Chef Woro Prabandari: Aspiring Beyond Loyalty (Passion, 2017)

There’s more to it than just loyalty from the prolific chef Woro Prabandari. For more than two decades now and a title of Executive Pastry Chef at Grand Hyatt Jakarta, the motherly chef shared PASSION the recipe for excellence in career and balancing it with family and pastime.

How did you find out about your passion with pastry?

I think it’s because at one point during my childhood, I started giving a hand to my mother when she’s in the kitchen. For some reason, I had always been keen with baking and we started by making the classic stuff. My mother used to cook for events at my father’s office, so that’s how I became accustomed with the know-hows in the kitchen and became serious at it.

How was the beginning of your love story with Hyatt?

After some time seeing myself really into cooking, my parents decided to enroll me to hospitality school and ever since day one I already focused myself with pastry. Before my graduation, I applied for internship at Hyatt and got accepted. As you can see, the rest is history.

Care to tell us a bit about your career here until you reach this height?

Initially I was assigned as part of the pre-opening team for Grand Hyatt Jakarta and received training at Hyatt Aryaduta. In the early nineties perhaps only a handful of five-star hotels can be found in Jakarta and expatriates were so many back then. However, seeing that only a few women were in professional pastry industry at that time, I decided to prove my mettle and spend the extra hours refining my skills.

I took the opportunity to train also whenever I can with fellow pastry chefs after hour, and the veterans. For example since the beginning of my career there’s Mr Gottfried Schützenberger, Hyatt international pastry legend, and one time I was also tutored by Pierre Hermé himself.

Chef Passion Media

What was the turning point of your career?

Professional competitions. Singapore was hosting 1992 Salon Culinaire and I volunteered to participate in the tournament with a small team. Working in the kitchen requires me at least 12 hours a day and we had to focus only with work. Only then after working hours, the team gathered to spend the extra time for planning and practicing. I usually got home late around midnight and had to be back at work again at 7am the next day!

Our sacrifice was not without reward. We won the gold medal for dessert platter category and I got promoted not long. Apparently the company appreciated the effort!

The following Salon Culinaire competitions were held in Jakarta and I participated again, until finally I was appointed as Pastry Chef back in 1998. Now I’m giving the rein to younger chefs and enjoy tutoring them for competitions.

What are your plans after you retire in the future?

There are so many offers asking me to teach. I’d really like do that in the future!

We heard that you like traveling. Tell us a bit about that.

Traveling is something that I do from time to time with the family. I take pleasure by dedicating myself for the company and rarely take a leave. That’s why I have so many days to spend for holiday!

Recently we went to Bali with the whole family – me, my husband, and our three sons. We prefer visiting beaches and of course, eating. Having a privilege as part of Hyatt family enables me to visit their properties everywhere in the world. Certainly going with the whole family is important to maintain the work-life balance.

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Images by: Dwi N. Hadi


Richeese Factory, More Than Just Fried Chicken (mise en place, Vol 20 – 2017)

Indonesia is no stranger when it comes to American-style fried chicken. The dish is widely considered as the cornerstone of Western cuisine influences for the masses in the country. It dates back to 1979, sparked by the pioneer Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Followed suit by McDonald’s in 1991, the country has seen the ups and downs of Western-style fast food industry from both foreign and local brands. Fried chicken however, has solely been very successful in gaining immense influence over Indonesian palate over the years that it has driven most of the brands to actually adapt and develop their own formula of the dish.

Even on this day, decades apart since its first inception; crispy fried chicken can commonly be found on street carts in residential neighborhoods – both privately owned or franchised. Some brands aim for presence at shopping malls, while others are also confident in presenting themselves as standalone restaurants.

Fried chicken is known not just for its delicious, crispy skin and flavorful meat which was previously marinated with spices; Indonesia also has seen creative innovations applied on the original recipe. The local rising star Richeese Factory has its own uniqueness regarding this.

But quite curiously, Richeese Factory was not a fast food chain to begin with. It was originally, and still, a business unit owned by Nabati Group known for its cheese-based snacks, crackers and wafers branded also as “Richeese”. Back in 2011, the group opened its first outlet in Bandung and Richeese Factory is among the few who are confident enough with opening both at shopping malls and as standalone restaurants.

Aside from Jakarta and its neighboring satellite cities, Richeese Factory has expanded as well to Semarang, Solo, Malang, Surabaya, and heading east to Bali. It’s also pioneering its presence to smaller cities like Garut, Cirebon, and Tegal. Yogyakarta would be the next city to anticipate a new opening towards the end of 2017.

From the menu, Richeese Factory cleverly took the advantage of Indonesian people curiosity and palate that fancies the spicier side of food in general. With addition to the use of cheese sauce which differentiates Richeese Factory than the rest of the competition, it also provides several degrees of spiciness that customers can choose for their fried chicken treats.

With 60 outlets in its possession now, Richeese Factory employs a highly standardized operating procedure that will ensure consistency from production and down to the frontline and QC. Periodically, reviews are conducted and socialized to every single crewmember, with the addition of strict audit from the HQ.

The headquarters also devises a system that ensures the logistics efficiency, especially to suit the company’s expansionist strategy. Richeese Factory, as we know it, will open their first outlets outside of Java in Makassar and Balikpapan later this year.


Images by: Richeese Factory

This is the unedited version of the article

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants to be Held in Macao in 2017 and 2018

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, has announced that Macao will host the 2018 and 2019 editions of its prestigious awards.

On Tuesday 27th March 2018, the region’s most respected chefs and influential restaurateurs, together with leading industry figures and international media, will gather at Wynn Palace Cotai for the announcement of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 list and special awards.

The new destination for the 2018 and 2019 awards ceremonies was announced at a media conference hosted by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and the Macao Government Tourism Office at Wynn Palace, which was followed by a celebratory lunch at Andrea’s restaurant. Attendees included local restaurateurs, industry VIPs and media as well as regional chefs, including Richard Ekkebus, Shinobu Namae and May Chow. 

The organisers of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants have chosen to bring this best-in-class gourmet platform to Macao in order to showcase its fast-expanding gastronomic portfolio, as well as celebrate outstanding talent from across Asia.

William Drew, Group Editor of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, says: “After three years in Singapore and two in Bangkok, we are thrilled to announce Macao will be the host destination for the sixth and seventh editions of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. Macao’s rich history is reflected in the diverse food culture and vibrant restaurant scene.”


Kopi Turki: Tetap Dinikmati Meski Dengan Ancaman Hukuman Mati

Peradaban ini melaju kencang berkat kopi. Konon minuman bersejarah ini yang menjadikan manusia melek secara lahiriah maupun secara intelektual. Manusia berkumpul di depan banyak cangkir kopi untuk sekadar menemani kesendirian, bercengkerama, hingga menyelamatkan dunia!

Tidak salah bila mungkin terselip di antaranya, ngopi menjadi bagian dalam budaya keseharian agar disebut “keren” ataupun tergolong dalam jamaah “hipsteriyah”. Sehingga diakui maupun tidak, kopi menjadi pemicu lahirnya banyak gagasan. Kopi menjadi titik tengah sebuah negosiasi alot, kopi menjadi teman hidup di kala tenggat waktu mulai memberikan tekanan, dan kopi menjadi pusat perhatian di era yang sangat mementingkan gaya hidup ini.

Kopi adalah segalanya! Di masa ini dan ternyata di masa lalu juga.


Adalah abad ke 16 dan ke 17 yang menjadi saksi bisu pertama bahwasanya kopi adalah dua sisi mata uang berbeda – sebuah ritual yang sakral bagi sebagian kalangan dan banyak manusia sesudahnya. Sekaligus juga kopi dianggap menjadi deviasi dari beberapa perspeksi yang spesifik.

Kita lalui cepat asal mula legenda kopi yang datang dari negeri Ethiopia hingga ia bersandar di Yaman selama berabad-abad lalu kemudian ditemukan oleh seorang gubernur Kesultanan Turki Utsmani bernama Ozdemir Pasha. Masalah waktu spesifiknya masih diperdebatkan hingga sekarang, namun intinya sang gubernur memperkenalkan kopi ke kalangan istana pada masa kekuasaan Sultan Suleiman Yang Agung.

Agar lebih informatif, ada juga versi yang menceritakan bahwa kopi awalnya diperkenalkan dua pedagang dari Damaskus dan Aleppo yang kemudian membuka kedai kopi pertama dengan nama Kiva Han di distrik Tahtekale di ibukota Istanbul. Yang jelas dari kedua versi ini, Kesultanan Turki Utsmani memiliki peranan awal yang penting dalam persebaran kopi di dunia pada abad-abad berikutnya.

Ketika kopi dianggap sebagai sebuah tren positif

Sultan Suleiman Yang Agung dengan cepat mengapresiasi kenikmatan secangkir kopi. Ia kemudian memerintahkan agar kopi disempurnakan penyajiannya dan menjadi minuman wajib di istana.

Maka lahirlah sebuah profesi yang dinamakan “kahveci usta” atau “kahvecibaşı” yang padanannya di masa kini adalah semacam “barista” atau yang bertanggung jawab atas kopi dan seduhannya khusus untuk kalangan istana. Konon bahkan terdapat catatan adanya para petinggi istana yang awalnya merupakan para “chief barista” ini dan ada yang berkarir hingga sebagai Wazir Agung (Perdana Menteri).


Tidak lama tren kopi kemudian menjalar ke kalangan bangsawan dan orang kaya. Akhirnya kopi menjadi santapan sehari-hari segenap rakyat Turki Utsmani. Kedai kopi menjadi tempat masyarakat berkumpul, membaca buku, bermain catur dan backgammon, berdiskusi mengenai literatur dan puisi, dan tentunya untuk berbicara soal bisnis. Mengiringi kegiatan-kegiatan tersebut, muncullah banyak pertunjukan seni seperti Karagoz (wayang khas Turki), pantomim, serta acara musik.

Ketika rakyat jelata menemukan kesenangan baru dan banyaknya potensi untuk membuka cakrawala keduniawian, rupanya ini mengundang kernyitan dari beberapa pihak – khususnya bagi yang memiliki kepentingan dengan kekuasaan. Bahkan tidak lama sejak kopi menanjak popularitasnya, pemerintah kemudian membredel gaya hidup ini bahkan dengan ancaman hukuman mati!

Ketika kopi menjadi tabu

Bila diperhatikan lebih jauh, permasalahan yang dipandang saat itu sebetulnya cukup akrab dengan apa yang terjadi di masa kini. Begitu banyaknya pilihan gaya hidup kekinian seolah membuat mereka yang baru mencobanya langsung seperti tenggelam dalam keseruannya.

Contoh, berapa banyak misalnya orang tua yang tidak senang bila anaknya terlalu berlama-lama bermain online game atau bermain dengan teman-teman barunya hingga larut malam. Ini adalah kasus klasik yang selalu berulang formulanya dengan presentasi yang berbeda-beda.


Rakyat Turki saat itu lazimnya mengunjungi tiga tempat dalam kesehariannya: rumah, tempat kerja, dan mesjid. Kedai kopi hadir menjadi tempat keempat dimana banyak dari mereka yang telah begitu menikmatinya malah menjadi abai dengan kewajiban-kewajibannya yang lain.

Masalah ini disuarakan awalnya oleh para ulama dan mereka menghimbau rakyat untuk tetap meluangkan waktu ke mesjid ketimbang terlalu berlama-lama di kedai kopi. Banyak kesempatan dimana para ulama bekerja sama dengan pemerintah untuk menata masyarakat dengan cara yang persuasif. Namun bagi pihak istana, ada yang memandang bahwa terlalu betahnya rakyat di kedai kopi justru malah mengundang munculnya percakapan yang mengarah ke arah-arah subversif sehingga mereka mempersiapkan hukuman keras bagi para pelakunya.

Kopi menjadi minuman terlarang pada kekuasaan Sultan Murad IV. Konon sang sultan sendiri akan berpatroli di malam hari dengan menggunakan baju preman dan akan menghukum mati mereka yang kedapatan tengah menyeruput kopi. Setiap saat ia akan membawa algojo untuk menghukum mati di tempat.

Penerus Sultan Murad bersikap lebih lunak dan melalui Wazir Agung Köprülü Mehmed Pasha, tetap melarang keras keberadaan kedai-kedai kopi dan mengancam pelakunya dengan hukuman cambuk hingga ditenggelamkan bila kedapatan melakukan pelanggaran secara berulang.

Menurut Stewart Allen, penulis dari The Devil’s Cup: Coffee, The Driving Force in History, Sang Wazir sendiri sempat mengunjungi kedai kopi dan mendapati bahwa mereka yang meminum kopi berbeda dengan yang meminum alkohol. “Orang yang meminum alkohol akan mabuk dan bernyanyi, sementara yang meminum kopi akan tetap tersadar dan berkomplot melawan pemerintah”, begitu sahutnya.


Seperti yang bisa diduga, peraturan ini kemudian dibatalkan akibat adanya perlawanan keras dari masyarakat. Tentu tidak gratis, pemerintah kemudian memberlakukan pajak tinggi untuk konsumsi kopi. Meskipun demikian, keadaan berangsur-angsur pulih di Kesultanan Turki Utsmani.

Ketika kelak kopi merambah ke negeri-negeri Eropa, para penguasa juga menjadi kegerahan karena potensi-potensi subversif dikarenakan gaya hidup ngopi masyarakatnya. Para dokter di Eropa hingga mengatakan bahwa terlalu banyak minum kopi akan menghisap semua cairan di otak dan menyebabkan kelumpuhan. Para wanita di Inggris juga menghardik para lelaki yang meminum kopi karena justru itu akan membuat mereka impoten.

Konon terdapat satu cerita mengenai Paus Clement VII ketika pertama kali mencoba kopi. Yang ia rasakan sesudahnya adalah kekaguman, penasaran, dan kemudian ia menangis. Ketika ditanya mengapa ia kemudian menjawab, “Minuman setan ini sangat nikmat sehingga sayang bila hanya dinikmati oleh orang Muslim saja. Kita akan menipu para iblis dengan membaptis mereka dan menjadikan minuman ini minuman Kristen!”

Akhirul kalam

Ya, begitulah kopi. Sebuah minuman yang populer untuk khalayak ramai, namun selalu ditantang keberadaannya oleh para penguasa.

Coffee shop di Turki masa kini

Tapi bagaimana dengan masa kini menurut Anda? Semakin banyaknya kedai kopi tentu akan menjurus masyarakat membicarakan banyak hal mulai dari bisnis, kreatif, hingga politis dan ideologis. Selama itu sehat dan aman, bisa saja pemerintah manapun tidak perlu kuatir – terlebih kini di era demokrasi yang memberikan kepuasan “semu” bagi rakyatnya atas pejabat yang mereka pilih.

Mungkin saja akan selalu ada agen-agen pemerintah yang selalu berjaga di satu sudut seperti yang kita lihat di film-film masa Perang Dingin. Ataukah di era kapitalisme ini, rakyat sudah cukup terpuaskan dulu dengan derasnya pembangunan infrastruktur dan banyaknya tunjangan? Mari kita lihat kiprah kedai kopi dan kaitannya dengan masyarakat di era modern ini untuk selanjutnya.



