It’s always fun to talk with Penelope Williams – or as we all call her, Penny. She’s very bubbly, incredibly sweet and definitely full of smiles. And all that positivity radiates much into her works as the owner and Executive Chef of Bali Asli. Yes, that Balinese restaurant that serves the most authentic Karangasem cuisine. A highly experienced chef with a career spanning more than 30 years, Penny have worked in many kitchens all over Europe and Australia before finally decided to come and stay in Bali around ten years ago. Thinking that Balinese food could lost its identity, Penny determined to preserve it. And she didn’t hold back. Not only the recipe and flavours are true to traditions, she also applied the same methods of cooking used by the generations of our dadong and pekak (grandparents)! This makes her restaurant not only a place to taste and eat, but also a vessel of experience and adventure – a certain game changer for a foreign chef in an island with a proud tradition for its food.
As a female chef, Penny is no stranger to sexist remarks in the kitchen – especially when she worked abroad. But once she’s arrived in Bali, that all change. Everybody accepts her for what she does, even on other activities out of her restaurant – a little trivia, Penny loves to drive around on her vintage Vespa scooter with her fellow Vespa bikers. The change of mindset and emotions includes how she behaves in her work environment. “I have to thank my colleagues in Bali for their patience and helped me to get rid of my inner Gordon Ramsay”, she laughed. And if you think that’s mighty zen of her, wait until you hear what she said about success. Penny says that for her success is when she reached her goal of preserving the traditional cuisine of Bali through her restaurant. That also includes opening opportunities for young chefs to learn from her. Success to her is when she can give back with what she do and feel contempt about it – which we believe she’s already doing a pretty good job.
Image courtesy of David Burden
On a normal day, Tressabel Hutasoit needs to be fluent, friendly and very informative. It is her job anyway as the Head of Marketing & Communications at The Stones Hotel, Kuta – she has to appear that way. But sit closer to her and start talk about politics, social issue and animals, she’s going to be your best friend. But you need to catch up, though, because Abel is one smart and touch cookie. She doesn’t back up from arguments and speaks passionately against injustice. When she couldn’t contain these urges of speaking out, she writes. Not just a diary or a blog, Abel wrote articles, poetry and her most recent glory: a short film script. That script was filmed last year and took part in the Plaza Indonesia Film Festival where it won Best Viewer’s Choice. Oh, she’s also an avid runner, being very proud of running three half marathons and two ultra half marathons only within six months. Madness.
“My red polished toe nails still intact at the end of very race,” she wittily stated with a smug grin. And after ten years in the industry, especially with a boisterous interest towards writing, does she felt that it’s time to be a full-time writer? “I am still building on my works outside of my job; my writing, my short movie, my work with children, my passion for animal welfare. I want people to remember me for all that. I want them to remember me more than just my business card.” A true feminist at heart, Abel smirked when we asked about her challenges as a woman in her field of work. “I see no challenges based on gender alone. Challenges will always exist, but those have nothing to do with my gender”. Exactly the kind of bright and sharp answer we expect from Miss Tressabel.
Image courtesy of Raung Bawono
The Cycling Enthusiast
Gusti Ayu Dewi Mahayanthi takes her hobby seriously. Seven years ago, this Denpasar born woman found her love for cycling and since then, she actively explores the island of Bali on two wheels. Maha, as she is known by her friends, currently works as sales in a car rental company. However, she dreams on being able to combine her hobby with her career, and turn it into a profession.
She recently joined an unsupported, unsanctioned, and un-marshalled tough ride called The Rapha Prestige. Maha managed to finish the 3,800 metres of climbing and 170 kilometres of long ride, tackling the intensely challenging route from the hills of Baturiti to the jagged terrain of Kintamani and back again. She rode for 12 hours. Once, this tough warrior princess also joined a cause to ride from Jakarta to Bali for 10 days. “I want to ride as far as possible because I am currently free from the cultural obligation that will befall me when I am a married woman. If I am married, I don’t think I will have the time to ride my bicycle – being tied up with family, work, and ceremonies,” said Maha. Indeed, as a Balinese, she found joy and many splendour things about her own culture and natural heritage during her adventures on a bicycle.
She rarely ventures to the southern part of Bali due to its heavy traffic. “It frustrates me to ride in the central of Denpasar. Don’t even mention about the traffic in the tourist destination areas!” exclaimed Maha. As a Balinese woman, her definition of success is when she can create a harmonious relationship with her family.
Image courtesy of G.A. Dewi Mahayanthi