The slow-food movement has made its way to the Chedi Club Tanah Gajah Ubud, where it’s “crawled almost to a standstill.” The resort is now plating lunch and dinner fare sourced largely from the grounds of the resort.
While farm-to-table movements are on the rise around the world, Chef Khairudin “Dean” Nor thought he might do the movement one better by cutting out the costs of transportation almost entirely. The resort is offering lunch and dinner options every Monday and Thursday with ingredients harvested within 100 meters of the table chef Dean sets: The catfish are caught from a pond behind the garden, the yams grow behind that villa over there and the cinnamon was ground from bark on a tree by the pool.
The two-and-a-half-hour experience is equal parts horticultural survey, food prep and dining.
The experience begins with a fortifying drink and a wade into the organic garden where the chef holds court among citronella, various basils, curry leaves and Vietnamese coriander. Chef Dean explains the story behind each plant, its properties, how it grows, what it’s used for, when to harvest and other little-known oddities (e.g. you can eat the flower of starfruit).
Chef Dean prepares dinner in a purpose-built pagoda covered in Thunbergia creepers and fairy lights that seats six and looks out over the rice paddies.
The menu varies but some of the dishes include mushroom chawanmushi (an egg custard dish found in Japan) with pomelo, a soup of young mango wrapped in chives with a homemade stock with Vietnamese coriander and kombu, basil gelato, eggplant rolls with purple yam and topped with edible weeds.
Lunch includes a garden tour and a three-course meal, while dinner includes fives courses, a pre-dinner cocktail and farewell gift. The Farm to Table package can accommodate a maximum of six people.