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Our Man in Holland: Lonny Gerungan

Dutch TV-Recording and Culinary Celebrity Lonny Gerungan Returns Home to Bali to Celebrate His 50th Birthday.


(5/13/2006)

A man who ranks among one of Holland's most recognizable celebrities – a singer, dancer, recording artist, TV host, culinary expert and cookery books author – traces his roots to the kitchen of Denpasar's Bali Hotel (now the Inna Bali Hotel).



Born to the "chef-kok" of the hotel on May 4, 1956, Marlon "Lonny" Gerungan was actually born in a back room of the hotel where his Father, John Gerungen, then ran the kitchen of what was the Island's busiest and most prestigious lodging place. Among those who paused in Bali and dined at tables set by Lonny's Dad were President Soekarno, Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard, Fred Astaire, Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward and Marlon Brando. In fact, the young American actor so impressed the kitchen staff of the Hotel that John Gerungen pledged to Mr. Brando, upon his departure from Hotel, that his forth Son would be named after him.

Lonny still marvels at the good fortune that allowed him to be born on an island that was the natural complement to his personal passions: music, dance and cooking. As he grew up on the grounds of a busy hotel, Lonny's playmates were the staff of the Hotel's kitchen whose recipes and kitchen lore supplanted the fairy-tales on which children in more conventional settings are weaned. When not busy stirring the ingredients for an evening banquet, the precocious "keukenkind" was entering and winning local dance and singing contests.

Europe Bound

Certain there was a larger world to explore, at the age of 21 Lonny set-off for Amsterdam where he moved in with relatives and accepted a job as a dishwasher at an Indonesian restaurant.

Testimony to the innate skills and focused determination of the man, just eight years after his arrival in Holland Lonny had become the Dutch speaking manager and host of the restaurant where he once washed the pots and pans. Shortly thereafter, he recruited his Sister and Mother from Bali and launched his own restaurant in Holland. Dressed in his trademark sarong and Balinese headdress udeng, the Balinese-style restaurant quickly became a culinary landmark welcoming international political and theatrical figures. While his guests supped on authentic Balinese cuisine, Lonny took to the restaurant's stage where his nightly singing appearances became the launching pad for his next career as an internationally known musical performer.

Guest appearances on Dutch TV led to recording contracts, special travel and cooking programs on TROS TV and eventually his own TV series. Equally at home singing traditional Indonesian pop songs or performing Jazz standards before a big band on international TV, Lonny's vast reservoirs of personal charm and talent never fail to amaze and mesmerize his audiences.

The head of his own entertainment and life-style enterprise, Lonny has produced 10 books, 12 CDs, and 9 DVDs; is an instantly recognized figure in a continuing series of appearances in travel documentaries, TV documentaries and a long-running weekly TV series; and the man behind a popular line of Indonesian food specialties produced under his name and found in every Dutch supermarket.

Happy Birthday - Hartelijk Gefeliciteerd!

To celebrate his 50th birthday, Lonny's traveled back to Bali with 2 TV crews from Holland to visit the haunts of his youth including the kitchen of the Hotel Bali. In a special evening of Balinese food, music and dance nearly 200 friends gathered at the Griya Gede Keniten in Sanur on May 6th to celebrate the half-century of this local boy made good.

To honor Lonny’s role as a "Goodwill Ambassador for Bali," Mr. Wisnu Wardana, Chief Editor of Bali Travel News presented a painting and an award certificate to one of Bali's favorite and most talented Sons.


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