Zero waste mixologist
I take a culinary-approach to cocktail-making, with an ethos of “minimum waste, maximum flavour”.
Tell us your story – how did you get here?
Hospitality runs in the family. My dad was a cabin crew for Saudi Arabian airlines, and my mum was a waitress when they both met for the first time. I remember when I was little, I would go to my grandparents’ restaurant during the weekends and school holidays to deep-fry eggs, oil splattering on my hands. I recall clearly how busy it was during lunch and dinner rush hours – there was a sense of excitement about it.
Then, like all 18 year-old young male adults in Singapore, we had to serve the country. I was posted to Civil Defense where I was a fireman. Saving lives, I thought I’d found my true calling. I served for two and half years and went on to a private company working as Fireman and Safety officer. Although the intention was good, I felt something was missing.
That was until I met a very good friend – a chef who hated being in the kitchen! So, he decided to start a bar called Nektar. He told me to come by and have a drink. I went to Nektar the following week, and was blown away by what he was doing. That’s when I decided to quit my job and work for him. Fast forward to 10 years, and I’m still here doing what I love.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
The most recent achievement was to be able to launch Telu last year – a dedicated venue for zero waste bar workshops and Arak infusions at Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. It is an open-air design featuring 100% repurposed and upcycled materials, with an Arak Cellar where my next infusion matures in antique clay pots and upcycled glass bottles. Guests learn about the traditional uses and medicinal benefits of Arak (Balinese rice wine) and forage with me in the garden to pick favourite spices and herbs before getting behind the stove.
What impact have you made in Bali?
I take a culinary-approach to cocktail-making, with an ethos of “minimum waste, maximum flavour”. Sustainability is not just about banning plastic straws, though this has been in place at Four Seasons Resorts Bali for years as part of an extensive conservation program. Instead, I go back to ground zero and begin with how ingredients are sourced, packaged, stored and used.
I hand-pick botanicals, herbs and fruits from the Resort gardens, and I work with like-minded partners. I have introduced new standards in operating procedures for the bar team at Sundara to reduce wastage – even minimising ice cubes for shaken-style cocktails. I have created a dozen “Zero Waste” cocktails for Sundara’s menu, such as Made’s Margarita, which uses every part of a local Kintamani orange. Any rind, flesh or juice left over goes to the kitchen where I spend hours each week personally cooking and perfecting ingredients for my cocktails.
In addition, I have taken a leading role in Bali’s beverage industry, sharing the sustainable bartending guidelines with peers from other hotels, bars and restaurants at industry events.
What does 2022 look like for you?
Big things are in the works at the moment, but one thing we can tell you for sure is, come this summer. We will be launching Telu from its current cocktail workshop space into a fully operated bar. So, stay tuned. We are looking forward to it!
What do you love most about Bali?
I have been here for nine years now. I love the unpredictability of Bali, and how everything is just beautiful on its own – the culture, people, nature and the food too.
What’s your first and last drink of the day?
The first and last drink would be Seltzer with a couple dashes of Angostura bitter… and many in between.
Who is your Local Legend and why?
Shah Dillon. He has made a massive impact on Bali’s bar scene.