Stuff of Legends: Sisca Soewitomo – The Cooking Show Lady (The Foodie Magazine, Jan 2014)

Sisca Soewitomo is probably the most familiar food personality on TV. She takes time our from her very hectic schedule to share her two cents worth about living the life of a cooking show host and best selling cookbook author. And while at it, we had a peek into the behind-the-scene story of her cooking show.

“Bon appétit!”, said Julia Child from a footage seen from a movie back in 2009 and hearing Meryl Streep say it using a high pitched voice resembling the real Julia was probably my most memorable scene of all.

Although Julia started late with her cooking career, she managed to write a revolutionary book that helped Americans deal with difficult French cuisine at a time when recipe translations were still hard to come by. Afterwards, she returned to the States and starred as the country’s most famous TV personality.

In another dimension during my teenage days, Indonesian TV world was also colored by the appearance of a local persona who cooked homemade dishes for years and the reruns are still being broadcasted by a different TV channel. Ibu Sisca Soewitomo is her name and it was her that I thought of when I finally knew a thing about Julia Child as they came from the same philosophy for their love of cooking but miles apart physically.

During my first ever encounter live, she appeared just like how I remembered from back then and I sometimes ponder how she can manage to stay young, because we all know that Sisca is a senior figure in the food world since the 70s and the first time I knew her was back in late 1990s.

It was a hot day and right on the plaza in front of The Ministry of Environment, Sisca played her familiar role for her new cooking show and drew the attention of many viewers there. She came in with a full crew to shoot one of those episodes for her latest cooking show. Although challenged by the weather, she showed her commanding aura and took care about many things such as the readiness of the stove, the pans, the ingredients, and even she corrected some stuff from the script as well to ensure the shooting went well. Even though this has become her routine, but it’s all about perfection for Sisca.

After she had demonstrated three recipes in front of the camera and audience, she also had a brief photo session with the fans. Exhausted after several hours of the filming, she sat down for a short break but clears her time for a brief talk with us down at the scene.

“The rule of thumb to become a good chef is simple: Keep on learning and be frank when you speak”, she said. Based on this philosophy, Sisca has also been known as a lecturer back in Trisakti tourism school for 18 years and a public speaker as well. Her current activities are filled with devising cookbooks which has numbered more than a hundred now and of course, her cooking shows.

“Most of the dishes from my cookbooks are relatively easy to make, but aside from reading the recipes carefully, a good kitchen will also help you to work things out easier’, she added. Suddenly I remembered that just now during the shooting, she worked on so many details and perhaps that’s her aesthetic to make everything work according as planned.

“Back when I was little, I learned a lot about cooking from my parents and so little restaurants could be found in Surabaya back in the 1950s”, she recalls. During her college years, she enrolled in medicine but decided to just explore the thing she really knew from the beginning – cooking.

As time goes by, her hard work received recognitions through scholarships in Taiwan and the United States. In her Trisakti days, she became the lecturer for several culinary personalities such as the late Chef Tatang or another cooking show maestro, Rudy Choirudin. Until finally in 1997, she debuted in her own cooking show.

At this juncture, all that she wishes is to continue the legacy she has built since the beginning and to contribute more for Indonesian cuisine as she emphasized it strictly that every Indonesian should preserve what the elders had passed on for us.

Working in the culinary field is a tough one as we all may know from a perspective of an outsider but for Sisca, it’s a matter about perseverance – especially in an instantaneous age where everyone could move around as they please and become whatever they want although many also face failures. A little bit of advice from her, ‘Be thankful with what you have, there’s no reason to give up because of small failures. If you love cooking so much, then continue to do so.”


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE January 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

The Foodie Magazine Instagram Contest: Where’s The Beef? (Until: 28 Feb 2014)

The Foodie Magazine - Instagram Contest Mar 2014

Calling all Foodiegrammers!

Join our monthly Things That Make You Go Yum – ttmygy food photo contest!

Next time you shoot and post, make sure you stick our hashtag!

This month’s theme: Where’s The Beef?


  1. Post your photos with the #ttmygy hashtag onto our Facebook Page or Instagram account. You can even hashtag some of the best photos you have taken in the past!
  2. The top three photos with the most Likes will win bragging rights, as well as meal vouchers and will be our guests at an upcoming Foodie Magazine event!
  3. Each participant is allowed to submit up to 5 photos only.
  4. Contest will close on February 28, 2014 and results will be announced on March 3.
  5. Winners will not only get a shoutout but will also be posted in the March issue of The Foodie Magazine.

