by Kevin Cherkas & Virginia Entizne | A New and Innovative Culinary Experience
Author: Genieverre Sasja Julianto, Community Management Specialist
Thanks to thriving tourism industry and the local people’s appreciation of international cuisine, Bali has become a popular location to open a culinary business. However, with Bali’s growing popularity, the more rival culinary businesses there are, the harder it is to remain relevant. The strategies that were thought to be innovative are becoming more and more common. This condition makes many restaurants or other culinary businesses that cannot continue to innovate, eventually go out of business.
But not for Cuca Restaurant. Cuca created their menu on their own, from scratch. So if you ever ask them which dishes is their signature, then the answer is everything. This makes them one of the most innovative restaurants in Bali. On BV C-Talk #17, we talked with Kevin Cherkas the Co-founder of Cuca, to learn how he managed to stay innovative and make Cuca one of the best restaurants all over Asia.
Realizing his dream in the Land of Gods.
Kevin was born in Canada and studied at Vancouver Community College. He has always loved cooking ever since he was little. One might even say that he is addicted to cooking. The only thing that can beat his love of cooking is his love of enjoying good food. Luckily these two things go hand in hand. Cooking is the only thing he has ever been paid for. This job has opened many doors for him and because of it, he has traveled to the United States, Singapore, Malaysia, Spain, and many other countries to taste the authentic foods that these countries offer.
One of Kevin’s dreams is to open his own restaurant where he can express his personality in the most artistic way and escape the trap of corporation. After years of working for big hotels, Kevin realized that he didn’t want this kind of career. A career where you need around 20 signatures just to make small changes. This corporate culture is what slows down the potential of a business. It is what differentiates between being ahead or being behind in the hospitality industry that is supposed to be a dynamic and fast-moving industry. At that point of realization, he understands that it was the right time for him to quit his job and take a leap of faith to pursue his dream.
Kevin and his wife who is also the Co-founder of Cuca, Virginia, started to look for a place where they could build their restaurant. Anywhere was a possibility. So to speed things up they started to list places and going through them one by one to find the best locations for future Cuca. Back then, when they were in Bali, they stumbled upon a coconut road in the middle of nowhere and found themselves the perfect place for Cuca. Within one year, Cuca was open, staffs were hired, concepts were implemented, and guests walking in through the door.
Cuca’s secret recipe for success is to do everything differently.
When asked what makes Cuca different from other restaurants, Kevin proudly answered “Absolutely everything”. Why? There are so many international 5 star hotels, high-end restaurants, fast food restaurants from all over the world, and delicious inexpensive street food, all with the copy-and-paste business model, scattered around Bali. So what can they do to survive? That is to do everything about Cuca radically different, from scratch.
One of the things that makes Cuca different is in the process of creating dishes. Instead of making a dish then look for the ingredients, Cuca discover the products or ingredients first and then create the dish. They do the creation totally backward. This is what allows them to understand the best way to use those ingredients, re-learn techniques, create a new dish and come up with a twist for it. This is a challenging process. It takes courage to be vulnerable to the criticism of people who tastes new dishes they are not familiar with.
A new experience of food like this might be scary for some people. They don’t know what they are getting into at Cuca. They lose that comfortable ground they usually stand on. But to another group of people, Cuca is the culinary adventure they’ve been searching for their whole life. And this makes Cuca into a unique restaurant that deeply appeals to a very small audience of people. People who are truly obsessed with food and curious about how to make things a little bit more delicious.
The connection between you loving food and then you being able to spend time to find those types of unique interactions with other people that love food, this is Cuca.– Kevin Cherkas
Want to hear the whole story of Cuca from the Kevin himself? Check out BV C-Talk #17 with Cuca Restaurant., only on the Bukit Vista Hospitality Services YouTube Channel:
If you want to experience Cuca and taste their extraordinary and unique cuisine, feel free to contact us and we will help you connect with Cuca. You can also visit Cuca at Jl. Yoga Perkanthi, Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia. They are open for Lunch and Dinner on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. To find out more about Cuca, visit their page here: