We poked our head into the kitchen to say bonjour to Chef Fabrice Capron from Olala in Banjar Semer – Bali, asking him a few relevant – and sometimes irreverent – questions.
Fabrice, name your kitchen!
OLALA’s kitchen or my everyday kitchen? In fact they are a bit alike: simple and generous cuisine, for OLALA the food is very “franchouillarde“, revisited classics, joy, happiness, and at home more globalist…
How long have you been in Bali and where had you already chewed?
In Bali for seven years, I am not a chef by training, no school, I am self-taught, but I have always cooked. So I was a chef for the first time at 35 years old in my own restaurant “LA TOMATE” in Reunion island, a French island in the Indian ocean.
What size were you when you made your first dish?
Hahahah. Not high enough to reach the stove!
What was it and what recipe did you follow?
It was a barbecue (because I was too small for the stove!). It was a fish that I had caught, I did not follow any recipe. It was in Greece and I was inspired by these skewers of pork marinated in olive oil, lemon and oregano. The name is souvlaki . . . I replaced the pork with the fish, a grouper, grilled all sweet with passion, it was a delight for the family!
Who influenced you to become a chef? (‘The whole nine yards’ or ‘The Full Monty’ please, in 50 words or less).
Not really influenced, rather my best friend, Aurelien, who made me open my taste buds during a trip in Perigord, which is famous for the foie gras, duck and truffles in France. I like chefs who cook fast and simple, so Jamie Oliver is one of my favourites. Of the classics? Famous chefs like Marc Veyrat, Alain Passart, Rene Redzepi, Heston Blumenthal, Ferran Adria.
Your first set of knives? And what brand?
I have never been addicted to knives. I like to have a lot of them, but I also like working with my hands, my fingers, tearing off, feeling the product.
Make us a picnic (wine included).
I’m a super picnic fan, but in fact it’s the same as a meal at the table, there are so many possibilities. In Europe I think it would be a picnic a la bonne franquette. Good cheese, good bread, ham, semi-salted butter, homemade duck rillette, colorful tomatoes, rucola and good olive oil. Of course accompanied by a fresh Burgundy, a Beaune, or a natural wine. In Bali, it would be a picnic on a beach, a carpaccio or a tartare made with a fresh parrot fish that I will have just caught.
Your best hangover remedy?
A pastis! A drink from Marseille.
Name your top three toppings.
Number one in front of God: perfectly cooked French fries, mashed potatoes – the old fashioned way, Robuchon style! A cepe – mushroom, garlic, butter, parsley.
The three best herbs?
Basil and Thai basil, chives.
What turns you on? List the ingredients for your most powerful aphrodisiac dish.
Oysters, caviar, scallops, seafood … so the dish would be a scallop tartare and poached oyster, apple duxelle for acidity, truffle oil, copeaux of foie gras and caviar.
The strangest ingredients you’ve ever used?
A mammoth tail.
Oh my, ok. What is your cooking philosophy?
What scares you the most in the kitchen?
The industrialization. It’s so simple to make your own tomato sauce, why buy ready-made?
Name your favorite vineyard right now.
Unfortunately the choice and the variety of Bali wines is very poor. In Bali, I will choose a Pont du Gassac, Languedoc, a sincere and simple wine created by a family passionate about wine. In France it would be a natural wine (there is still none in Bali) a Bourgogne, Chandon de Brialles Estate.
How important is organic to you and where do you source organic meats and vegetables from?
I’m afraid that the organic label is a big masquerade fed by industrialists who have no ethics. The best is to have your own vegetable garden … for meat, very difficult to know in Bali. Unfortunately, I trust in paper labels like everyone else. Vegetables do not need fertilizers or pesticides to exist.
What are you most passionate about in your kitchen / restaurant?
The pleasure of sharing my pleasure, the pleasure of making pleasure. And to share this with my team, my chefs are young but really dedicated, we are a family, I love them all.
How long does it take you to peel and chop an onion? Please time yourself.
Super fast, I love to cook quickly, with my fingers … suddenly. My kitchen often looks like a battlefield.
Highlight of your career?
I haven’t had a career per se, but I think my greatest emotion was to be invited to participate in a cookbook, and I hope that other chefs have cooked and tasted my recipes.
Name your favorite dip and give us the recipe, please!
Easy, the tzatziki (Greek dip), just yoghurt, cucumber – thinly sliced, garlic, mint, olive oil, salt and pepper!
If you were to be reincarnated as a dish, what would it be?
A couscous, flavoursome, spicy, hearty. The first spices that awakened my taste buds … cumin, raz hel anout, coriander.
What is your Instagram?
Personally, I don’t have any…. it might be wisdom, hahaha.
Thank you for taking the time. (Now can we eat?)