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.
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.
Images by: Dwi N. Hadi