Ubud’s Locavore Scene: Culinary Exploration with Eelke

Ubud's Locavore Scene

Ubud is a vibrant and eclectic town nestled in the heart of Bali, Indonesia. Known for its lush greenery, rice paddies, and welcoming community, it has quickly become one of the hottest culinary destinations in Southeast Asia. The culinary scene in Ubud is intimately linked with the environment, and this is what makes it stand out.At the forefront of this movement is Eelke Plasmeijer, the man behind Locavore Restaurant – a mecca for foodies looking for locally-sourced, sustainable, and innovative cuisine. His passion for local ingredients, paired with his years of experience in the hospitality industry, has propelled him to the top of the game. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the fascinating world of Ubud’s locavore scene, exploring the origin, philosophy, and techniques alongside Eelke Plasmeijer.

The Origins of Ubud’s Locavore Movement

The locavore movement emerged in the early 2000s as a response to globalisation and the rise of industrial agriculture. Consumers increasingly became concerned with the quality of their food and its impact on the environment. This movement emphasises the importance of using locally-sourced produce and ingredients, focusing on seasonal and sustainable practices.

Ubud’s locavore movement can be traced back to the early 2000s, when a handful of local chefs, including Eelke Plasmeijer, began experimenting with traditional Indonesian ingredients and cooking techniques. They quickly realised that using locally-sourced ingredients not only tasted better but also had a lower carbon footprint.

Ubud, a charming town located in the heart of Bali, Indonesia, has become a hub for foodies and culinary enthusiasts from around the world. Its unique culinary culture, which celebrates Indonesian heritage and traditional ingredients, has put Ubud on the map as a must-visit destination for food lovers.

The Philosophy Behind Locavorism

The locavore philosophy is more than just a food trend, it’s a way of life. By using locally-sourced ingredients, locavore chefs aim to reduce their carbon footprint, and support local communities and businesses.

Locavorism is centred around the idea of ‘slow food,’ which emphasizes the importance of taking time to enjoy meals with friends and family, savouring each bite, and appreciating the hard work of local farmers and producers who grow and raise the ingredients used in each dish.

Furthermore, locavore cuisine celebrates Indonesian culture and heritage, incorporating traditional Indonesian ingredients and cooking techniques. At its core, locavorism is about connecting people to their food and the environment, and creating a sustainable and ethical food system.

Eelke Plasmeijer’s Culinary Journey

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Eelke Plasmeijer’s culinary journey began at a young age. He worked in various Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe before moving to Indonesia, where he quickly fell in love with the vibrant culture and diverse local food scene.

Eelke’s passion for Indonesian ingredients, cooking techniques, and culture led him to open Locavore Restaurant in 2010, a place where traditional Indonesian flavours meet innovative culinary creations. His dedication to local sourcing, zero-waste, and sustainability has made him one of the most respected and influential chefs in the Indonesian culinary world.

At Locavore, Eelke and his team work closely with local farmers and producers to source the freshest and most sustainable ingredients. They also use innovative techniques, such as fermentation and smoking, to create unique and flavourful dishes that showcase the best of Indonesian cuisine.

The Birth of Locavore Restaurant

Locavore Restaurant opened its doors in 2010, with a mission to showcase the diversity and complexity of Indonesian cuisine. Eelke, together with his co-founder and fellow chef Ray Adriansyah, created a menu that reflected Indonesia’s rich culinary heritage while incorporating innovative techniques and flavours.

Locavore’s commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing quickly gained popularity, propelling it to become one of the most renowned restaurants in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Today, Locavore is the go-to destination for foodies looking for inventive, locally-sourced, and sustainable cuisine.

Locavore’s success has also inspired other chefs and restaurants in Ubud and beyond to embrace the locavore philosophy and incorporate local ingredients into their menus. This has helped to create a thriving local food scene that celebrates Indonesian culture and supports local communities and businesses.

The Ingredients and Techniques of Locavore Cuisine

Locavore cuisine is a culinary movement that has gained popularity in recent years. It is all about showcasing the flavours and textures of locally-sourced ingredients while incorporating innovative techniques and international influences. Here are some of the key elements of locavore cuisine:

Sourcing Local Ingredients

Locavore chefs pride themselves on sourcing local ingredients, including fruits, spices, vegetables, and meats. They work closely with local farmers and producers, ensuring that the ingredients are organically grown and harvested sustainably. This not only supports the local community and economy but also reduces the carbon footprint of the restaurant.

