The best and most important Balinese cookbook you could ever buy
Meet Dean Keddell
Dean Keddell has two restaurants in Bali, Ginger Moon Canteen and Jackson Lily’s. Along with most businesses on the island of the Gods, both closed when COVID hit. Tourism has disintegrated and the vast majority of businesses have closed, many of them never to return. This pandemic has reaped havoc amongst families and communities, as well as costing the economy billions of dollars. There are now 145,000 unemployed Balinese trying to survive with no light at the end of a bleak tunnel. There is no Jobkeeper or Jobseeker for them.
Not a man to sit back and do nothing, Dean saw the devastation around him and took action.
Unsure what to do with staff while his two businesses were on lockdown, Dean decided to keep them busy by collecting local and family recipes from and produce a recipe book. Over 400 pages later, Dean has collected a quintessential list of unique Bali recipes from his staff, their families, local warungs and his restaurants and is using that as a fundraiser for five local charities.
“We are now producing a beautiful, large hardcover cookbook, Our Bali Your Bali (Bali Kita Bali Kamu), which will incorporate lots of colourful imagery, family and community stories, as well as local recipes and a collection from both my restaurant kitchens,” he said.
The cookbook is seeking funding by asking people to pre-order books from the crowd funder, Chuffed.org. The campaign is called Bali Needs Our Help and Dean is keen to ask everybody in Australia who has ever visited the island to support the cause by purchasing one of his books. The project aims to raise over $150,000 with proceeds (after costs) going to five local charities which have been badly hit.
Dean hopes to sell 5,000 cookbooks.
Here is the story behind the book and Dean’s love affair with Bali.
When did you first visit Bali?
In the ’90s as a tourist, I was living in Kuala Lumpur at the time and Bali was a nice getaway.
When did you realise you wanted to make Bali your home?
I’ve lived in Bali twice, the first time was in 2000 when I relaunched Gado Gado as one of Bali’s finest restaurants, one which garnered many accolades over the years. I returned in 2006 as I was asked to compete in a cooking trial for a very lucrative position with Ritz-Carlton, I’ve been here ever since.
What do you love about Bali?
The things I love most are my wife, my children and my extended family (the teams in my restaurants) – all from Bali.
Have you always been a chef?
I’ve worked in kitchens since I was 14 yrs old.
What do you love about Balinese food?
Food in general is my happy place, I’ve travelled the globe eating, cooking and sharing meals. The food of Bali has a strong community presence and sense of place, you know you’re in Bali when you are eating it.
COVID 19 has really hit the people of Bali hard. What was your experience of how the locals are coping?
No one is coping, no tourists mean no revenue and no jobs. Paradise is being paralysed by Pandemic Poverty.
When did you come up with the idea of a cookbook – but one that was a little different?
If you’re one of the millions of people who love Bali, you’ll know the warmth and sincerity behind those gorgeous Balinese smiles. Seeing those lovely warm smiles turned into expressions of desperation and fear was so sad. I knew that I couldn’t just sit by and see their lives and their world just collapse.
I had to do something so that parents could feed their families and people could meet their basic living expenses. Our Bali – Your Bali – Bali Kita – Bali Kamu is a unique book that records an especially trying time in the lives of the people of Bali. A book that is unparalleled in the way it captures Bali’s culinary richness and diversity set against such a desperate and needy backdrop.
Tell us some of the more moving experiences you had in the gathering of recipes?
This whole book is about moving experiences. One of my chefs gave me a recipe and cooked a dish that was not his favourite but his mother’s, he told me she passed away a year ago, he now makes this dish when he misses her, when he cooks it he feels her warmth.
Families are families wherever you are in the world, it was nice to be reminded of this. An open door, a warm welcome and honest smile, food cooked with love and a shared table, these things helped us all to forget just for a couple of hours one of the worst times in recent history.
What are five of some of your favourite recipes from the book?
Ayam Bakar Sere Lemo
You know a lot about Balinese cuisine but is there anything you learned during this experience that surprised you?
The more I learn the more I realise I don’t know, the list of surprises I had doing this book is a mile long.
Buying the book will raise money for locals. How exactly will the money be used?
I have selected the below charities; they will use the money as they see fit.
- Bali Children’s Foundation – helps thousands of local children to complete school and to find employment.
- Scholars of Sustenance – combatting the effects of COVID-19 by providing nutrition to those in need. Just $5 helps to feed 25 people.
- Friends of the National Parks Foundation – working to protect wildlife and their habitats, at the same time supporting local communities.
- East Bali Poverty Project – helping people to provide food packages and their families throughout this crisis.
- Bali Wise by R.O.L.E Foundation – empowering marginalized women through skills education, as a means to develop sustainable communities.
A small percentage of the profit will also go to the staff of Ginger Moon Canteen & Jackson Lily’s.
Message from Dean
Things in Bali are dire, please buy a copy of Our Bali – Your Bali. Bali Kita – Bali Kamu, and please also share this with everyone you know, by doing so you will help save lives. One Book. One Moment in time. One incredible way to show you care.
This is a link to the most recent ABC article; it explains in depth the current situation: