Greetings Chef Jethro. Can you give us a bit of your back story? Nationality, age when you went into the kitchen, and what was the very first dish that you cooked?
I’m originally from New Zealand and started in the hospitality industry from the age of 16 before heading to London where I worked for one of the city’s esteemed Top 50 “Local Eats”. That’s where I really learnt about the industry and discovered a true passion for cheffing.
The first dish I ever cooked?! Wow I can’t even remember, but it was probably a toasted sandwich at home! Definitely still cooking them!
As a New Zealander are there any particular flavours that influenced your style of cuisine?
Actually quite the opposite, New Zealand is a very young country and in being so hasn’t developed its own culinary identity like somewhere else like Italy or France for example. Coupled with the fact that I have been cooking outside New Zealand for more than half of my career, most of my influences come from around the world.
Can you give us a quick low down on the Kilo Collective and how it came to Bali?
Kilo Collective is a food & beverage company first established in Singapore and headed by Joshua Adjodha. The first international venue for the group was in Bali – Kilo Kitchen – which opened back in 2014, followed by a second Kilo Kitchen Jakarta.
Now the group has several venues in Bali: Maize, Lila Brown, Behind The Green Door, as well as a couple more openings lined up. What makes all our venues so special are the experiences we curate – we want people to feel welcome, enjoy their experience, and enjoy exceptional hospitality.
Let’s focus on Maize, located close to the borders of Berawa and Batubelig, Latin American cuisine at its best. In what way does the menu go beyond being just Mexican, and how challenging is it to educate diners?
Drawing inspiration from wider regions in South America is fun as the Chef, but it also comes with the challenge to successfully spread awareness about Latin Cuisine. Typically people have Latin food pigeon holed into tex mex / street food, and this does a real discredit to the abundance of heritage and identity that goes into the region’s cuisine. We will continue educating and spreading awareness through our dishes and Latin inspired hospitality.
Immaculate plating! Each dish is highly impressive visually, so what flavours does Maize use and blend to match the exalted taste expectation?
Harnessing ingredients from both Indonesia and South America we find the marriage between both to deliver bold and exciting flavours that guests may not have experienced before. Items such as specialty chillies from Peru, Mexico and Indonesia collide to create amazing moles; blue and white corn massa used in our hand pressed tortillas and achiote seeds are ingredients common in both Indonesia for colouring and Mexico for marination of meats. The list of flavours is never ending!
Each dish has its own story, can you expand on this?
There is usually always an inspiration, interpretation or adaptation behind each dish, whether it is to lean into a specific ingredient or technique, or to simply pay homage to the history behind the ingredient. Honestly, I rarely know where a dish will take me until I hit its final rendition.
Taco Thursdays, Maize’s weekly event, can you tell us more?
It’s called PROVECHO, which is a literal translation of SELAMAT MAKAN in Spanish. We really hone in on the livelihood of Latin culture on Thursdays, transforming our courtyard into a social space often with live music. Most of our tacos are priced at 35K each on Thursdays, including a Chef’s Choice special which is only available on Thursdays.
Definitely don’t skip out on the cocktails – curated especially for PROVECHO Thursdays, our Mezcal & Tequila cocktails are the right way to kick off the weekend.
You also have a very interesting collaboration coming up with Red Gunpowder; South American cuisine meets Indian flavors? Interesting combo, can you give us a little more insight?
Yes, when I first met Chef Chris we had discussed doing something together and now it’s finally coming together! With our Club Ceviche series as the vehicle, we incorporate global flavours into a dish that is so synonymous with Latin cuisine and it’s no different this time. Stay tuned as we are set off to bring the world of raw fish to the forefront of Indian flavours.
Join us at Maize on Sunday 29th of October for Club Ceviche IV in collaboration with Chef Chris of Red Gunpowder.
Lastly, what do you wish for yourself, the group, and Bali over the next twelve months?
I would love to see a couple ideas we have been brewing come to fruition but that’s a story for another day.
Chef Jethro, many thanks for your time, and for creating so many fabulous flavor combinations!