Travel Story Top Aussie chef brings gourmet touch to Bali beach club

Photo of Steve Butler

One of Bali’s most spectacular resorts has tapped into the culinary skills of one of Australia’s most acclaimed chefs.

The Ungasan Clifftop Resort, which played host to notable weddings for model Jennifer Hawkins and Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury, has collaborated with NSW chef James Viles, of two-hatted restaurant Biota Dining.

Viles has been working with the Ungasan’s kitchen staff to seek out local ingredients to develop premium dishes for the resort and the sensational waterfront Sundays Beach Club.

“We’re excited to have someone of James Viles’ calibre bringing his renowned culinary approach to our kitchens,” said Steven Cain, owner of the Ungasan Clifftop Resort and Sundays Beach Club. 

“It is an incredible opportunity for our local Balinese staff to work alongside and be trained by one of Australia’s leading chefs. 

"Bali has become a truly inspiring and sophisticated food destination and we are proud to be offering world-class dishes that are different to anything else in the area.”

Viles has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the Middle East, Europe and Hong Kong, and alongside chefs such as Hans Haas at two Michelin star-awarded Tantris in Munich and Alain Ducasse of Spoon in Hong Kong.

“I have travelled the world cooking over the years and it’s always nice to immerse yourself in a culture, a way of life,” Viles said.

“The opportunity to work with the Ungasan team is an exciting time for all. 

“We are collaborating with local farmers and growers looking not only at the past but also the future of food around us.

“I’m inspired daily by what I see, whether it be local seaweed, yellowfin tuna, amazing mackerel or even a green peppercorn picked straight from the side of the road. This island has it all.”

Biota-trained Australian chef Ryan Kovac will take residency at the restaurant for the next two years, while the resort’s head Indonesian chef Matharda Marthada will travel to Australia for training in Bowral. 

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