Recipes From The Heart

By Eve Tedja

Our Bali – Your Bali by chef Dean Keddell is a fundraising cookbook to help Bali’s most vulnerable communities. Here’s how you can contribute.

There was nothing that chef-owner Dean Keddell could do in March last year when almost overnight, visitors to the island of Bali left in a great rush. Both of his restaurants, Ginger Moon Canteen and Jackson Lily’s went from being packed day and night to having zero guests. Both modern Asian restaurants, situated in the previously lively Seminyak’s main streets, catered mainly to international visitors.

“The current situation is very sad. Things are getting harder, not easier. We reopened in the middle of December last year but closed again this March. Out of a team of 130, only 10 staff are currently being paid to work for a couple of hours a week. Some of them tried making a go of it by setting up small stalls but as time goes by, their businesses are closing. There is a lot of people selling but not so many are buying,” says Keddell.

He is not the only business owner who has suffered, and his staff are not the only workers who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. By July 2021, almost 79,000 workers in Bali have been laid off. Many have worked in the hospitality and F&B industry.

Keddell wanted to help his team and the community to get through the difficult times. Before the pandemic, he had been planning to write a cookbook. But, he didn’t want it to be just any other cookbook. So together with his team, he created Our Bali – Your Bali. “The cookbook provides a glossary of food-related memories and responses from the perspective of the Balinese people I work with, live with, and endure the pandemic with. It’s a way that we can all connect to an island that has played a part in so many of our lives and plays a part in feeding those who need it the most,” wrote Keddell in the book’s foreword.

The 400-page cookbook is a trip and a love letter to the island. Apart from signature dishes from Ginger Moon and Jackson Lily’s, there are everyone’s favourite Balinese dishes such as Sate Lilit, Ayam Betutu and Laklak. Twelve family recipes from Keddell’s restaurant staff are featured prominently along with stunning images and fascinating stories from the island.

Keddell also features 14 street food warungs and his own take on their recipes that frequent visitors of Bali must have enjoyed at some point or the other. From an iconic chicken curry in Kerobokan intersection to Double Six Beach’s popular meatballs from the blue cart, rediscover Bali and its culinary treasures through this book.

However, there is more to the book than just food stories. Our Bali – Your Bali is created to financially support Bali’s five respected organisations and the staff of both restaurants during this challenging time. “So far, we have sold 4,800 books and raised Rp380,000,000. One hundred percent of the profits goes to Bali Children’s Foundation, East Bali Poverty Project, Scholars of Sustenance (SOS), Friends of the National Parks Foundation, Bali Wise by R.O.L.E Foundation, and the staff of Ginger Moon and Jackson Lily’s,” says Keddell.

From ensuring that nobody goes hungry in Bali by building soup kitchens and distributing food to providing education in Bali’s remote villages and small islands, the organisations’ good work have been vital in assisting the island’s most vulnerable communities.

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