New Earth Cookingis a food philosophy created by Simon Jongenotter, head chef at Bali Silent Retreat; a unique sanctuary set in rural Bali. People from around the world flock to this exquisitely pristine setting to simply practice ‘the art of doing nothing' for a few days or weeks at a time.
In May 2012, Simon was invited to develop the cuisine of the center. Initially, he felt pressured by the typically fussy and demanding crowd which most spiritually inclined destinations attract. He roamed the island sourcing fancy imported ‘healthy’ ingredients to cook popular dishes such as quinnoa salads, spirulina smoothies and goiji berry muesli. Most guests were impressed with the offerings, but Simon found himself frustrated by the general lack of freshness and vibrancy found in imported goods. After researching some of the issues around importing food such as pollution, the loss of valuable nutrients during transportation and the enormous carbon footprint it leaves, he was quick to scrap the Californian walnuts and Moroccan chickpeas off the menu. He decided, instead, to create his very own health food cuisine entirely based on the rich and vibrant produce readily available in our local communities here in Bali, and so New Earth Cooking was born.
Simon commissioned me to create a set of illustrations showcasing each of the local herbs presented on their tea table, to enable guests to identify each herb and it's health benefits. All the illustrations were created on-site, of course, and fueled with enormous helpings of healthy, local, guilt free yumminess (my scooter was just a tad heavier the day I left!).