Harper's Bazaar March 2016 - Page 283

AKIRA BACK: BALI Chef I have many inspirational dishes that are derived from my travels, but one stands out from a trip to Bali in the summer of 2015. I was exploring the beach and stumbled upon a local hotspot that had a few restaurants that caught my eye due to the style of cuisines served. There was this one dish on the menu, sambal grilled octopus with grilled baby corn. I know it sounds so simple but it made me want to try something similar. Instead of having something that was known to my palate, I was in complete shock and awe due to the type of sauce and the smokey flavour of the baby corn. The octopus was cooked to perfection, and it reminded me of ika sumiyaki, a grilled squid dish with a ginger soya sauce. This reminded me that simple things in life can be found anywhere in the world, and that love and passion for food can bring comfort to your soul. (Clockwise from top left) Rice fields in Bali; restaurants by the beach; Tegal Wangi beach in Bali; a statue replica of David by Michelangelo in Florence; the Trevi Fountain in Rome; the Colosseum, Rome. RADHIKA VAZ: ROME IMAGES COURTESY FERRAN VEGA VALLRBERA/MM GETTY; TOM BONAVENTURE/MM GETTY; MICHELE FALZONE/MM GETTY; VISIONSOFAMERICA.COM/JOE SOHM/MM GETTY; TERRY WHY/MM GETTY; BRIAN LAWRENCE/MM GETTY; BIKRAMJIT BOSE; AKIRA BACK Comedian and writer Until Rome I was the ‘quantity over quality’ traveller. I may have been missing the fanny pack but I arrived in Roma with a list of sightseeing boxes I needed to tick. After spending two days standing in line at various awe-inspiring ruins, my husband and I were exhausted and at war, so we took our skirmish to a little café. Cappuccino please, he said, plonking himself down for some rest. To go, I added. After all, we had boxes to tick. No to go, came the barista’s response. He didn’t do paper cups and so, unplanned, we spent a quiet hour watching people go by. That is when I found out I wasn’t a box-ticker, and having learnt my lesson in Roma, I spent my days in Firenze not caring if I ever saw David’s penis and thoughtful expression. Instead I wandered aimlessly, taking time to enjoy my ‘not to go’ caffé.  283