Adriano Suppa


"Be patient, be humble, be true to who you really are"


What made you want to become a chef?
My passion for food, which was intensely influenced by my family and how much they have always had a passion for anything food related.

Who has influenced your cooking style or your philosophy on food?
My family and my culinary mentors, as well as other industry professionals whose work have inspired me.

What inspires you or where do you get your inspiration from?
It’s a ramdom thing. It comes from everywhere, really. I eat and breathe everything related to what I do. Every time I eat something I like I think about the dish and how it was conceived. Sometimes the inspiration or motivation could come from a specific theme or date, sometimes from someone like my parents, my wife or son. Most times it’s just me having fun and exploring how I’d interpret a certain dish differently, how I could evolve an existing dish that I have created. It comes from the heart, from everything that touches me that’s experienced. It sounds complex but it’s rather simple in my eyes.

What is your favourite method of cookery or preparation?
I have my favorites… braising, roasting and grilling are definitely on the top of the list, which isn’t limited to those…

What is your favourite ingredient?
Very tough question… I have several favorites. Wouldn’t be fair if I left any of them out…

What is your favourite kitchen tool?
My knives…

What is your favourite section in the kitchen to work on during your apprenticeship?
I’d say I had the most challenging times while I was working as a poissonier… very delicate to work with, requires proper technique applied and acquired skills that are very different than working with other meats. It taught me a lot.

Where you like to eat out?
Here in Bali, I like going to Mejekawi and Teatro… I’m also a fan of what they do at Mozaic and Sardines. I love Jungsik and Spice Market, as well as Pearl Oyster Bar in NYC. When back home, every time I’m in Sao Paulo I go see what they’re doing at D.O.M., where I worked at the begining of my career.

What would you like to see change with the cook schools?
The approach taken with students when telling them what to expect once they graduate. Although I am a self taught Chef, I’ve seen that a lot of the culinary graduates I’ve worked with feel as if they were entitled to having a Chef’s position from the get go. Of course this isn’t the case for all but I’ve seen many who behaved that way. No matter what degree you have, nothing is really just given to you, it’s earned. I’d also like to see more culinary graduates who are in touch with reality, that understand that there’s lots to be done in order to get that position. And a lot more to be done after you get it. One of the reasons why I’m never bored with what I do is because, besides the fact I absolutely love it, there’s never a dull moment, there’s always something to be learned, always something to explore. I wish the schools instilled more of that passion in their students and truly showede them what is the reality of our industry out there.

Your advice to young chefs?
Be patient, be humble, be true to who you really are. Allow yourself to immerse in the world of the culinary arts, and let your passion turn into what you desire to be.

What do you look for when hiring staff?
Reliability and work ethics, besides talent and passion.

What would you like to see change in the industry?
To me, hospitality is an industry that’s always changing, much like people do.I’d love to see what is next in our industry, not sure it would be just a single change as most changes end up affecting a lot more than what they propose - everything around what’s being changed must adapt. In the Culinary Arts, there have been major shifts and milestones in the past couple of decades - from molecular gastronomy to farm to table to modernism, to the recent arrival of multi sensory experiences that play with more than just the palate. My latests endeavor is a multi sensory pop up dining experience which explores how flavors can change and be perceived differently, depending on a certain sound that’s being played. It’s called Edible Audio Works. I’m very excited to see where this goes.

How do you deal with awkward guests?
Akward guests are always going to be there, simply because no matter how perfect things are, or much you think you care for what you do, there will always be someone out there who won’t be pleased. I think the more we understand those challenging guests, the more we can create solutions to accomodate what they expect. So open dialogue is key. If you know you’ve exhausted all possibilities, don’t feel bad or frustrated. Try and learn from it and explore how you would be able to deal with that in the future, should it happen again. In the end, if you have the certainty you did all within your reach, you shouldn’t feel defeated. Just remember, people are different. We have to respect the differences and tolerate them as much as we like people to do the same for us.

What is your first memory of food that blew your mind?
I’d say there were many, but definitely there’s one that comes back every time I think about my memories… I grew up in a big house, next to my grandparent’s house, where my grandpa had a fruit, vegetable and herb garden that was so plentiful and diverse it would rival and envy a lot of produce purveyors, though he never did it to make any money, it was purely out of pleasure. So everything that grew there was so special you would be delighted by the simplest things. He would call me to come over just before lunch time, after carefully selecting his daily picks and giving them to my grandma to cook. While she cooked, he’d slice a baguette in half, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil, top it with freshly picked parsley and chives, a touch of salt and pepper. He’d also chop a piece of red malaguetta chili on a plate and top it with the juice from the beans that were being cooked with smoked meats, which served as a dipping sauce for the bread with herbs. So simple, such a peasant thing, but so delicious. I could never forget that.

What is your favourite escape to relax?
In Bali, I like going off the beaten path to quieter white sand beaches in the East side of the Island… While in NY I’d escape to Montauk.

What drives your ambition?
The quest for improvement in the endless path to perfection. I try to make everything I do better, every time I repeat it. Also the way I get instant gratification for what I do, as I put smiles on peoples faces and create in their minds unforgettable memories, with my food.

What is your signature dish?
Yet another tough question… I have my favorites, hard to pick just one. My braised pork belly, my octopus salad and my hamachi ceviche would be on the top list.
How do you motivate your team?
By sharing with them the passion and excitement I experience in the kitchen every time I cook.

How do you think restaurants should be rated?
Honestly, for what they propose and what’s being delivered in accordance.

If you had to build the best kitchen team who would be in your kitchen all stars?
All my true sous chefs who have stood with me through the fire, there were surely at least 10 of mine I’ve had the pleasure of working with that would be in that team. I would never have made it if it wasn’t for our collaboration. They know who they are!
On the fantasy side, If I were to have a Dream Chef Brigade of stellar talent, I’d have certainly the following: Alex Atala, Laurent Tourondel, Floyd Cardoz, Jungsik, Mandiff Warokka, Luis Andoni, Ferran Adria, Michel Bras, Claude Troisgros and Grant Achatz.