KU DE TA TOP 5
KU DE TA, Bali’s iconic dining destination for the past decade, would like to introduce you to their latest superstar team who are behind the venue’s phenomenal dining experience. A team of 3 renowned chefs, together with a talented mixologist and dedicated restaurant manager, work tirelessly to manage 350 employees to ensure that each and every one of KU DE TA’s 1000 daily visitors leaves with a memorable experience. These personalities have been highly trained at some of the best restaurants and hotels around the world and constitute an amazing collective pool of talent under one roof, a rarity in Bali’s dining scene.
Together with KU DE TA’s 350 employees, the team includes:
Corporate Executive Chef
New Zealander Chef Phillip Davenport’s insatiable passion for food started atan early age when a Japanese friend’s mother prepared bento boxes for
him, opening his mind and taste buds to different foods and flavors from the rest of the world. After a few days working the line at a friend’s restaurant in Wellington, he found his calling as a professional chef. He is now on a mission to transform one of the world’s most iconic lifestyle destinations into a serious foodie mecca.
Chef Phil was most notably Executive Chef of Hugo's, Sydney, one of the city's most popular restaurants, for three and a half years. He was instrumental in Hugo’s receipt of four Chef's Hat awards between 1998 and 2002. He then moved on to open Aura, an exclusive private members' supper club in Mayfair, London, which catered to London's elite. After returning to Australia, he worked with fellow chefs Manu Feildel at Bilson’s and Will Meyrick at Jimmy Liks, and helped other friends open Hugo’s Bar Pizza. This was followed by a post in the Caribbean, where Chef Phil set up a new resort, Hermitage Bay Hotel in Antigua.
Bringing the global influences he learnt from his previous experiences to KU DE TA as its Corporate Executive Chef, Phil is committed to executing each dish at the highest level, even with more than 1000 seats filled every night. He puts his heart and soul into KU DE TA, focusing on quality, attention to detail and consistency. Aiming to deliver good, honest food with a twist, Chef Phil uses modern techniques and the best ingredients from the island of Bali and around the world. He is especially passionate in his support for local farmers and suppliers in Bali - 95% of all vegetables and fruits used in KU DE TA are sourced from 50 farms across Bali and almost all of the restaurant’s seafood is local.
Chef Phil’s passion for food does not stop in the kitchen – when he travels, he continues to be inspired by eating in some of the best restaurants around the world. In his spare time he swims, kick boxes and rock climbs.
Benjamin James Cross
Hailing from the small village of Eltham, 30 minutes outside Byron Bay, Chef Benjamin began his career at the award winning ‘Rae’s on Watego’s’, Byron Bay. It was this first job that exposed him to the world of restaurant cooking www.kudeta.net and where he learned to love a range of cuisines which had been previously unfamiliar to him. Since then he has travelled around the world and worked for a number of prestigious restaurants to feed his love for different kinds of cuisines.
Chef Benjamin has most notably honed his skills in the kitchens of household names such as Neil Perry as part of the re-opening team of XO and as Executive Sous Chef of Rockpool, Tom Colicchio at Craft in New York and Santi Santamaria at his three Michelin star restaurant, Can Fabes in Sant Celoni. In August 2007, he came to KU DE TA to assist Corporate Executive Chef Phil Davenport during a hectic high season. While it was a temporary posting, he fell in love with Bali and returned in May 2008 to assume his present position as Executive Chef at KU DE TA Seminyak.
Chef Benjamin draws inspiration from immersing himself in Bali’s food culture and continues to be inspired by the produce which KU DE TA sources locally for its extensive menu. At KU DE TA, he has been given a greater freedom to express and share his own culinary ideas with Chef Phil Davenport and the rest of the kitchen team, which he admits is any chef’s dream job. He loves the challenge of cooking for 1000-1500 people on a daily basis and is continuously collaborating on re-inventing menus for different dining programs and concepts at KU DE TA. In addition to this, he also assists in training a much loved 100-strong local kitchen staff in new techniques, styles and cuisines from his travels around the world.
Chef Benjamin believes that the experience guests receive at KU DE TA from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they walk out is different from anywhere else in the world. At KU DE TA, he takes great pride in being able to share in the creation of that memorable dining experience and hopes that diners’ palates will be excited by the food he lovingly serves.
Executive Pastry Chef
Originally from Port Washington, NY, Chef Will Goldfarb discovered his love for cooking when he worked as a waiter while attending Duke University. His passion for cooking developed rapidly and he decided to opt out of entering into law school to pursue a professional career in the field of pastry.
