Chef-owner of Mauri and Bonito Fish Bar
Everything I’ve done - and I still do - is always connected to my passion for cooking and taking care of my team and my customers.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
It’s a pretty long story! To make it short, I was born in the restaurant business – my parents owned restaurants in Belgium and Italy but I initially wanted to be a professional cyclist. After years competing in the biggest races in Italy, I decided that it was not what I was looking for and started to help out in my parents’ restaurants. I then worked in several countries, gaining a lot of different experience in various restaurants. After a few years in Monaco working at Le Meridien Beach Plaza, I then moved to Asia where I joined The Ritz Carlton in China and Bali. About four years ago, I decided it was time to have my own company, and that’s when I opened Mauri Restaurant and then Bonito Fish Bar. Everything I’ve done – and I still do – is always connected to my passion for cooking and taking care of my team and my customers.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
My biggest accomplishment so far is to have remained open during the past two crazy years of a pandemic, in a shutdown island that usually relies 80% on international tourism.
We navigated through Covid without releasing anyone from the team – we had to be agile and did everything possible to continue paying salaries as much as we could to all our team members. Today, everyone is still with our company, and that makes me very proud. Opening our second restaurant, Bonito Fish Bar, during a pandemic is also quite an accomplishment.
What impact have you made in Bali?
I have spent 12 years working in prestigious hotels in Bali (Bulgari and Ritz Carlton-Mandapa), followed by opening my own restaurant – it has meant that I have met and worked with so many great people. I always try to grow my team into amazing hoteliers and restaurant talents, offering a lot of guidance and sharing the skills that I have acquired throughout my career. Giving them the opportunity to grow on their own, and to give them the chance to travel around Indonesia and beyond, I feel super proud when I see them become leaders themselves.
What does 2022 look like for you?
After the past two years I have unfortunately learned the lesson that we always have to be focused on the business and that everything can change from one second to the next. We still have a long way to go until things get back to a pre-pandemic situation, and we don’t even really know if things will ever be “normal” like before. Nevertheless, we need to go on and we are now working on consulting services and have a few interesting projects lined up.
What do you love most about Bali?
Its people and the culture of Bali. There is no other place like it and I am deeply in love with this island.
If you could choose your last ever meal, what would it be?
It would probably be a big plate of simple pasta with seafood, as that’s what unearths some great childhood memories and nostalgic emotions.
Who is your Local Legend and why?
I don’t have one in particular but I can name a few Local Legends, like Doudou from Metis Restaurant, Chris Salan from Mozaic, and Bali’s ‘street food chef’ Will Merick. They were the pioneers that introduced gastronomy in stand-alone restaurants in Bali, creating a “foodie” path for which we are now all following. They made Bali’s restaurant scene what it is today. They all had fantastic careers and made an incredible impact on everyone. I really look up to them.
There is also a group of Executive Chefs from five-star luxury hotels that created a culinary chef association called the Bali Culinary Professional Indonesia (BCPI) that helped nurture local talents and take them to international culinary competitions such as the Bocuse d’Or and the Pastry World Cup. They are proudly raising the Indonesian flag worldwide.