As the catalysts between local producers and discriminating diners, Ray and Eelke’s ingredient-driven menu celebrates the farmers, fishers and food artisans of Indonesia. Through these ongoing relationships, they ensure their guests the freshest of seasonal produce and ethically fed meat animals. And by working closely with local farmers, Locavore supports sustainability within its community.
Over 95% of the kitchen’s ingredients are Indonesian. Locally produced vegetables and herbs further reduce the huge carbon footprint of imported foods. The kitchen uses Kintamani coffee, hand-crafted sea salt from north Bali, spices from the mountains and fresh seafood from Eastern Indonesia. Eelke and Ray painstakingly source the animals they use in their kitchens, ensuring that they were free ranged, raised on wholesome natural foods and dispatched with respect. The chefs honour the animals they use with creative dishes in which very little is wasted.
The marriage of fresh, local ingredients with the inspired dishes of these prize-winning chefs has proved enormously popular with international diners who love both the concept and the food. Book at least two weeks in advance for a dinner table.
As Locavore continues grow, so does its outstanding team. Ray and Eelke’s human resource philosophy is to hire not on the basis of experience but for attitude, social skills and willingness to learn. They carefully train the employees, give them responsibility and let them fly. Locavore, Nusantara, Night Rooster, Locavore to Go and Local Parts are now served by over 60 dedicated and enthusiastic staff from all over the country.
Ray and Eelke are committed to environmental sustainability, both in and out of the kitchen. The iconic sage green paint and recycled wood of all outlets reflect that philosophy.
All edible kitchen waste is either fed to pigs or composted for the vegetable garden. Other waste is collected by Eco Bali Recycling, which ensures its proper disposal.
The roof of Locavore to Go is covered in passive solar panels which reduce electricity consumption by at least 50%.
Eelke Plasmeijer started his kitchen career at the age of 14 in a restaurant in his Dutch village. Working his way up through the ranks, he trained at hotel school and a Michelin Two Star restaurant in Amsterdam. Visiting a mentor in Jakarta in 2008, he was persuaded to take over as Head Chef at a city restaurant there. Ray applied as Sous Chef, the two hit it off and soon moved to Bali where they ended up running the kitchen at the Alila Ubud together.
Here they fine-tuned their philosophy of creating exciting tasting menus using primarily local ingredients. They quickly became recognized for their (at that time) unique approach to using only seasonal, local foods. Then they started thinking about leaving the hotel industry to open their own restaurant... and the rest is history.
Ray Adriansyah was born in Jakarta to Sumatran parents. His mother was an excellent cook and Ray grew up with a deep interest in traditional and international cuisines. While studying in New Zealand, he decided to quit the business school he was attending and switch to cooking. After graduating from culinary school in Christchurch he returned to Jakarta and obtained the position of Sous Chef under Eelke. They’ve been working together ever since.
"It was a gradual decision to use local ingredients. We started using a few at the beginning but our commitment continued to grow. I’m very proud to use ingredients that are not imported; I wish more Indonesian chefs would do so. There are so many benefits all round."
Adi Karmayasa, Restaurant Manager, was born in Bedulu village near Ubud. After graduating from tourist school in Denpasar he joined Alila Ubud for job training and was offered a position in 2004. Since then he worked his way up to manage the hotel’s Plantation Restaurant. He worked for 3 ½ years with Eelke and Ray and was invited to join the team when Locavore was conceived.
"Eelke and Ray are my mentors. They introduced me to fine dining and the concept of using local produce. As a Balinese I’m proud to be using local food because it supports our farmers and raises the standards of what they produce."
In 2016 Locavore launched its Jalan Jalan project, a culinary journey of discovery around Indonesia. Jalan Jalan is a mission to identify local foods and cooking techniques that are in danger of disappearing as food becomes increasingly industrialised. Since late 2016, small teams from the Locavore kitchen have been traveling all over the archipelago in search of regional specialties. They’ve brought back samples, ingredients and traditional recipes which are integrated into the restaurant’s iconic menus.
In mid 2017 sister restaurant Nusantara was opened to celebrate the great classic dishes of Indonesia. The Jalan Jalan teams from each restaurant travel together but now have different goals: Locavore is looking for traditional ingredients and Nusantara for traditional dishes.
Since late 2017, Locavore organises special quarterly events with Slow Food Bali featuring Indonesia’s regional cuisine with a twist. Five dishes from the Jalan Jalan project will be presented at every event, each in its classic form and also as a sophisticated, contemporary dish as interpreted by the chefs.
Wanaprasta is the creation of Australian organic farmer Jon Leonard and Balinese entrepreneur TRI SUTRISNA. The co-op provides Locavore’s pastured, chemical free chickens, heritage Bali pigs, tree ripened mango and unique cheeses through a network of organic mountain farmers.
Italian expat Bruno is the link with fishers in Lombok to provide Restaurant Locavore with wild-caught fish and shellfish from the pristine waters of Lombok and Sumbawa islands. Bruno ensures standard operating procedures in handling and hygiene from harvest to delivery.
PAK KOMANG, an organic farmer from Baturiti, has been producing vegetables, flowers and herbs for Eelke since the chef began working in Bali. Eelke supplied him with the seeds for more interesting produce, an excellent example of farmer and chef working together to raise the standards of local food.
Locavore uses a lot of pork, and PAK PARSA raises free range, chemical-free pigs for the chefs. This entrepreneurial farmer, who has worked at Alila Ubud since 2001, is interested in helping Locavore meet the challenge of becoming self-sufficient in ethical pork by providing a pig for the kitchen every two weeks.
Rice farmer pak Warsa made the transition from conventional to chemical free farming in 2007 when he became involved in a pilot organic rice growing project near Ubud. He’s been a leading producer for Locavore since the restaurant opened.
Owen supplies Locavore with fresh organic lamb from the lush plateau of Wanasobo, Central Java. A cross between Merino and local sheep, they thrive on the region's wild herbs and grasses, all fed by myriad streams and rivers. The rich, free range grazing results in a lengthy lambing season with the warmer lowlands producing their lambs first and the hardier uplands producing theirs later. This gives the Locavore kitchen access to the tasty lamb all year round.
Cyril's free-range duck farm is located at the base of Balinese volcanoes on wide-open natural spaces, surrounded by organic cultivation. Because they believe the most natural things are best, their ducks live outside, drink only non-chemical filtered water and eat grains, vegetables and fruits. They don't give them any preventive medicines or hormones.