Using locally-sourced ingredients enhances the flavour of each dish, providing a unique and dynamic taste that reflects the local environment and the season. For example, in the summer, a locavore restaurant may feature dishes that highlight fresh berries, heirloom tomatoes, and sweet corn. In the fall, they may incorporate root vegetables, apples, and squash into their menus.

Locavore chefs also take pride in using the entire ingredient, from root to stem. This minimizes waste and maximizes flavour. For example, they may use carrot tops to make pesto or turnip greens in a salad.

Traditional Balinese Cooking Methods

The techniques and methods used in locavore cuisine are rooted in Balinese tradition. These include using an open flame, smoking, and grilling, as well as various methods of fermentation and preservation. By incorporating these traditional techniques, locavore chefs can create a range of textures and flavours that are unique to the local environment.

For example, using banana leaves for grilling or smoking provides a natural and earthy flavour that is hard to replicate with other methods. Fermentation is another traditional technique that is used in locavore cuisine. Chefs may ferment vegetables, fruits, or even fish to create complex and tangy flavours.

Preservation is also an important aspect of Balinese cooking. Chefs may preserve ingredients using salt, vinegar, or oil. This not only extends the shelf life of the ingredient but also enhances its flavour. For example, pickled onions or preserved lemons can add a bright and tangy flavour to a dish.

The Art of Fusion and Innovation

Locavore cuisine is all about pushing boundaries and creating new flavours. By combining traditional Balinese techniques with international influences, locavore chefs can create innovative and exciting dishes that showcase the best of local ingredients.

For example, a locavore restaurant may feature a dish that combines Balinese-style grilled fish with a Mexican-inspired salsa made with locally-sourced tomatoes and cilantro. Another dish may feature a traditional Balinese spice blend used to season locally-raised pork belly.

Locavore Restaurant, located in Bali, Indonesia, offers a Chef’s Tasting Menu, which is a unique culinary experience that takes diners on a journey through the flavours and ingredients of Indonesia. The menu is created fresh each day and features a range of tantalizing dishes, each paired with a carefully selected wine or cocktail.

Overall, locavore cuisine is a celebration of local ingredients, traditional techniques, and innovative flavour combinations. It is a movement that is here to stay, and one that is sure to excite and inspire food lovers around the world.

A Day in the Life of Eelke Plasmeijer

Running one of the most desirable restaurants in Southeast Asia is no easy feat. But for Eelke Plasmeijer, it’s a passion that consumes every waking moment. Here’s a glimpse into a day in the life of Eelke Plasmeijer:

Morning Rituals and Market Visits

Eelke starts his day with a morning cup of coffee and a brisk walk around the rice paddies that surround his home. The fresh air and peaceful surroundings help him clear his mind and prepare for the day ahead. As he walks, he takes in the beauty of the Balinese landscape, drawing inspiration for his culinary creations.

After his walk, Eelke heads to the local market, where he peruses the various stalls, selecting the freshest and most delicious ingredients for the day’s menu. The market visit is an essential part of his day, as he believes that the ingredients he uses must be of the highest quality and ethically sourced. With each purchase, he builds relationships with local growers and producers, supporting Bali’s local economy.

As he navigates the bustling market, Eelke chats with the vendors, learning about their growing practices and the unique flavors of their produce. He carefully selects each ingredient, envisioning how it will come together in the dishes he will create later in the day.

Crafting the Daily Menu

With the ingredients selected, Eelke heads back to Locavore Restaurant, where he begins crafting the day’s menu. He spends hours experimenting with techniques, flavors, and textures, creating innovative and delicious dishes that will excite and impress the diners.

Eelke’s approach to cooking is rooted in his respect for the ingredients he uses. He believes that by treating each ingredient with care and attention, he can elevate its natural flavors and create something truly special. He draws inspiration from the Balinese landscape and culture, incorporating traditional techniques and local ingredients into his dishes.

Eelke also makes sure that Locavore’s menu reflects the seasonality of local ingredients, adjusting the dishes as necessary to showcase the best of what’s available. He believes that by using ingredients that are in season, he can create dishes that are not only delicious but also sustainable.

Leading the Locavore Team

Throughout the day, Eelke works closely with his team, overseeing the preparation and plating of each dish. He ensures that each plate is a work of art, showcasing the complex flavors and textures of the locally-sourced ingredients. He provides guidance and support to his team, encouraging them to experiment and push the boundaries of their creativity.