What Chef Eats: Aditya Nathanael (The Foodie Magazine, Jan 2014)

‘There’s always time for steak!’, exclaimed the young and athletic chef, Aditya Nathanael, who took us on a tour of his favorite steak joint.

Which steakhouse in Cipete? Of course it’s none other than Abuba, well-known in Jakarta as a hugely successful local steakhouse. ‘Whenever I’m in the mood for a hearty steak. I come here, others might say I come too often!’, said the jolly chef.

For Aditya, his love for meat came from his training at Meat and Livestock Australia in Singapore. There he excelled not only in making the cuts but also in grilling them. ‘I came to appreciate restaurants which can grill their meats well. For me, Abuba has that consistency. Another thing I love is the babi guling from Warung Ibu Oka in Ubud, because of how delicate it is and they do it well all the time’, he added.

Aditya Nathanael - Abuba 2

His steak came and he added the extra rice which he ordered and put plenty of chili alongside the medium-grilled tenderloin – a kind of mixture that he likes a lot apparently. Somehow I can remember how people usually have their own formula of sambal, vinegar, and kecap manis for their bakso and that’s exactly what I saw with Aditya and his relationship with grilled, juicy beef!

Even with his diet, Aditya is aware on how to keep his good form. ‘Between my time running restaurant projects in Jakarta and Bali, I tend to eat a lot. But I compensate with my usual mixed martial arts training and CrossFit workouts’. So that’s the secret recipe then!

Various locations in Jakarta and Bandung
Twitter: @abubasteak


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE January 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict

Foodie Trailer: Pranzo di Ferragosto (Mid-August Lunch) (2008)

This might not be a film for everyone as it treads upon a relaxed tempo and features unpopular cast. However, what I really love about this movie is its honesty. There’s no non-sense here with its natural dialogues and events you’ll encounter in your daily lives.

The story is particularly about a middle-aged son who’s somehow pushed to bear a responsibility of hosting several elders while taking care his mother as well. The good thing is that he takes his responsibility seriously and enjoys his life also. This of course, thanks to food who again becomes a focal point for Italian people, in real life and in movies. Well, in one part we can see that Italy may not look so ‘la dolce vita‘ anymore but the film gives the country a renewed charm with the depiction of its society.

Full reviews will come sometime in the future alongside other delayed articles. I hope you do not mind waiting though! 😀

Taking It To The Streets: Sate Ayam Pak Muri (The Foodie Magazine, Jan 2014)

Although commonly eaten nighttime, but having an all-day famous satay hawker around the neighborhood is a great blessing indeed!

I remembered a story about from a fellow foodie friend of mine. Just a day before his wedding, he decided to add more merriment for the party with delicious satay from Sate Ayam Pak Muri. I didn’t really know why he decided to do it just one day prior since normally it won’t be doable, but he asked anyway. Convincingly Pak Muri told him, ‘No problem at all. We can handle sudden requests for up to 2,000 skewers a day!’ Long story short, it was a happily ever after story for my friend.

Sate Ayam Pak Muri - Take away please!

A few years later, we had a chance to visit this fantastic hawker located just across the Pertamina Hospital on the busy Jalan Kyai Maja. Parking your car might be a problem here as Sate Ayam Pak Muri shares the same place with other business establishments. The billowing smoke coming out of the grill was like a signal for us to show its location.

Sate Ayam Pak Muri - Sate Ayam

The satay brought to us was really tempting. Five skewers of chicken and five skewers of lamb satay, bathed in Indonesian much-loved peanut sauce and kecap manis, all showered with crispy fried shallots. Served on the side of these marvels were the rice cakes, sliced raw shallots and bird-eye chilies with freshly sliced tomatoes. Well, that may be a popular combination seen in common hawkers but Pak Muri has had this secret concoction inside both the meat and the sauce that make him miles ahead in the competition. The chicken cubes come in bigger sizes and are tender and juicy.

Curious with the never-ending stream of people leaving his stall with satay takeaway, I asked Pak Muri how many satay he sells everyday, to my surprise, the amount reaches more than ten thousand! That’s why it was a stroll in the park for him to accept any surprise request – even for weddings like my friend did.

Sate Ayam Pak Muri - Cutting the rice cakes

Great service is another forte after the delectable satay. Not only is their service flow efficient, it is supplemented with huge smiles and friendly gestures. Based on this, I believe that we will still see more from Pak Muri excellence in the satay business in the future.


Unsuitable for vegetarians

Address: Jalan Kyai Maja no. 21 (in front of Pertamina Hospital), Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening hours: Everyday, 10 am – 10 pm


Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE January 2014 edition

Download it for free here via SCOOP!

Photos by: Dennie Benedict