Chef Hengky Efendy of The Belly Clan displays his mastery of Pan-Asian flavors as he shares with us fanciful ways to cook chicken.
Since 2012, the young and gifted Chef Hengky Efendy has been at the helm of The Belly Clan’s kitchen and has adapted really well with the restaurant’s forte. Known for assimilating the best from cuisines from around the globe into its dishes. Yes, it’s the genre of cooking which many call fusion, but let us be clear, this is not “fusion confusion” which other restaurants often make huge mistakes with.
Fusion was never easy, which is precisely why Chef Hengky was brought in at the first place. As a graduate of NHI Bandung, the chef has been around the world for more than a decade to work at many restaurants and hotels. Achievers from this hospitality school are known as those who have gone through so many countries and the chef is definitely one of these people.
We may call Chef Hengky’s travels a fruitful adventure, since he has worked in various countries including Japan, the Maldives, and Switzerland; but his biggest break was when he joined the ranks of Gordon Ramsay’s team and worked at three different restaurants in three different countries. Hengky has been to Savoy Grill in London with Chef Marcus Wareing and he continued his journey and moved to Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York. And finally, he was taken under the wing of Chef Josh Emett as a sous chef at Maze in Melbourne.
Naturally born with instincts as a family guy, Chef Hengky decided to return back to Indonesia and marry the girl of his dreams whom he met when he was still in Japan. Upon returning to Indonesia, it only took him on a while to land himself a job as the head chef of The Belly Clan.
Among his creations at the restaurant are the Singaporean chili crab presented with fettuccine, beef ribs with green chili sambal, soba noodle with Carbonara sauce, barramundi with sambal matah, and panna cotta in black sesame sauce. I personally tried these and they cling onto my mind until this day as memorable dishes combining techniques and flavors from both the East and West.
Chef Hengky backs us up in this issue with his chicken recipes that you can cook at home or you can swing by The Belly Clan if you are like me, lazy to cook! For a good brunch, the chicken club sandwich was all you could ask for and it came with a thick fillet of sauteed chicken breast with beef bacon, mayo, kyuri, egg, and fries. If you fancy soup for a starter, Chef Hengky has the Asian-style chicken soup with the heady flavor of lemongrass, together with ginger, red chili, and coconut milk. However, my favorites are his two great chicken dishes, the chili pesto chicken and the roasted Cajun chicken, both winning on their own merits.
His immaculate pesto recipe that brings out its true flavor and fragrance went well with the chicken and the fusion element he brought along with it was the potato balado. Ultimately the roast Cajun chicken was not short of flavor as well and the chicken reminded me brought me to the imaginary world of the bygone eras reminiscent of the scenes from the movie, The Help.
Chef Hengky’s expertise honed from working all over the world, brings forth dishes which are mature, flavorful and hearty, blending together inspirations from the locales he has worked at, all coming together to honor our featured ingredient this month, chicken.
To be continued on the next post with recipes from Chef Hengky:
THE BELLY CLAN | Intiland Tower, Jalan Jend. Sudirman Kav. 32, Jakarta | T: +62.21.5790.6000 | www.thebellyclan.com
Featured in THE FOODIE MAGAZINE June 2014 edition
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Photos by: Dennie Benedict