute trail walk alongside the river passes rice fields and a holy site where you are invited to make an offering to the gods—as is the custom before any meal in Bali. A “camp kitchen” for live cooking of a traditional lunch including freshly-grilled calamari and satays (see recipe below), salad made with herbs and vegetables from the resort’s on-site gardens, rice grilled inside banana leaves, and a refreshing iced dessert—a delicious and very special experience immersed in nature.
The Guardian of Authentic Balinese Cuisine
Executive Sous Chef Wayan Sutariawan (Suta) leads the cooking classes at Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. “I am proud to share authentic local food with our guests,” shares Chef Suta, “I like to keep alive the foods of my childhood, which can be hard to find unless you go to a Balinese person’s home in the village.”
“I like to keep alive the foods of my childhood…”—Chef Suta
Born and raised in Klungkung, Bali’s smallest regency famous for its classic Balinese paintings, the young Suta was enthralled with another art form—classic Balinese cuisine. His technical training—and his passion for authentic food—began at the age of twelve when he was adopted by his auntie. Every day, he woke up early to grind chili, onion, garlic, and other spices using a mortar and pestle to make base ganep, or what he calls “the magic spice paste” of Balinese food. It is the key foundation for virtually every local dish.
While all that grinding was hard work, Suta was so seduced by the aromas, flavors, and rituals of Balinese cooking that he changed his career goal from policeman to chef. After completing tertiary education, Suta joined Four Seasons Resorts Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru and spent five years at the private island resort learning international cuisines to complement his traditional Balinese expertise.He returned to Bali in 2011 to join Four Seasons Sayan and worked his way up to Senior Sous Chef overseeing Ayung Terrace and Riverside restaurants.
Today, Chef Suta not only curates menus and manages the culinary team, he is hands-on in the kitchen as the guardian of authentic Balinese cuisine at the resort. He was instrumental in the 2018 launch of Sokasi riverside cooking school where he shares his passion and secrets of local cuisine in half-day classes. He also personally presents the Sokasi Chef’s Table seven-course dinner, featuring twelve-hour roast duck cooked in the underground clay oven, four-hour spit-roasted pig, and ancient recipes that are now increasingly hard to find such as pepes klengis. Originally from Suta’s hometown Klungkung, pepes klengis is a delicious serving of fish marinated in klengis (the coconut pulp leftover from the process of making coconut oil), wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over a coconut husk BBQ.
Chef Suta’s Sate Madura
Until we can travel back to Bali and enjoy the authentic cuisine, chef-led picnics, and the Sacred River Spa at Four Seasons Sayan, here’s Chef Suta’s recipe for Sate Madura.
Grilled Satay Skewers with Indonesian Peanut Dipping Sauce
2 pounds chicken thighs, beef or lamb
1 cup peanut sauce (see recipe below)
¼ cup sweet soy sauce
1 lime, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons cooking oil
24 bamboo skewers
• Cut the meat into small cubes and place in a bowl.
• Mix the peanut sauce, sweet soy sauce, lime, and oil in a separate bowl or jug.
• Keep half for later, and pour the other half over the meat.
• Mix well and marinate for at least 15 minutes.
• Thread the marinated meat onto the skewers and grill over hot charcoals or a BBQ grill.
• Baste the meat with the marinade while cooking. Turn the skewers frequently to prevent the meat from sticking and burning, and cook through.
• Serve with peanut sauce, freshly diced shallots, and lime wedges.
2 cups peanuts
5 candlenuts, optional (substitute macadamia nuts)
8 cloves garlic, sliced
5 shallots, sliced
5 bird’s eye chilis, sliced
2 – 2½ cups water or chicken stock
½ cup sweet soy sauce
¼ cup palm sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1½ cups vegetable oil for deep frying.
In Bali, the dipping sauce ingredients are ground by hand with a mortar and pestle, but you could take a shortcut and use a food processor.
• Fry the nuts in oil with shallots and garlic until golden.
• Place in a mortar and pestle. Grind with palm sugar and chili until smooth.
• Add water as needed for a smooth consistency.
• Transfer back to the pan, add remaining water, and cook until thickened.
• Add sweet soy sauce, remove from heat and serve.