What You Need To Know About About Australian Chef Luke Macleod

Tastemakers

December 17, 2016 | BY Joanna Lam

The Bali-based chef shares his favourite food memory, why quality local ingredients matter, and his perfect day of eating in Bali.

While it makes perfect sense for an Australian to end up on the sunny shores of Bali, Luke Macleod’s story goes beyond the ordinary. The chef’s career began in France—from not knowing how to speak a word in French to competing against celebrity chef Sophie Dudemaine on TV in France, Macleod’s culinary path has proved to be unconventional.

Macleod was first brought to Asia when he was offered a chance to work with renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire in Hong Kong. He washed up in Seminyak in February 2014 to take the role of executive chef of The Legian Bali. When he is not cooking up a storm in the luxury resort’s kitchen, Macleod is mostly spotted surfing in the Indian Ocean at dawn, or discovering new ingredients in the local markets.

We caught up with the esteemed chef as he shared his most memorable meal, and his favourite dining spots on the tropical island of Bali.

When I’m in search of inspiration, I head to a market or a farm, discover a new ingredient, or cook for a group of friends or family.

Our sourcing of local ingredients is what directs my menu. Bali has amazing produce and some passionate farmers. Using local is supporting your local community; it’s better for the environment as there is less transport, local foods are fresher and your body will get more vitamins. 

“Ethical” is a big word for food and is used more and more as people are starting to take food more seriously. We begin to see how a good or bad diet can make a difference.

For me I believe that as chefs, we need to offer guests ingredients that have been treated with care, preferably from a quality farm or supplier that has been inspected. I want to ensure that we are looking after our guest’s palate as well as their health.  

My wife, children and I go to the organic market at Samadi at Echo beach each Sunday morning. 

My first job in Asia was as a sous chef for Pierre Gagnaire at the Mandarin Oriental.  The position was offered over a simple conversation with him whilst I was dining with my chef Alexandre Bourdas in Gagnaire’s restaurant one night after we had taken part in a cooking demonstration for a food festival in Paris. 

Alexandre Bourdas’ white truffle menu was one of my most memorable meals ever.  My new position was decided there and then, three weeks later my wife, newly born daughter and I were on a plane to Hong Kong!

During my time in Hong Kong, I enjoyed strolling around the wet markets in Tsuen Wan and discovering the Cantonese cuisine—dim sum, congee and everything in between.

My perfect day of eating in Bali starts with a strong cup of coffee at my place at 5:15 am with my Bantiran coffee blend exclusively from Pak Gede Dharmawan’s village.  My go-to breakfast spot after my dawn surf sessions is Crate restaurant in Batu Bolong. As for lunch, I like to please my palate with the daily menu at Warung Goûthé (French Warung) in Canggu.

Sunsets in Bali are best spent whilst sipping cocktails on the balcony of Single Fins, where you can overlook the sweeping views of Uluwatu. Afterward I would drive up to Ubud for a tasting menu at Locavore, a modern European restaurant up on the mountains that is celebrated for its use of hyper-local ingredients.

Photos:  The Legian Bali

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