Eelke also ensures that Locavore Restaurant is a positive and nurturing work environment, where each team member is respected and supported. He believes that by fostering a culture of collaboration and respect, his team can create truly exceptional dining experiences for their guests.

As the day comes to a close, Eelke reflects on the day’s successes and challenges, always looking for ways to improve and innovate. For him, cooking is not just a job, but a way of life, and he is committed to sharing his passion for food with the world.

Signature Dishes and Must-Try Creations

Locavore Restaurant is known for its inventive and delicious food. Here are some of the signature dishes and must-try creations:

  • Keluwek Bread: This dish is made from a locally-sourced nut that is found only in Indonesia. The nut is ground into a paste and then mixed with flour to create a unique and flavourful bread. The bread is served with a side of whipped butter and a sprinkle of sea salt, making it a perfect starter for any meal.
  • Beef Tongue Burnt Ends: This dish is a take on a traditional American dish, incorporating Balinese flavours and techniques. The beef tongue is slow-cooked for hours, until it is tender and juicy. It is then coated in a sweet and spicy sauce, made from local spices and chillies. The dish is served with a side of pickled vegetables, adding a refreshing crunch to the rich and flavourful beef.
  • Grilled Eggplant: This dish is a vegetarian delight, featuring a perfectly grilled eggplant that is paired with a peanut butter emulsion and shaker corn. The peanut butter emulsion adds a rich and nutty flavour to the smoky eggplant, while the shaker corn adds a satisfying crunch. This dish is a must-try for anyone looking for a unique and flavourful vegetarian option.

The Story Behind Each Dish

At Locavore, each dish tells a story, reflecting the seasonality and local origin of the ingredients. The chefs at Locavore work closely with local farmers and producers to source the freshest and most sustainable ingredients, ensuring that each dish is a celebration of Indonesia’s culinary heritage and the environment that surrounds it.

For example, the Keluwek Bread is made from a nut that is found only in Indonesia. This nut has been used in Indonesian cuisine for centuries, and is an important part of the country’s culinary heritage. By featuring this nut in their bread, Locavore is helping to preserve and celebrate Indonesia’s unique culinary culture.

Similarly, the Beef Tongue Burnt Ends dish is a fusion of American and Balinese flavours and techniques. The slow-cooked beef tongue is a nod to traditional American barbecue, while the sweet and spicy sauce is made from local spices and chillies, adding a distinctly Balinese flavour to the dish.

Pairing Flavors and Textures

Locavore’s chefs carefully pair flavours and textures to create a range of unique and tantalizing dishes. Each dish is designed to highlight the natural flavours and textures of the ingredients, while also incorporating complementary flavours and textures.

For example, the Grilled Eggplant dish pairs the smoky flavour of the eggplant with the rich and nutty flavour of the peanut butter emulsion. The shaker corn adds a satisfying crunch to the dish, creating a perfect balance of flavours and textures.

Locavore also offers a range of unique cocktails and wines that are carefully curated to pair with each dish. The restaurant’s sommelier works closely with the chefs to create a complete and delicious dining experience, with each dish perfectly complementing the flavours and aromas of the accompanying beverage.

The Role of Presentation

At Locavore, presentation is just as important as taste. Each dish is meticulously plated, showcasing the various textures, colours, and flavours of the ingredients. The chefs at Locavore believe that the presentation of a dish is an important part of the dining experience, and they work hard to create visually stunning dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious.

Furthermore, Locavore’s artful plating reflects the environment that surrounds it. Bali is known for its natural beauty, and the restaurant’s dishes are designed to reflect this. The colours and textures of the ingredients are carefully arranged to create a visual feast that is both delicious and stunning.

Overall, Locavore is a must-visit destination for any food lover. The restaurant’s inventive and delicious dishes, paired with carefully curated cocktails and wines, and presented in a visually stunning way, make for a truly unforgettable dining experience.

The Final Bite

Exploring Ubud’s Locavore scene with Eelke Plasmeijer is a journey through the flavours and textures of Indonesia’s diverse and sustainable culinary culture.Locavore Restaurant, under Eelke’s leadership, has redefined what it means to be a chef, emphasizing the importance of ethical sourcing, seasonal ingredients, and innovative techniques.If you’re a foodie searching for an unforgettable culinary experience, look no further than Ubud’s Locavore Restaurant, where each bite is a celebration of Indonesia’s vibrant culinary heritage.