What can move you to pack it all up and head to paradise? Well… a sweet tooth and longing for a richer life is all it can take. Will Goldfarb, superstar chef from the NY gourmet scene, has expanded his repertoire across the pond to Bali, known for its dishes full of intensity, beautiful colors and vibrant ingredient flavor bombs.
The Balinese also have a sweet tooth, and one will find these “flavor bombs” in their unique pairing of unusual tastes, such as sweet palm sugar paired with a spicy chili kick. Room4Dessert is Goldfarb’s latest culinary creation – a dessert tasting house that serves a racy assortment of local ingredients transformed by his love of molecular reconstruction and of course, sugar.
A prized addition to Ubud’s culinary scene, Indonesia may seem an unlikely choice to lead the dessert revolution for this radical top chef. Goldfarb has won numerous prestigious culinary awards and was named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America”. Notwithstanding, Goldfarb’s latest fearless move is typical in his long line of adventures, which range from living in a car and beating cancer to overcoming failed restaurant ventures, before he finally set up his exploratory dessert lab in Bali.
This humble bit of paradise has proven to have the right ingredients for success on this tasty tangent. Originally driven by his desire to spend more time with his wife and daughter, the country slowly seduced him, providing the quality of life and inspiration for him to reinvent himself as an off-the-map investigative sweets chef. With his interest in laboratory experimentation – Goldfarb trained at the lauded molecular gastronomy restaurant El Bullí- he soon marked himself as a leader in this experimental field of micro-fusion, where wild and local meets high-tech and refined.
In Goldfarb’s world, many creations start with an idea before a flavor. Yet the flavors scream to be noticed – toasted gelato is chased by tangy mango, just as acid tamarind brings creamy cocoa butter alive. Tropical shouts are everywhere, and dishes burst with the intensity and vibrancy of his surroundings. Goldfarb clearly is passionate about his location. His favorite flavors to combine have a rare, exotic appeal: black tea, smoked mushroom, mangosteen peel, mango, and ginger flowers. From his rotating seasonal dessert menu, he names “Whiskey, Torture and Turgenev” at the top of his favorites, a heady combination of Sablee Breton, whiskey, pineapple, lime and sorghum.
“Bali is amazing” Goldfarb says, “Once it gets its hooks in you, it’s very hard to walk away.” As far as Bali’s hidden secrets, he points out Ayam Betutu (a traditional Balinese dish of roasted chicken simmered for over 24 hrs in a spicy paste), as well as one simple yet important observation: it is very clean. Seeing as he spends most of his day out and about town, checking up on his various ventures, one can understand how this serene environment can provide the nurturing backdrop for his inventions.
As a longtime friend of the people at Roam, (he was present from its conception), Goldfarb always has his door open for Roamers dropping by.
Roam: What is your personal relationship to food transformation and serving sweets?
Roam: What attracts you to experimental dishes and meal creation?
WG: Unhealthy desire
Roam: What’s your relationship to the people at Roam?
WG: I love the people at Roam. Room4Dessert owes its entire existence to Bruno Haid (co-founder of Roam). There is no way I would have survived the first year without his witty repartee and dazzling man bun.
Only a hop away from Roam Ubud, “Room for Dessert” dessert abstraction in action can be experienced from 4pm until late every day.