Since then, Chef Will has not looked back. Widely known as the „Golden Boy‟ of pastry, he has worked in the kitchens of famous names such as Ferran Adria, Tetsuya Wakuda, Paul Liebrandt and Morimoto. In 2006, he ventured out on his own to open the critically acclaimed Room 4 Dessert in New York which offered an avant garde menu of edible dessert cocktails, plated desserts and wine pairings.
Highly regarded by industry professionals and peers alike, Chef Will was named as one of the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America by Pastry Art and Design. He also received the Starchef “Rising Star” award and earned a James Beard nomination for Best Pastry Chef in America. In addition to this, he was regarded in Ferran Adria‟s recent book, Food for Art, Art for Food, as one of the world‟s leading modern chefs and was identified in Lisa Abend‟s book, The Sorcerer’s Apprentices, as one of the finest chefs in the world to pass through the El Bulli kitchen.
Considered both an expert and a revolutionary in his field, Chef Will has been invited around the world to lecture on dessert design. He notably developed WillPowder, an online specialty pastry product company which carries his own line of specialty powders and select natural ingredients that enhances the purest flavor in pastry and allows for the creation of differing textures and flavors in dishes. Together with New York University‟s Chemistry and Food Studies Department, he also founded The Experimental Cuisine Collective, an interdisciplinary network at the nexus of food, science, and social network.
Now residing in Bali, he directs the pastry program at KU DE TA, Seminyak. He brings with him a fanatical attention to detail and aesthetics, a boundless curiosity in developing new techniques and interest in the purity of flavours in his dishes. His brand of cuisine blends the finest elements of cutting edge gastronomy with traditional techniques and flavours.
At KU DE TA, Chef Will oversees a team of 12 to complement KU DE TA‟s modern global cuisine, ensuring a seamless transition from Corporate Executive Chef Phil Davenport's menu while blending his innovative techniques into delicious and imaginative preparations of local and sustainable products. In this sense, Chef Will hopes to provide diners with that sweet and satisfying end to an already outstanding experience at KU DE TA.
As Restaurant Manager, Juri Menicucci has operational and directionalresponsibilities of KU DE TA Bali, including management of staff and food and beverage operations.
Juri‟s passion and interest for food and hospitality developed at the young age of seven, when he started cooking with his grandmother at her restaurant. He began his career in 1998, working in Michelin star restaurant Zafferano Restaurant for four years. In 2002, he worked in Wildfire restaurant in Sydney for two years before moving on to join the Hugos Group in Sydney, where he worked as General Manager for five years.
Throughout his career, Juri has been recognized for his dedication to exceptional service and his contribution to the restaurants he worked in, garnering many professional achievements and accolades.
Amongst them, the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” for Zafferano Restaurant in London, Restaurant & Catering Association New South Wales “Wine List of the Year” for Wildfire restaurant and Australian Liquor Industry Awards “Best New Venue” for Hugos Manly, are the ones Juri hold closest to his heart.
For his current role as Restaurant Manager, Juri is keen to impart his own service philosophy to members of the team and believes in building good relationships with the guests while having fun on the job. More importantly, he hopes to deliver a worldwide „Michelin‟ standard of service, which is friendly, personal but very professional for guests to enjoy a pleasant dining experience.
When asked what he hopes diners will leave feeling from their experience at KU DE TA, his reply is simple and sincere:
“I would like our customers to feel like they had a fine dining experience, but with the best and most friendly service, like they just had dinner at my house.”
A native of South Africa, Bruce Bartholomew has received his hospitality training from renowned and award-winning restaurants and bars in London.
Bruce managed restaurant and bar openings for Zeta Bar, Hakkasan and Kabaret’s Prophecy in London. In 2005, he joined HIX Soho and deemed his time there as one of the most invaluable of all his restaurant experiences. Already well-seasoned in opening restaurants for others, he ventured out to set up his very own establishment in 2006 called ‘Pinchito’, which was voted the best cocktail bar in England just one year later.
As KU DE TA’s new Bar Manager, Bruce continues to be inspired by local produce found in Bali and makes a conscientious effort to promote them in his cocktail menu at KU DE TA. His philosophy is to extract the best and truest flavours out of the simplest of ingredients but also to maintain the fine balance of flavours without overpowering his overall concoctions. He employs molecular and other modern techniques to invent truly unique creations which continue to impress KU DE TA’s well-travelled guests.
At KU DE TA, he encourages an additional level of personality and creativity in his bartenders. With his dedication to creating exceptional personalized service and delicious cocktails, he hopes to provide guests with a memorable experience that will incite them to visit again soon.