Alanna Agnew: TRUE Frontierswoman
Alanna Agnew utilizes her vast experience to engineer Lunafood, a spectrum of culinary offerings oriented towards funked-up modernism.
THRIVING FOR over 20 years in a creative industry statistically dominated by the opposite gender, Alanna Agnew, head chef of Luna2, is a Food Frontierswoman by all accounts. The chef’s dual passion for food and travel have taken her into some of the most highly regarded kitchens in her native Australia and internationally, with stints in Laos, Singapore, Spain and Mexico.
Alanna credits working alongside successful chef-restaurateurs, such as the internationally-acclaimed Christine Manfield, for honing her cooking skills and building a sharp palate to ensure creativity is supported by a strong base of traditional techniques and knowledge.
But being a lady chef, Alanna needed sheer determination and an undying passion for her in addition to her vast know-how, in order to have come so far. “It was never an issue with gaining employment. But it is something you have to consider in each new position. People still look for the male figure as the kitchen leader. Working in a senior role and with different cultures means I’ve had to introduce gender equality standards that may not be the norm outside the workplace.”
In the end, Alanna’s success had nothing to do with gender. Looking at her shining career, the chef remarked, “It’s a tough industry, no matter what your gender is. Long hours, high pressure, intense scrutiny. So there is definitely a sense of achievement in knowing you have the self-discipline to stick with it. As a female you generally have to work a bit harder to prove you’re capable and committed. But if you gain their respect, other chefs will always have your back and you’ll forge lifelong friendships.”
After acquiring skills of the trade from around the world, Alanna settled in Asia, particularly a slice of paradise in the Island of the Gods, where she feels right at home. “Out of all the places I’ve been, Asia struck me as home. I love the friendliness of the people. Everything revolves around food, friends, and family. And I particularly love how there’s so much action on the streets, whereas back home, people live in their backyards.”
Tucked away in the quieter part of Seminyak is Luna2, a beachfront hotel with an ultra-fun modernist design, stellar service and an out-of-this-world dining experience. Responsible for the signature Lunafood experience throughout the hotel, Alanna takes her flavor-centric cooking philosophy and combines it with Luna2’s quirky attitude.
“Lunafood is based on the hotel’s core DNA of fun, futurism and funked up modernism. We do some classical European-style dishes which I’m trying to mold with a bit of local swing and an element of fun surprise.” A small example of this is a quick bite found at Space Rooftop Bar called Parmesan Cheese Puff, which is choux pastry with several different types of cheese stacked to resemble a toadstool topped with mustard mayo on top set up on a plate that is a bed of synthetic grass, or the flavorful Space Candy cocktail that comes in foil pouches, much like space-faring rations.
Another interesting creation from chef Alanna is Luna2’s concept of in-flight dining. “It’s based on airplane food. Now, I know, some guests flew maybe 18-hour flight to get here and the last thing they want to see is airplane food, but the way we do it is a little bit fun and quirky. People ‘wow’ after enjoying it.” Sure enough, the in-flight dining offering consist of a full menu of appetizers, main course, dessert, pastries, and sparkling wine, all neatly positioned on symmetrical, compact containers with proper silverware and a nice personal touch – a personalized Luna Airways boarding pass with your name on it.
Chef Alanna Agnew has been a crucial part of the Luna2 team since 2012, and her culinary flair has become a key element in the creativity and imagination behind many of the company’s Luna2’s signature Lunafood dishes. Now as Head Chef, Alanna is driving all culinary operations for the hotel’s intimate food & beverage outlets, including the re-launch of Luna2’s award-winning Orbit restaurant.
For aspiring female chefs out there looking to follow in her footsteps, Alannaoffered a few words of encouragement: “Know what you want out of your cooking career and go for it. Learn to run every section of the kitchen; don’t let the boys keep you off a section – push to get on it and stay until you master the section. Never give up learning. Keep disciplined, physically fit and well organized.”
Working closely with owner and Design Professional Melanie Hall, whose vision drive the creative style of Luna2, Head Chef Alanna and her team continuously strive to give the guests a dining experience that is not only flavor-driven, but visually surprising with a nostalgic element.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
Newly discovered ingredient/food?
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“Soulty Spice” chilli jam
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American Food Trucks
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Less protein, more extensive use of vegetables
Jalan Sarinande no. 20
Seminyak, Bali 80361
T: +62 361 730402