While restaurants may still be the actors who shape our F&B industry in many terms, we must also not neglect the role of visionary young chefs of immense creativity who are starting to challenge the status quo. One of the fews is those who valiantly called themselves RFC – Real Food Concept!
In this line of work, I started to appreciate the values of not only the taste of the food, but also the story from behind it all. The stories about the chefs, ingredients, techniques used, the experience and even the vision that started it all.
Now let us meet the trio young guns who are still in their 20s, vigorous who formed RFC – Real Food Concept with their themed pop-up dinner events.
The authoritative yet charming figure that commands the group is none other but Chef Arnold Poernomo. Hailed as the up and coming talent during his first ever public appearance (from my point of view) at Jakarta Culinary Festival 2012, he continues to amaze the public with not only by his appearance in MasterChef Indonesia as a judge, but definitely with his talent and experience he has amassed since he’s only 14 back in Australia.
His comrades-in-arms are two lovely young chefs each bestowed with their specific talents. The first one is the adorable Chef Talita Setyadi, a bachelor of music who can really play her contrabass really well, now turning as a pastry prodigy thanks to her study and devotion in this particular culinary field. By the way, she’s going to open her pastry shop real soon, so you’d best catch up with her all the time through her exciting social media posts.
The last but not least is the cool Chef Angela Stasia, the owner of Marylebone premium catering service. As a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu London, she helms a seasoned team that excels in bringing in the best for her catering customers from serving premium canapes to private dinners and weddings.
The first ever RFC concept dinner was themed Ocean and successfully held last month in April only for media. The trio chefs creations were centered in how to give in the best from seafood, unique ingredients, playful in texture. I was really excited to see how they devised their own, fresh interpretations with seafood and how promising the start was, especially when Arnold himself announced to us that this is a start for us all Indonesians to be proud with our talents and creativity.
For the food, while only the desserts came solely from Talita’s creation, the snacks up to the mains were equally divided between Arnold and Angela. These were the treasures I unearthed during my frutti di mare expedition with RFC:
Arnold’s tuna and roe were like when you’re experiencing an easy day by the beach, taking a nap upon a hammock, while listening to the sounds of waves and the seagulls. It was mellow but rich in experience. Meanwhile, Angela’s interpretation of escabeche was adventurous and dynamic. The fish was boldly flavored and even she puts in the edible “sands” in-between them, thanks to the molgas technique of using maltodextrin.
Heading here, I have to give an immense credit for both the chefs with their fabulous inventions on how to mix and match so many ingredients and it all came with a beautiful plating. Chef Arnold’s decision to mix the richness of foie gras mousse with the fatty tuna slices was the real highlight of my dinner. Meanwhile, Chef Angela’s sea consomme was colorfully designed and appetizing every senses that I have. The taste was complex and yet satisfying.
Chef Arnold returned with more of his Japanese-y seafood interpretation and he combined shrimp and chicken here, while Chef Angela decided to sous-vide beef ribs for 24 hours and combined it with a really tasty squid ink gnocchi.
Finally it’s time for Talita to impress the audience and she did it so superbly. Talita decided to present her desserts in a way that people would think that it’s a seafood but in actual, they are the real closure of this intimate and full of joy dinner.
The first one was her interpretation of maki where she wrapped it with a spinach nori and filled it in with vanilla rice pudding. She uses also palm sugar caramel as the “soy sauce” and coconut pandan puree for the “wasabi“.
The second dessert was the one that received so many “oooh” and “yum” from the audience. Her seaweed ice cream was unique and powerful, but it received great compliments from the mung bean crumbles and Valrhona Caramelia with saba ganache purple sweet potato.
The last one, she decided to take us on a tour deep inside the dark ocean with her interpretation of “Depth”. Everything felt dark from the dessert but that doesn’t mean the flavor gets bitter as well. There were brioche made into charcoal colored crumbs, couscous made from black quinoa, sweet honeycomb, and the brave squid ink ice cream. That’s a really bold move there!
It feels like a bright future of Indonesian culinary world has finally unveiled itself with the appearance of these young guns. In time they will turn to become more mature and way more creative than now, and that’s why we should never overlook this kind of progress despite the pros and cons of people would say about them.
Instead, supporting the cause would even be something that ignite not only these fellows’ progress but also incites the talented rest who probably now remains unnoticed. The mission for RFC is after all, to bring Indonesia to the next level and the culinary world is a one, great start for the country and its fine citizens. Thank you for the great show, RFC!
JL. Gandaria I No. 63, Jakarta – Indonesia