Conrad’s and Erwan’s COLLABORATIVE KINSHIP
Alila Ubud Executive Chef Erwan Adri Wijaya and F&B Manager Conrad O’Riordan have worked together for less than a year, but they—and the team they captain—have bonded.
CHEF ERWAN met with Conrad for the first time in 2015, immediately he was impressed by his soon-to-be colleague.
“He is young and it’s good for us. He has a lot of ideas for us to work on, improving the hotel,” Erwan said.
For Conrad, the first meeting was also the first time he tried Erwan’s dishes, which became the first bite of many.
“We met in Plantation restaurant where he had cooked a fantastic Royal Rijsttafel. It was my first experience of authentic Balinese cuisine. After that I was hooked,” Conrad confessed.
The duo have been working together since, sharing ideas as they create exquisite menus and excellent marketing strategies. “We share our different perspectives, combining various ingredients from Europe and Asia to create dishes and events,” said Erwan.
The relationship is a meeting of two rich backgrounds and cultures. Erwan, who is from Banyuwangi, East Java, learned Indonesian cooking from his mom and absorbed Western cooking skills working with chefs from all over the world in Bali.
Conrad was brought up in Cheltenham in Cotswolds, England, but he had also spent time living in Hong Kong and Thailand. His first job was, in his own words, a glorified pot washer; when he moved to the floor, he knew this career path was going to be a challenge, but he happily accepted.
Alila Ubud’s kitchen and front of house teams have a sibling-like relationship where they would argue, blame one another and then continue with service the next day like nothing ever happened.
“It’s a very healthy relationship between us. I’m a firm believer that great ideas are created from your experiences, from the people you meet, from the places you travel and from things you see, taste and smell. We collaborate to bring our ideas together to create a progressive and exciting dinning experience,” Conrad elaborate.
Erwan said that they were both hard workers, creative and always looking for different ideas to give best experience for their guests with unique service. What Erwan loves about working with Conrad was that they were able to have great teamwork, always ready to cover for each other in handling the whole F&B operations.
For Conrad, Erwan’s calmness is to be admired, but also teased. “I would love to see him smash a plate in anger now and again,” Conrad said with a big grin.
Desa Melinggih Kelod
Payangan, Gianyar, Bali
T: +62 361 975963