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Chef Dom Hammond’s Healing Journey Through Food

Chef Dom Hammond’s Healing Journey Through Food

Sheila Manalac
12 July 2023

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Let’s meet at Tanaman, the otherworldly venue that puts sustainable and plant-based food on its center stage—with Chef Dom leading the kitchen lab.

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Coming back from her European foray, Dom Hammond was all smiles as she passionately shared her food adventures in unique destinations. True to her spirit, the African-Australian chef is in constant pursuit of learning and discovering, as she pushes the boundaries of plant-based food by finding different flavors, using unique plant-based ingredients, and elevating each dish with creative preparation methods.

Desa Potato Head’s Tanaman offers the perfect space to do so. It’s a futuristic spaceship with walls set in deep blue. This otherworldly space seems to have landed in the prime Seminyak spot, inviting adventurous diners to discover hearty plant-based dishes, minus the animal produce, plus the zero-waste drive that allows for a more conscious epicurean experience. Who needs OceanGate when you can take a trip to Tanaman? A place that takes you deep into the journey of plant-based, zero-waste food. 

“Tanaman is not simply a space. It allows for experimentation, exploration, innovation, and creativity. It’s a restaurant that focuses on plants, produce, and creating different flavors.”

Dom’s passion for plant-based and conscious eating is quite infectious. Not one to force her beliefs on anyone, she simply creates dishes that are delicious, filling, and authentic to her own roots. Dom wasn’t a plant-based advocate all her life. In fact, it’ll be her seventh year as a vegan, coming a long way from her days in Melbourne, immersed in the frenzied world of fashion and film.

“I was never really trained as a chef. I was in the fashion industry for 10 years before I had a lifestyle change. After being in that industry for so long, I found that my mental health suffered,” adding that the fashion industry can be ‘superficial’ and this led her into a depressive state where her overall health took a downward toll.

The pivotal point that triggered her health journey was something her then-partner had said at that time. 

“If you can’t love others, you can’t love yourself.” 

The wisdom behind these words had inadvertently sent her into her health journey, and started her “organic journey.” She began her healing through a complete lifestyle change—working with personal trainers, coaches, and even shamans to guide her. She continued to work on herself and began viewing “plants and food as medicine.”

“In 9 months, I was able to lose 45 kilos. But it wasn’t just the weight loss. I was beaming and I felt really good. I achieved so much from being plant-based, which is why I am so passionate about it because I have this authentic experience that I want to share with everyone.”

Through her personal journey, she was able to discover her love for plant-based food. As she was cooking for herself to heal, she used her creative genius to come up with excellent plant-based dishes. Six years later, after moving from Melbourne to Perth, and then to Bali, she began consulting for some of Bali’s favorite plant-based restaurants such as Good Mantra, Kynd Community, Nalu Bowls, Peloton Supershop, Drifter, Tyger, and Alive Wholefoods.

When she joined Tanaman in October 2021, she had her first glimpse into zero-waste, seemingly expanding her healing journey not only for herself and her food creations, but now to the source—mother nature.

“It was a fun transition being able to experiment with tropical fruits and vegetables. We also aim for our ingredients to be as seasonal, fresh, and local as possible.”

Chef Dom describes Tanaman dishes as “casual and fun that are delicious and wholesome.” She attributes this style of cooking to her African and Australian roots. Growing up in a massive family, her home smelled of good food. Her family housed international students, so their front door was never locked, and people from different backgrounds—different religions, races, and cultures — just came in and out of their home. 

“I think my food is a fusion of my life experience as a whole. It’s a collection of people that I’ve met. Which is why I don’t want to put labels on anything. I am open-minded and all I want is to create great food that everyone can enjoy.”

She begins conceptualizing different dishes and menus by pouring her thoughts into her visual diary, usually inspired by sounds, smells, and sights around her, and putting these all together to create thematic menus that represent ocean, fire, and other elements that inspire her. Now, Tanaman has introduced their Ala-carte menu—a perfect way for diners to share different items.

Chef Dom has also further developed the Flavor Library, a collection of flavors of different textures coming from the flesh, skin, seeds, pip of fruits, and vegetables, parts of the plant produce that would usually go to waste. 

This makes Tanaman unique from other plant-based venues—in constant pursuit of innovating the Flavor Library, using whole food products, and being mindful in its creation of dishes. Some of Chef Dom’s favorite flavors are: pickle dust, shallot powder, tomato skin powder, all chili oils, and seaweed skin.

The plant-based chef is currently busy conceptualizing and developing new dishes which are set to be released by the end of July. Some of her favorite dishes are most nostalgic to her roots, such as the mushroom sate that reminds her of Melbourne’s after-party go-to kebab, or fish and chips that also reminds her of home. 

Ready to take a journey into plant-based aboard the ultra-modern venue? Let Chef Dom and her team show you a truly sublime journey at Tanaman.

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