With childhood memories of her Grandma’s warm kitchen, working as a chef has taken her around the world.
Now an Executive Chef at the Hyatt Regency Bali, Nadine Waechter-Moreno talks to What’s New Bali about what keeps her cooking up a storm, the values she has learned in a male-dominated profession, and reasons why we should head to the Omang Omang Restaurant soon.
Q: How did you fall in love with being a Chef?
Childhood memories with my grandmother! I often cooked and baked in her home back in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Q: You have a glowing profile with Hyatt, can you tell us the one thing that differentiates the company from other key players in the industry?
Hyatt is big and small at the same time. It has over 700 hotels worldwide, but everyone feels familiar; we have known each other for a long time and it feels like family. And I think that is what makes it stands out – the feeling of being part of a large family.
Q: With your exposure in Tokyo, Miami, Mexico, and Australia can you tell us the three values that you learned from cooking and culture?
The gift of working and learning from local cuisine; the joy of enjoying different nature; and the opportunity to connect with people. In sum, connecting with different cultures through food.
Q: What is the culinary experience at Hyatt Regency Bali?
Focusing on local produce, our food is simple, and honest. Something suitable to everyone’s taste.
Q: Please give us three words that describe your cooking style the best.
It is all about flavor – it isn’t complicated.
Q: Can you share with us your best practice of waste management at Hyatt Regency Bali?
Right from pre-opening we are committed to being plastic-free in the hotel. This means we stopped using single-use plastic packaging in rooms, restaurants, and operations. For example we don’t use plastic straws, coffee cups and lids, or takeaway boxes. We don’t use plastic water bottles anywhere in the hotel either. This initiative alone eliminates a lot of our plastic waste.
Q: Name three dishes that are a must-order from Hyatt Regency Bali?
Nasi Goreng Buntut from the Omang Omang restaurant – authentic flavours in a huge portion so it is ideal for sharing, and truly comforting. At the Pizzaria Restaurant my favourites are salami and seafood. And our homemade dough is sourdough base, so not too filling. Also, our desserts are never too sweet, just enough to make you crave for more!
Q: Name your three favourite dishes that you’ve tried in Bali so far.
Ayam and Bebek Betutu, Jimbaran seafood grill, and street food style Martabak.
Q: What can we look forward to at Hyatt Regency in the first quarter of 2020?
Our own weekly Hyatt Regency Pasar Malam by the beach and our weekly Sunday brunch. I highly recommend you try the bread! Our focus is on creating good value for money, and aiming to have repeat guests at our restaurants.
Q: Here’s a fun question, are you often addressed as “Female” Chef?
Yes, I get this often, which is both surprising to me, but I am also proud of it. Especially as there are more chefs that are female in leading positions. However, neither my team or I look at it any different, as gender does not matter.
Q: Understanding that it is still a male-dominated profession, what advice would you share with the younger generation wanting to become a chef?
When you are young you should use this as an opportunity to learn about yourself and what the world has to offer. So, be confident, be yourself, be curious about what you want to know and to discover. Don’t be afraid to take a break to travel, to explore and to learn.
Q: If you were given a second shot in life, would you still be a chef? If not, what would you have been instead. If yes, what would you do differently?
I always wanted to do something creative, being able to travel and to work with people. Therefore I would take this journey all over again, in a heartbeat.