Category Archives: Interviews

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.


RICHEESE FACTORY | www.richeesefactory.com


Images by: Richeese Factory

This is the unedited version of the article

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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.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/expert-view

Images by: Passion

La Maison, The Mansion of Macarons (Passion, 2017)

As a newcomer in Jakarta’s fierce pastry shop competition, La Maison quickly announced itself as a pastry shop with an interesting specialty – macarons!

Established in 2011, the company actually started as an online shop. The drive to move forward came from the simple, pure love of baking of its owner Stella Lowis including the pursuit of building her own pastry shop one day.

For Ms. Lowis, her version of pastry shop should be a refined one, based also by her serious education background at Le Cordon Bleu, Australia. “I gained a lot of experience by working part time as a pastry chef at several restaurants and catering company that supplies pastry for five-star luxury hotels”, said Stella. When she returned to Indonesia, Stella worked together with his brother, Harryck Lowis, to experiment over many recipes until finally they’re ready to share it with everyone.

Persevering for several months initially, orders since then had been coming non-stop. After some time realizing, it’s time for her to build her first shop in Medan. Her unique take on pastry was warmly welcomed there. Years passing by and La Maison have started to take shape and grow into something more significant. Finally, it’s high time for her to spread out the wings of La Maison to Jakarta – the one city where appreciation of pastry is at its zenith in Indonesia.

Speaking about the characteristics of this pastry shop, La Maison is almost exclusively promoting a vast array of macarons – a complicated confection that has gained prominence over Indonesian pastry world for the past few years.

“This small tidbit requires delicate hands and a very complex balance between texture and flavor. Its smooth top, ruffled circumference, a flat base, has mild moistness, and it should easily melt in your mouth. Now that’s what we’re aiming for and the challenge proved to be exciting”, said Stella smiling vigorously.

Taking it to the next level, La Maison’s mind-blowing innovations are macaron flavors which are inspired by Indonesian cuisine – such as Nasi Uduk, Lemper Ayam, Martabak Bangka, or even Sate Padang. “One of our best-selling however, is the Salted Popcorn Macaron. Although people tend to perceive macaron as something sweet, the savory version is actually a success”, shared Ms. Lowis.

From the cakes department, Stella personally admits that each and every of them has to be made with passion by using the finest ingredients and decorated with utmost care. “Two things taken into consideration are taste and also the aesthetic elements”, she said. One of La Maison’s signature cake (and apparently everyone’s favorite) is the Mademoiselle – a refreshing take of almond cake with layers of fresh watermelon, strawberries, red dragon fruit, and decorated with red rose petals.

To fully proceed professionally, Stella observes the trend as well. “Locally speaking, pastry has come a long way in our country. People used to buy cakes only for special occasions but now they have found the simple pleasure of enjoying it any time”, she said. Her remark here pointed out how strategic this move to cater Jakartans who are increasingly fond of dining out and nibbling with pastry.

The pastry industry in Indonesia has grown exponentially for quite some time now and shops can be found in many corners of Indonesian cities. The global trends, more or less, influence the demands especially now in the digital era where customers can simply access interesting pastry innovations by browsing through the social media.

So the next question would be, what’s after this for La Maison? Stella is certainly aiming to expand to other cities and in-between, she hopes to engage in interesting collaborations with legends in pastry industry. What’s even bigger in mind for her though is to keep on improving and serving the best for her beloved customers. (RF)


LA MAISON | www.lamaison.com
Jalan Biduk no. 66, Medan
T: +62 821 6602 6668 / +62 61 4573 745
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 11am – 5.30pm

Grand Indonesia, East Mall – Jakarta
T: +62 811 987 6668 / +62 21 2358 1331
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10am – 10pm


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/la-maison-the-mansion-of-macarons

Images by: Passion

Kami, Indonesia! (Moments, Aug – Sept 2017)

“Wujud cinta dan bangga terhadap tanah air ada bermacam-macam. Empat anak muda ini bercerita.”

So that’s the standfirst from the article about the independence of Indonesia quoted from four “young people” – they say. While I might not be the youngest anymore , I do hope that my statement about the meaning of independence for this country will bring benefit for the readers and especially people in industries like journalism and F&B.

Please feel free to read about what I have to say about it and the magazine which you can download for yourself as well.

Enjoy!


