A taste of the White Island with Sid Shanti, an acclaimed private chef, celebrity caterer and a charismatic food entrepreneur. Absolute’s Kasia speaks to Sid about authentic Ibiza, his Sid Shanti & Co. ventures and The Ibiza Chili Co gastronomic creations. Bursting with Balearic flavours, he certainly turns on the Mediterranean heat.
Some might say – you are an Ibiza legend. The original Goa DJ, the King of Manumission, Ibiza’s celebrated private chef… what was the breakthrough moment for each of your career ‘big moments’?
Well, Ibiza legend I would say is a bit much even though flattering!
I’d say I have a great passion for what I do, what I create and I love the challenges that Ibiza presents on a daily basis, even though you can end up tearing your hair out. Luckily I have very little hair!
The big moments that stick in my mind are building the Shanti town and kitchen on the roof of the Manumission Motel back in 1999, where we cooked for hundreds of clubbers and socialites every Monday before the big party at Privilege. The open-air Mulletover parties we threw with Rob Star in, if I remember correctly 2007. The completion and publishing of my book Glorious Ibiza Food (&Music) in 2013 and more recently last year the release of my new range of hot sauce from Ibiza Chili Co.
Your real name is Lawrence Seidner? Does anyone still call you that?
Yes! My mother, family and relatives. Most people, however, know me as Sid.
Sid was my nickname at school from a very young age, taken from my Surname. Shanti came later as a DJ name after spending many years in Goa.
You were a professional DJ from the early 90s to 2001. What are you most memorable memories from behind the decks?
Being invited to play as the first western DJ to the Cherry Blossom festival in Yoyogi park in central Tokyo back in oh around 1994 probably.
Oh and the after party of total solar Eclipse of the sun in Venezuela in 1998 was pretty surreal. Manumission was a blast and closing the Space terrace back to back with DJ Alfredo was another highlight, there have been many over the years.
You once said that ‘the heartbeat of the Island remains the same’ – and that the Island wasn’t segregated. What did you like about Ibiza back before the digital, VIP age and now? Before clubs had roofs ;)…
Life has changed a lot in the last two decades not just on Ibiza but all over the world, and sadly i can’t see these golden years ever returning. Only 20 years ago people had time for actual real-time experiences, instead of living vicariously through a mobile phone which of course most now do in this modern technological age. Ibiza still holds great magic not just for all the local people and international residents but also for many of the visitors that come each year and then return the next, and this will never change.
Now let’s talk FOOD! With 15 years of experience cooking for various food connoisseurs, what is a typical Balearic cuisine?
My most enjoyable plate would be grilled Ibizan squid straight from the sea, triple fried Red Ibiza potatoes and a simple green, tomato and onion salad. But I would say a typical dish from the Balearic islands is the classic fish stew. Bullit de Peix.
You pride yourself on creating a bespoke culinary experience? How do you go about such tailored process?
Through consultations with a varied clientele and drawing on experiences, I have had the pleasure of enjoying over the years helps in this process.
Having an understanding of the local ways to do things and a phone book with varied contacts also helps immensely. Overall, even though a cliché, doing things with conviction, love and integrity are the basic principles.
What has been the most extravagant, ‘outrageous’ project to date?
Organising food and event production for Puff Daddy and his entourage. That was wild. As they say though, what goes on in Puff Daddy’s house stays in Puff daddy’s house.
You share some of your food secrets in your acclaimed book- Glorious Ibiza Food (& Music!). It’s a great mix of recipes and tips. How did you decide on what to write about? Shall we expect a follow-up?
I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge gained on and about the island to other people who may be thinking of moving to and working or living on Ibiza. The idea just came to me one day while I was cooking and thankfully I managed to succeed with the project with some great professionals around me. I have a follow up in the pipeline but my time at the moment is taken with the Ibiza Chili Co, and so there is no release date for this project yet.
I’m sure that especially in your early career you’ve had many sleepless late nights. What’s the best hangover food?
Bloody Mary with plenty of chilli sauce and a stick of celery. Add a shelled prawn if you’re feeling adventurous!
Do you create unique events? What does a VIP service entail?
Anything and everything a client may want, it is down to the personal taste of an individual. Although these days we are concentrating more on product development and trying to increase the awareness of our all natural hot sauces from Ibiza Chili Co. than producing the special events that we have done in the past.
We are working very hard to support the local economy and agricultural side of the island through this development.
What do music and food have in common?
Rhythm and the need to be created – and enjoyed – with love.
Who’s number 1 on your speed dial?
My Fiancé Nella
Can you share any quick summer recipe with our readers?
Crush two avocados, add one chopped shallot, one diced tomato, one crushed clove of garlic, a pinch of sal de Ibiza, dessert spoon of extra virgin olive oil and two tablespoons of Ibiza Chili Co Lave Verde hot sauce.
Serve chilled with tacos or wedge of crusty bread together with a cold beer or glass of Provence rosé.
Perfect for a lazy breakfast or lunchtime snack before hitting the beach!