Executive Chef at Apéritif Restaurant & Bar
Chef Nic Vanderbeeken leads the team at Viceroy Bali’s Apéritif Restaurant & Bar, an elegant fine dining restaurant serving Contemporary Global Cuisine
in the lush valleys of Ubud. His progressive and eclectic cooking style lends itself to the restaurant’s cuisine. It melds the best of modern
European techniques and cuisine with various ingredients and touches from the Old Spice islands to create dishes that appeal to the
modern global diner. The wealth of knowledge he has accumulated from his time in Bali and Indonesia allows him to meticulously craft distinctive degustation menus for an unrivaled culinary journey through the world of gastronomy.
Dine & Wine Bali: Hello chef! Would you please introduce yourself?
Chef Nic VDB: I’m Nic Vanderbeeken or Nic VDB for short. I was born in Belgium and have been working in kitchens since 1994. I began my careers as a steward and progressed from then, gaining experience first across Europe then Asia. In 2013 I decided to relocate to Bali to join the Viceroy family in Ubud. I am now the Executive Chef in the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant Apéritif.
DWB: Why and when did you decide to become a chef?
Chef Nic: I was introduced to the world of culinary in my early teens. When I was 15 a friend of my parents needed some help in the kitchen
in their bistro. From working in this family run business, I convinced my parents to send me to culinary school in Belgium.
Culinary school allowed me the opportunity to work in Michelin star restaurants. I realised from the outset that being a chef was not as easy as some of the jobs my friends took but my passion to be in the kitchen was big enough to continue and I never skipped a working day. That made also a bit the chef who I am today.
With the years I gained experience and at the age of 23 I became sous chef from a truffle restaurant that called ‘t Convent. 1*Michelin star. Being a chef was my destiny, I should have no idea what other job I want to do.
DWB: Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
Chef Nic: There are a few names that spring to mind. In general, I admire chefs that stay humble and who hold respect for the product and courtesy for other chefs. My friends are mostly chefs and each have his/her own style which continuously helps to inspire me, friends like Willem Hiele, Benoit Dewitte, Michael Vrijmoed, Nick Bril, Julien Royer, Brad Kilgore. However, a chef I would love to meet and dine with at The French Laundry in Yountville, California is Thomas Keller.
DWB: How would you describe your cuisine? What’s your favorite dish and why?
Chef Nic: My cuisine is described as serving global eclectic cuisine. I design menus which express who I am and based on my international experience. The ingredients for my menu are very important and knowing the farmer gives the same respect to the produce as I do is a large part of developing my style of cuisine. Ingredients are always selected by what is available. We are largely dependent on our farmers and suppliers in Bali, and that is why we are constantly experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen.
Choosing my favorite dish is quite hard but if I had to choose one it would be Venison Wellington. It’s a classic yet very different in flavors.
I like to think this dish will never spend too long off our menu at Apéritif.
DWB: If so, what do you do to stay current on new trends?
Chef Nic: We are very luck at Apéritif to have a young team who are truly curious and passionate about food which continuously inspires me. I also read plenty of books and listen to chefs of the new generation. I believe it is also important to be talking or cooking with chefs across our industry, as every collaboration has a sharing of ideas and techniques. From an operational perspective, each week we sit together and discuss the menu and any feedback we received from our guests.
DWB: With the situation, how do you see the future of the fine dining cuisine?
Chef Nic: We hear many different stories but as we re-opened Apéritif in June 2020, we noticed that people still want to sit in restaurant to enjoy their meal. Being a fine-dining restaurant, we provide the ultimate dining experience which guests constantly seek, as it ultimately cannot be recreated at home. We are also quite fortunate at Apéritif given our size which allows us to welcome enough guests to bring that
je ne sais quoi dining room vibe.
DWB: Thank you for your time! Stay safe.
Follow Chef Nic on Instagram: @nicvanderbeeken
Read more about our dining experience at Apéritif:
2022 - Ode to Gastronomy
2020 - An Upscale Culinary Experience
Venue details: Apéritif Restaurant & Bar