Last year, the beloved beachfront pan-Asian restaurant Starfish Bloo at W Bali - Seminyak welcomed a new recruit, Chef Ashley Garvey. Hailing from down under— Melbourne, to be exact—Chef Ashely developed a passion for cooking at the age of 15 when he started out working as a steward in a professional kitchen. And as with anything that comes out of love, his talents were quickly recognised and he progressed to section chef in less than a year.
If that’s not impressive enough, Chef Ashley then pushed himself forward by working at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Birmingham in the UK. After a decade of working in a professional kitchen, the adventurous chef then took a break and plunged into a culinary journey on which he traversed around Europe and Asia. Taking in the sights, sounds and flavours from these continents, he then decided to implement his newfound love in his next challenge, which is at W Bali - Seminyak. What’s cooking at the moment with Chef Ashley? Read more to find out.
What is your fondest memory from the kitchen?
I would say it was back in my younger days in Australia where, after work, I used to go bush hunting all night with my chef. I would load up my fridge and freezer full of game meat, and would take it to work and cook it for my fellow staff, and our friends and family.
Has your culinary style changed throughout the years?
Definitely! It’s always changing or improving, I should say. I grew up working in European restaurants, so that’s the style I started out with. It’s only since I came to Bali that I started to expose myself to Asian food and the way of cooking here. So I would say that my culinary style has done a complete backflip over the last few years.
What have you learned through your posting in Bali?
Of course, Bali has contributed a lot to the development of my cooking skills, but apart from that I also learned a completely new and rich culture. Living on the island has been the best career decision I’ve made.
How do you strategise in terms of the menus at Starfish Bloo?
Being a Pan-Asian restaurant, Starfish Bloo gives me plenty of room to create innovative dishes. It’s always good to keep an eye on the culinary trends going around, especially in Bali and, in particular, Seminyak, where the restaurant scene gives endless options.
Additionally, also taking in mind what works best and what doesn’t and using it as baseline for upcoming menu innovations.
In your opinion, what make Starfish Bloo at W Bali - Seminyak stand out from the rest?
The stunning beachfront view, friendly talent and the live seafood options—you won’t find many of these on the island. Meanwhile, we also have our killer Sunday Brunch with its vibrant atmosphere, which has become a sought-after destination.
What’s your favourite Asian flavour that you always incorporate in your dishes and why?
We make this awesome Balinese lemongrass turmeric chili oil—it carries a lot of flavour and can give a dish a great lift.
What are the challenges you have faced in handling Starfish Bloo and how have you solved them?
This is the first hotel I’ve worked for, so waking up for breakfast service every day is a challenge in itself [laughs]. However, other than that, I always make sure that each guest is catered for personally and keep a high level of interaction and engagement with them.
What’s your all-time favourite dish and why?
Babi guling! I’m a pork lover and I love how the meat in this dish is done beautifully in multiple ways—creative and tasty.
Share with us about Starfish Bloo’s nine-course inspired dining menu.
This is the newest addition to our dinner menu. A nine-course feast featuring a range of Indonesian dishes with twists, which are inspired by my journey within the archipelago—from seafood markets to rice fields to my wife’s hometown in Java.