NOW! Bali gets the low-down on the man behind Hog Wild with Chef Bruno, with none other than Chef Bruno himself, of course:
Long before he became Bali’s James Bond of ribs, he was a little French boy who had a restaurateur for a mother and a butcher for a father. In a small village in Brittany, Chef Bruno began it all when he finally let go.
At 16, after two years of culinary education, he started humbly by peeling potatoes and washing dishes, not at the Fortin family restaurant that he was expected to take over, but away on his own. As if on a dare, he told himself that to grow, he had to be free. And so he developed his expertise far away from home, working at various kitchens in London, Geneva, Paris, Bermuda, and Washington, DC, where he opened his own restaurant, Bistrot Lepic, in 1995.
With the freshest, quality ingredients, Chef Bruno created magic. A culinary approach that remains with him to this day – whether he’s working on a fine duck confit or a slab of ribs – it’s always about highlighting innate deliciousness.
As one would surmise, being at the helm of a highly-celebrated restaurant is no easy feat. More so, for a perfectionist like Chef Bruno. Together with his wife Eva, he made Bistrot Lepic one of the top restaurants in the country, a meaningful achievement but one that brought an enlightening denouement to his American dream. Life was good but was it really the life he wanted? At the end of every hard working day, he came home to his twins exhausted and he would hear the sound of his own nagging voice that simply said, “Rise above…” And he really did rise above.
The move to Bali took heaps of courage. Once again, Chef Bruno had to let go. But only one thing made it easy for him – love. Surely, his twin toddlers deserved so much more than successful parents, they deserved parents who were present.
“The first 6-7 years, we spent time together. A very beautiful and meaningful phase in my life because family is everything to me.”
Bali inspired Chef Bruno. Armed with a full heart and with a bigger grasp of the culture, it was time for him to share the love. It was only a matter of time before he created what we know now as the Hog Wild signature ribs. A perfect melange of texture and flavour, sticky, crunchy, sweet, smokey, robust, and unpretentious – much like life in Bali.
Why barbecue? Why pork ribs? Why warung? Why is a French fine dining chef flirting with gastronomy that is so… street?
Because he can.
To Chef Bruno, the commitment to quality does not end with a formal kitchen, especially when you’re serving love. As someone with deep and meaningful culinary roots, he knows too well the importance of starting with the highest quality of ingredients, and the painstaking application of technique – from procuring meats to configuring the grill, and concocting a sauce that would differentiate Hog Wild from any other barbecue joint.
“Barbecuing has always been a shared activity. You don’t just fire up the grill to cook for yourself, you cook for your family, your friends, the people you love spending time with, and you indulge.”
Being in Bali and enjoying the warung experience, Chef Bruno instinctively knows the kind of place he wants – one that enhances his creativity while letting him have fun. And Hog Wild is always a lot of fun.
Chef Bruno and his team have found the right balance to serving up fare that is so simple yet so complex in the way it defines the dining experience. You just don’t taste it, you feel it.
You feel it the moment you tear a tender piece of rib from a perfectly grilled slab, when you lick your fingers to savour every bit of barbecue sauce. You feel it in the hot and homey Sop Buntut, in the crisp Bebek Goreng, in the wild Martini that comes to you with an infectious Shake-shake-shake Dance. You feel it and you think, yes I can celebrate today. Suddenly, inhibitions are put aside, you’ll eat with your hands, laugh more, tell more stories, you’ll probably even find yourself posing for photos in a red halter dress, wind beneath your feet, and the Hog Wild credo behind you that pretty much sums up what you feel that very moment. You’ll find yourself letting go.
And when you do, you should know that there’s a suave, blue-eyed chef who is all too glad that you’re doing what he continues to do, in the name of love. With him you can always go Hog Wild. His name is Bruno, Chef Bruno.
Enjoy wicked ribs, brutal martinis and have a roaring good time at the hottest place in Bali.