Gambar sampul:

Original link: (gastroficionado)

Chef Jose Pelo: Talking Trends With Joy (Passion, 2017)

A life without chocolate is a life without joy. Jose Pelo or known by his friends as Joy, is a well-known chocolatier, patissier, and a food business consultant. 

Today, he is sharing his two cents about the Indonesian food trends in 2017.

Chef Passion Media

Living in Indonesia for quite some time now Jose Pelo has seen enough actions from the ever-evolving culinary world. That brings us right away to the main questions on how he would perceive food trends in general from his extensive experience as well as foreseeing what’s hot this 2017 in Indonesia.

To start, how the food trends evolve in Indonesia may seem very straightforward, thanks our country’s openness towards foreign influences. Television may have played an important role so far, but now we are more exposed with social media, the arrival of celebrity chefs, or sometimes quite surprisingly by businesses who are bringing the trends from abroad.

Suffice to say in Jakarta alone, each trend usually peaks for at least a year from the past decade. You might still remember when your family brought home the Red Velvet Cake or cronuts for your afternoon tea companion. Not long, Korean and Japanese pastry influences have been joining the fray to keep the selections varied – each with their own distinctions.

Year after year, you can never guarantee which trend that will give huge impact. Even so and yet arguably, Indonesians are highly curious folks and they’re more than willing to spend more trying something new and products with higher quality. That can be seen at how Indonesians are now becoming very familiar with spending on wagyu rather than local beef, as an example.

As an expert, Joy certainly has something to say about it. He’s putting the same notion that people are willing to spend more and more each year, despite Indonesian volatile economy.

“It’s not like 5 to 10 years ago when only business owners who were willing to invest more on higher quality products. People wouldn’t buy it though since it was expensive”, explains Joy.

He remembers the time when a number of Indonesians used to travel abroad to as far as France, The States, or Japan just to acquire special ingredients. “For example – the chestnut puree for Mont Blanc which was expensive, in addition also for the cream and chocolate. Now it’s easy to get those ingredients here”, he says.

Local ingredients back then were used as a substitute, due to the unavailability for the original ingredients or raw materials which are produced only abroad – like the premium frozen fruit, puree, and coulis for example. “Before we’d use local puree made from banana, strawberry, or other fruits which are native here. Now, premium brands such as Ravifruit or Boiron are readily available”, continues Joy, remarking also that these particular ingredients are now used more and more in gourmet pastry world.

“So if you’re asking me about the trend this year, then it goes for the cheese tart”, says Joy. Originated from Japan, the indulging baked cheese tart has already gained fame since late 2016 at Jakarta’s prominent shopping malls and shows no sign of stopping soon come 2017. Quite interestingly, BAKE as the original inventor of this dessert has not yet expanded to Indonesia, but instead, several players who have seen its potential introduced their versions to the market.

As for Joy personally, chocolate will always be his number one. He’s also introducing the prototype of his latest chocolate product innovation which will be unveiled within several months. While industrial chocolate is somewhat common in Indonesian market, Joy has many hopes that it will penetrate the huge market that this country traditionally has. Especially now that Indonesians know more about the higher grade couverture instead the traditional use of compound chocolate.

“To sell couverture even for 1% of Indonesian population is already promising business!” exclaims Joy. However using fully single origin cocoa might not be the right strategy for industrial chocolate. “Even so, using it as a marketing gimmick would make people curious”, shares the chef.

What remains to be seen this 2017 might be an adventure itself for us all. One thing for sure, Indonesia is a hungry market that keeps on learning more and more about food. Aspiring young guns with huge talent on pastry and business will be sure to break the barrier that the older generations have created and they will be the ones who are paving the way for the millennials to aspire or to experience the finer things in life.

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Images by: Passion

The exciting gastronomic escapades of a foodie journo!

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