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James Sebastiano

Bali’s first completely raw vegan restaurant Alchemy is coming to Seminyak and will be part of the Katamama community. We caught up with co-owner James Sebastiano to talk about why his restaurant is different from the rest and what people can expect at the new Alchemy.


Alchemy is one of the must-visit culinary destinations in Ubud. Why have you decided to open a second location in Seminyak?

Many of our customers and friends have been asking us to open in the south for years now, so I have no doubt that the new Alchemy will meet or exceed the success that we have been fortunate enough to create in Ubud. We are all very excited to bring Alchemy to Seminyak. It’s been a long time coming and we have been looking and waiting patiently for the right location to present itself. What better place then the Katamama community, located next to Potato Head Beach Club! The opportunity to bring healthy food and juices to the Seminyak crowd is fantastic.

What can people expect from Alchemy in Seminyak?

You can expect to see a new look and feel for the Alchemy brand. That isn’t specifically for Seminyak, we decided to update the look of our concept previously and the Seminyak location gave us another opportunity to display our new aesthetic. I can’t say too much more without giving it away, but exciting and refreshing times are ahead.

There is an abundance of organic, vegetarian, vegan and health restaurants in Bali, how is Alchemy different?

Alchemy was the first 100 percent raw vegan cafe in Indonesia. That in itself gave us a bit of a boost. In combination with being first, we strive to provide the healthiest, freshest food and recipes that we can. We have been sourcing from the same farm since the day we opened and are truly excited and happy with the quality of produce that we provide at Alchemy. Our concept, our food and the love that our team puts into the recipes on a daily basis is something that we strive to maintain and develop on a daily basis.

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You also do a fair bit of travelling, how do you manage to see the world and balance your day-to-day duties at Alchemy?

Travelling is my No. 1 source of education. I have been fortunate enough to travel quite often which has given me the opportunity to stay up to date on what is happening in the world. Everywhere I go I am always on the hunt for the best vegan food and products so I can bring that knowledge back to Bali and share it with our customers. I am not hands-on in every project, in Alchemy, in particular we have an amazing team of cofounders and team members that do such an amazing job. The ability to juggle becomes much easier when you know that you have a team - a family - that you can rely on when you are not around.

We’ve met some of your business partners, who all come from different walks of life. How do you all divide up the roles and responsibilities at Alchemy?

I think the way we operate works really well for us. I believe our key principle is to let people do what they love to do. For example, Shanti [Allen] is the brain behind our recipes and the heart in our kitchen. She knows her stuff and no one questions that. We do our best to stay out of her way, which allows her the freedom to do what she loves. If everyone is empowered to do what they love to do, differentiating the roles in the company becomes quite easy.

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Besides raw food, what the top five things that you love and can’t live without?

Chocolate, I am a milk-free chocolate fanatic! I also love to travel, I love to take photographs and make films. Mediation is part of my daily routine, I start my day with mediation and gyrotonics. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, and most importantly, I love sharing experiences with people. Creating spaces and opportunities where other people can be happy is my passion.

What’s coming up in the near future for Alchemy?

We just finished renovation at the Alchemy in Ubud and Alchemy at Katamama is due to open mid-March. What’s next is a mystery. I would personally love to see an Alchemy-type cafe in every city on earth. Maybe too ambitious? Let’s see!

Visit the website http://alchemybali.com/.