Conrad Bali Appoints New Executive Chef and Launches Scenographic Cooking Classes
The five-star luxury resort reaffirms its commitment to nurturing local talent with the appointment of a Balinese Executive Chef, while its new immersive cooking experiences celebrate the island’s unique culinary heritage
Conrad Bali recently announced that Balinese chef, I Made Semawan, will lead its culinary team as Executive Chef, demonstrating the resort’s dedication to developing local talent. Since joining Conrad Bali as Pastry Chef in 2012 and then being promoted to Executive Sous Chef in 2021, Semawan has shown unwavering commitment to gastronomic excellence, purposeful service, and enriching guest experiences. Now, as Executive Chef, he will spearhead the five-star resort’s new era of celebrating Bali’s unique food traditions and Indonesia’s extraordinary culinary diversity.
Prior to becoming part of the Conrad Bali team, Chef Semawan began honing his skills in other highly dynamic hospitality environments, from the tropical resort paradise of the Maldives to the Chinese megacity of Nanjing to the Middle Eastern melting pot of Dubai. His international experience — gained in the kitchens of luxury resorts including Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Oman and Fairmont Dubai — contributes greatly to his expertise and flair for authentic flavors, while his affinity with pastry has instilled him with an aptitude for precision and extreme attention to detail.
Among Conrad Bali’s eclectic range of dining venues, Chef Semawan is most excited about the menu at Suku, which invites guests to experience dishes from across the Indonesian archipelago. “I empower my team to cook the dishes of their homelands and celebrate their regional identities,” he says. “I love it when my team is proud of their menu creations, and of making something special for our guests. My aim
is to develop my team members’ strengths so they can recognize the full potential of both their culinary and leadership skill sets.”
To awaken guests’ passion for Balinese culinary traditions, and enable them to connect with lesser-known destinations and the local communities that call them home, Conrad Bali is expanding its Signature Sensory Odysseys program to include Scenographic Cooking Classes. Led by the resort’s culinary team, guests will learn how to make a local dish — such as a traditional Balinese soup made from fresh banana trunk, Balinese spices and free-range chicken; or sauteed tui leaf, a vegan villager’s dish tempered with garlic, shallots, and coconut milk — and embark on one of two immersive experiences that have been designed to encourage learning through local interaction. These include a visit to a traditional sea salt farm in Amed on the island’s northeast coast to learn the ancient art of salt panning which had established itself as a geographical indication (GI) under the Indonesian-Swiss Intellectual Property Project (ISIP); or a guided trip to Astungkara Way, an organic farm just east of Ubud that supports regenerative agriculture and celebrates local agricultural wisdom.
During the visit to the salt farmers’ cooperative in Amed, guests can look forward to tasting the area’s unique salt, produced with techniques passed down through generations since 1578 AD. Once part of offerings to royalty of the Karangasem kingdom, Amed salt is now recognized by experts as being of extremely high quality and is one of Bali’s treasured natural products. Meanwhile, at Astungkara Way’s sprawling fields and gardens in the verdant village of Abiansemal, guests are invited to reconnect with nature while learning about permaculture principles used to produce nourishing food. The Scenographic Cooking Classes and entire Signature Sensory Odysseys program are part of Conrad Bali’s commitment to supporting local communities and creating purposeful experiences for guests interested in regenerative travel.
With his expert knowledge of local dishes and the island’s time-honored cooking methods, Chef Semawan has played an instrumental role in developing the Scenographic Cooking Classes. “Chef Semawan’s exceptional skills, passion for authentic dining experiences, and dedication to supporting the individual talents of his team members have been recognized across the board,” says Kevin Girard, General Manager of Conrad Bali. “It is an honor to have a homegrown talent like Chef Semawan leading our team.”
Girard explains that Conrad Bali’s Scenographic Cooking Classes take their name from the term “scenography”, which is the practice of crafting specific atmospheres to generate a sense of place. “By igniting each of the five senses and opening a window into the lives of those who work tirelessly to put the best of Bali’s produce on the table, our curated experiences encourage guests to connect with their chosen destinations purposefully and authentically,” concludes Girard.