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Keeping It Classic at Big Fish Grill

Keeping It Classic at Big Fish Grill

Sheila Manalac
27 February 2023


It’s a sizzling comeback for The Stones - Legian’s signature restaurant, Big Fish Grill, serving succulent grilled fare from the magnificent meat duo: Chef Danny and the ‘Josper’.


Imagine this: “A nice piece of meat, seasoned just right, with some cracked pepper, proper salt, cooking that good piece of meat over flame, charcoal, and wood.”

Big Fish Grill’s Executive Chef Daniel “Danny” Chaney illustrates a perfectly cooked piece of meat, preserving its flavors, and serving it at its best. Meat is gifted with its own flavors, and Chef Danny knows how to bring out the best in every piece of meat using the simplest and oldest cooking method — grilling over flame. 

Nothing too fancy or elaborate, “it’s simple, straightforward, and classic” as how he describes the food they serve in the newly reopened Big Fish Grill, the signature restaurant of The Stones – Legian, Bali – A Marriott  Autograph Collection Hotel.

After a long break, Big Fish Grill is ready to welcome guests—family, friends, couples, and colleagues, from different places and backgrounds—to indulge in deliciously prepared dishes made with the finest ingredients, grilled in the magnificent cooking machine  called the ‘Josper,’ known as “an elegant combination of grill and oven in one unit.” 

As the maestro of Big Fish Grill’s kitchen orchestra, with the ‘Josper’ as his chosen instrument, Chef Danny hopes that guests can “feel at home, relaxed, enjoy good food with quality ingredients.” 

Indeed, Big Fish Grill dons an unassuming dining room with indoor and outdoor seating, intimately lighted, unfussy and simple, with warm welcoming service from the smiling staff.

With over 20 years of culinary experience, along with his Chef of the Year title in Hong Kong by Foodie Magazine in 2013, isn’t Chef Danny supposed to braise, stew, cure, flambe, and sous vide, his meat as most acclaimed chefs do? 

Not this chef. 

A native of Southern California, with an Italian-American mother and a meat-loving father, Chef Danny grew up with simple and hearty food, often shared with family and friends in his household. 

“I grew up with food around the house. My mom was a really good cook, so food was a very big part of my upbringing. There was always food on the table, whether we were watching TV or during family gatherings. My mom would always have a crockpot in the corner of the kitchen of meatballs and tomato sauce.” 

He recalled growing up with a lot of Mexican food stalls in California, Italian food (his mom’s influence), and steaks (his dad was obsessed with steaks), which were culinary staples as a child. 

But being a chef was not in the mind of young Danny. It was only at 14 that he realized he wanted to be a chef. Working a part-time job in the kitchen of a local restaurant, washing dishes, chopping vegetables, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beers with other kitchen staff… he fell in love.

After graduating early from high school with no plans of going to college, 16-year-old Danny set out to pursue a culinary career. “I just wanted to cook!” And so he did, working full-time in the kitchen. 

With the insistence of his father, he went to culinary school shortly thereafter, where he graduated from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

The young and ambitious Danny then moved to Florida at the age of 20, where he worked in some of the busiest restaurants. He worked at the Beachview Steakhouse, and was assigned in the grilling station with 250-300 covers a night.

“I was assigned to one of the most important stations, and I was grilling all night. Tickets would come rushing in, and I was cooking big chunks of meat over charcoal, and it was like I had a sixth sense, it came extremely natural to me.” 

It was then that this meat man was born.

Setting out an international culinary career, he then traveled all the way to Bermuda to work at the luxurious Relais and Chateaux under the helm of then executive chef Justin Leboe, who molded Chef Danny’s cooking style and culinary career.

“I think every chef has a mentor or someone who has really shaped the way they view food and how they cook it, and this gentleman is the chef by the name of Justin Leboe. He was a maniac. A maniac artist who would drive you insane in the pursuit of excellence.” 

Still consistent with his humble beginnings in the culinary world, Chef Danny started out as a commis chef in the kitchen, and he worked his way up to sous chef at the Relais and Chateaux.

After 2 years, he moved to Hong Kong at 24, where he had a permanent residency after living there for 8 years. He worked at the prestigious The American Club, before he was recruited by Maximal Concepts, a lifestyle, restaurant, and hospitality brand, where he became the first executive chef of Maximal Concepts’ first restaurant, Blue Butchers, a trendy dry steakhouse restaurant in Central Hong Kong. 

While with Maximal Concepts, he also helped design and open Limewood, oversaw the restaurant Brickhouse, a Mexican tapas bar, and helped open the franchise burger joint, Double D Burger.

A chef by profession, an explorer by passion, and a surfer by heart, Chef Danny flew in and out of Bali to ride the waves in Seminyak and Canggu, back when there were hardly any restaurants in those now busy areas. After a long ride in Hong Kong, he eventually moved to Bali in 2015 at 32, as the founder and Culinary Director of Boy’N’Cow. 

In 2018 he became the executive chef of the Aryaduta Hotel before he moved to St Lucia, a luxury beach resort by Viceroy in the Caribbean. He was then contacted by the ultra-luxurious Rosewood Hotel in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, where he oversaw 7 of their restaurants, including CUTS, the high-end steak and seafood restaurant of Rosewood Phnom Penh.

“It was such an amazing experience to work with the highest level of luxury, ingredients, and culture. They gave me the freedom as a chef, and provided top-quality ingredients flown from all over the world.”

As Bali opened up in 2022, Chef Danny returned as the Executive Chef for The Stones, and in the course of six months, he has rewritten the menu for the signature restaurant, Big Fish Grill, currently overseeing numerous banquets, and working on the two other food and beverage outlets at the upbeat Kuta hotel.

He also brought in the ‘Josper,’ the Spanish-made, all-charcoal (no gas!) grilling equipment that has ventilators at the top and bottom that allows the chef to regulate the heat and manipulate cooking. Chef Danny spent a year mastering his cooking skills using the ‘Josper,’ and now, he serves steaks, meats, seafood, and vegetables cooked in this wondrous machine. 

It’s always easier to fire up the stove and lay out a pan, perhaps more “artistic” to place a piece of meat in a bag, but Chef Danny has an affinity not only for meats but cooking with charcoal and fire. What makes it so special?  

“It’s the smoke!” referring to the smoky flavor that comes with cooking with charcoal, seasoned with two to three ingredients, and cooked to perfection. It’s simple—not in an easy or dumb way—but it’s a few ingredients of the highest and freshest quality, combined in a straightforward way to make a truly excellent dish.

The clean, simple, unassuming integrity of charcoal and fire is the classic approach guests can find at Big Fish Grill, with Chef Danny as the composer and conductor of the music of food, with the Josper as his main instrument, and the kitchen staff as the orchestra. 

“It’s the classic way of cooking that people often forget. Some people try to do too much with food, but I am all about keeping things simple. I’ve tried cooking with different methods, but cooking with charcoal and fire is still classic.”

Some of the dishes he is proud of are the Burrata Cheese with Fire Roasted Pepper Puree, Crab Cakes with Charred Corn Relish, Marinated Free Range Half Chicken, the Australian Grain Fed Black Angus Tenderloin, and the Stockyard Wagyu Striploin with a marble score of 8+.

Now, let the vision of a juicy charcoal-grilled steak come to fruition. While in Bali, relax and dine at Big Fish Grill—serving classic comfort food that makes you feel at home.

Big Fish Grill

The Stones Hotel – Legian Bali, Autograph Collection
Jl. Raya Pantai Kuta, Banjar Legian Kelod, Legian Bali, Legian, Kuta, Badung Regency, Bali 80361

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