Marhaba had a quick chat with Chef Benjamin Cross, Executive Chef of Mejekawi by KU DE TA Bali, about taking over the kitchen of La Veranda at Sheraton Grand Doha and bringing Bali’s original sunset destination to Qatar for the upcoming Ultimate White Party at La Veranda!

Chef Benjamin Cross © Andrea Buenafe, Marhaba

La Veranda is opening the summer season with the biggest and trendiest party in town on 2 and 3 May 2018 for a two-night white party brought to you by the world-renowned beachside lifestyle destination, KU DE TA.

Chef Cross was invited by Sheraton Grand Doha to bring the KU DE TA concept to Qatar. ‘I came through in October on the way back from Europe and flocked off just for one night. I came to have a look at the space because Chef Mauro Bellodi, Sheraton’s Executive Chef, asked us about doing an event here so I came to have a look and that’s kind of where it was all born,’ he explained.

KU DE TA, widely known as Bali’s original sunset destination, is world-famous for its stunning beachfront setting, beautiful sunset views, fine cuisine, and its unique themed parties. Over the years, KU DE TA has become Bali’s most famous beach club. ‘KU DE TA is 18 years old this year. It’s a lifestyle concept from breakfast through lunch through sunset then on to dinner. And then late night, it has DJs playing all day, throughout. Music varies during the day. It’s quite ambient, relaxing music and then towards the evening, it picks up the tempo a bit as it gets later in the night,’ said Chef Cross.

Cross hails from a small village outside Byron Bay, Australia. He has travelled all around the world and worked in a number of prestigious restaurants. But how did the Australian chef end up in Bali? ‘It was purely by chance. I was going from Australia to Barcelona, stopped off at Bali on the way. I was asked by KU DE TA to help them out for a month. I did that then went to Barcelona then they offered to fly me back for two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s. And from there, they offered me a full-time position, which I agreed on. So it was all kind of by chance. It was nothing that was planned but it all fell into place,’ he explained.

Chef Benjamin Cross inside the La Veranda kitchen © Andrea Buenafe, Marhaba

Chef Cross began his career at the award-winning Rae’s on Wategos in Byron Bay.  ‘When I was younger, I was looking towards what careers I would like to do and then cooking came as an exciting opportunity because I always enjoyed cooking and I always wanted to travel. So it was kind of born through the essence of food, like being able to work, travel and experience different cultures – that was the driving force of my cooking,’ he explained. Since then, he has travelled the world honing his craft in a number of prestigious restaurants. He worked in the kitchens of some of Australia’s most prominent household names including Neil Perry, where he formed part of the re-opening team of XO before moving to become Sous Chef at Rockpool.

Enjoy unlimited hors d’oeuvres by KU DE TA’s Executive Chef Benjamin Cross and exquisite drinks by KU DE TA’s world-class mixologist, while a live DJ keeps the party going from 6 pm until late. Dress in your fanciest white outfit for the two-night party! Click here for details.

Venue: La Veranda, Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel

Date and time: 2 and 3 May, from 6 pm onwards

Ticket price: QAR220 per person, inclusive of two complimentary special beverages and unlimited pass-around food

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Written by Ola Diab; Photographs by Andrea Buenafe

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