Download here!
Moments Living World Edisi 3

Dapur Solo, More Than Just Tradition (mise en place, Vol 19 – 2017)

It is now only a year to go now until Dapur Solo, a Jakarta-based Javanese cuisine restaurant chain, commemorates its thirtieth year of existence. Like legends of prominent start-up businesses, Dapur Solo actually also started from a home garage, selling only rujak (Indonesian-style salad with spicy dressing) and fruit juices at that time.

The proprietress Mrs Swandani Kumarga began promoting her rujak to people in her neighborhood spreading pamphlets on a bicycle. Gradually, she began introducing traditional Central Javanese cuisine – particularly dishes coming from the city of Solo and Yogyakarta. She’s paying a tribute to her ancestral hometown’s recipes and from there, her business rose to prominence around the area of Sunter in Northern Jakarta.

Many years later, the same passion and perseverance remain. Hardworking and dynamic as always, Mrs Swan keeps herself in touch with many key aspects of the business. “Passion is key in F&B industy as we will not go far without it. You definitely have to know your customers better, recognize the best ingredients, and once you are bigger – quality control is number one”, shares the lady.

Mrs Swan now runs 15 outlets of Dapur Solo on a different scale – including five full-fledged restaurants and her more recent innovations such as the delivery outposts and an homage to traditional Indonesian desserts and snacks shop, branded as Iki Koue and Sowan.

Despite the business started from as far as 1988, Dapur Solo underwent major expansions which only took place just a decade ago. There was a drive behind all these changes and apparently, the reason was undoubtedly poetic.

“It all started with a dream”, says Mrs Swan. It’s a tag line also seen in one corner of her every restaurant. Her visionary goal is to promote Indonesian cuisine on international level and by that, there’s a perpetual need to expand. Even up until now, there’s only a handful of well-standardized Indonesian restaurant chain and mostly are only in Jakarta, with Dapur Solo as one of them. Competition is rather fierce, especially coming from the more experienced Western cuisine chain restaurants and people’s preference with that.

Mrs Swan was quick to open her second outlet on the wealthy Southern Jakarta neighborhood in 2007 and that was only a year after the re-branding campaign. As an avid marketer and quick learner, Mrs Swan knows really well on how to utilize young talents to create the whole new fresh look of her business, playing around with other initiatives such as the successful delivery system known as DS Lunch Box, and more recently – harnessing the power of social media.

Bestik

Even so, Dapur Solo is still pretty much conservative when it comes to bigger expansion plans. “We are expanding only by using our own capital. The thought of franchising the business was intriguing, but we do not want to compromise quality”, she says. She is lamenting the fact that many franchisees nowadays are more profit-minded rather than seriously involving themselves in the business.

Now as her Dapur Solo grows, the role of central kitchen and training center become more important than ever. Learning from all the trials and errors, Mrs Swan has created a unique logistics process – starting with devising right recipes since Indonesian cuisine is difficult to standardize, the division of roles between central kitchen and the outlets, the delivery scheduling, and other minute details.

Serabi

Additionally, Dapur Solo also boasts its value proposition to differentiate what it has to offer against the competition. Two things generally perceived immediately by people in general are that Indonesian food is supposedly cheap and that it can be found easily on the streets rather than at the restaurants. Mrs Swan quickly refute the arguments with several facts of her own.

“Certainly you can always choose cheaper options; but what we have to offer here is hygiene, the quality of water, authentic recipes, air-conditioned restaurants, and service. I have also appointed native greeters as my representative to give that Javanese hospitality, in addition to the Javanese feel that came from the restaurant’s design and the food itself”, she tells us.

Despite her conservative move all this time, Mrs Swan is still faithful with her dream to expand beyond borders, “If the time comes, probably we will need to come up with a smart collaboration plan with investors to open our outlet outside of Jakarta and even abroad”. She prefers to create an open managerial system as a way to keep balance between her family and the shareholders.

Moreover, the government is now more open than ever to promote Indonesian cuisine internationally. With their support, it would be easier for Dapur Solo with its immense experience to tackle issues abroad such as permits, export-import, location, as well as promotion.

Now with her daughter ready to take the rein anytime, it would be interesting to see what happens next. Because even at her age of 56 now, Dapur Solo still continue to surprise everyone here and one day – the most discerned diners abroad.


DAPUR SOLO | www.dapursolo.com


Images by: Dapur Solo