Category Archives: Interviews

Food Blogging: Hobby, Idealisme, Jurnalisme Tentang Rasa (Fimela – September 21, 2012)

My thanks to Fimela.com and Mr Stanley Dirgapradja for the brief but meaningful phone interview last September. Hereby I wish to share you all the article here and this is definitely a milestone for me to keep on pursuing my passion in writing and to share it with you all.

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FOOD BLOGGING: HOBBY, IDEALISME, JURNALISME TENTANG RASA

By: Stanley Dirgapradja

Beberapa tahun terakhir blogging sudah menjadi bentuk media segar di mana siapapun bisa menulis tentang apapun yang mereka inginkan. Fashion blogger perlahan diperhatikan oleh media lain yang lebih serius. Di luar sana, blogger-blogger itu juga menulis tentang hal lain, termasuk makanan.

Menarik untuk melihat pesatnya perkembangan media saat ini. Beberapa tahun lalu, tidak ada yang menganggap serius apa yang ditulis oleh para blogger. Menganggap mereka hanya sekumpulan hipster yang menemukan mainan baru dan isi blog mereka hanya curahan hati tidak penting. Now? Tidak seperti itu lagi.

Saat ini sudah banyak fashion blogger yang menjadi referensi media besar dan bahkan menjadi konsultan untuk media-media tersebut. Bagaimana dengan counterpart mereka? para food blogger. Sama halnya seperti fashion blogger, hanya saja mereka menulis tentang makanan di blog mereka.

FIMELA.com berbincang dengan Rian Farisa. Rian memiliki food blog gastronomy-aficionado.com (sebelumnya bernaung di domain wordpress) dan sedang merintis sebuah blog lain yang diharapkan mampu menaungi food bloggers (fbiters.wordpress.com) lain di tanah air.

Rian mengaku ‘baru’ menjadi food blogger selama 3,5 tahun terakhir. Laki-laki yang memiliki latar belakang pendidikan di bidang perbankan ini awalnya hanya menulis blog sebagai hobi. “Saya suka menulis. Saat itu memutuskan untuk menulis blog dalam bahasa Inggris karena keinginan pribadi saja. I have other blogs about my other interests, tapi food blog ini juga saya tangani dengan serius,” jelas Rian yang kami hubungi via telepon.

Rian ingat bahwa restoran pertama yang ia review adalah sebuah restoran Jepang di daerah Sudirman, di dekat kantor lamanya. ”Sekarang sudah tutup. Dan sudah saya cantumkan di blog saya juga kalau restoran itu sudah tutup,” cerita Rian sambil tertawa.

Rian mengatakan dari awal memulai blog ia sudah ingin agar tulisan yang ia pakai di blognya tetap memenuhi standar jurnalisme, tapi juga tetap kasual. “Blog harus punya ciri khas pribadi pemiliknya. Standard proper writing, but with personal touch. Dulu banyak yang bilang review makanan saya lebih nyinyir, tapi setahun terakhir malah pada nanya kok nggak nyinyir lagi,” Rian tertawa di ujung kalimatnya.

Food blogger sudah pasti harus suka makan. Malah kalau kita bertemu food blogger yang makannya cuma sedikit kita merasa aneh,” dia tertawa lagi. “Pengalaman tentunya akan membantu kita untuk semakin artikulatif dalam menulis. Jadi tulisan kita juga semakin berkembang. Masalah jam terbang dan juga aktivitas di blog.”

“Lima tahun lebih yang lalu sudah ada food bloggers sebenarnya, tapi memang sangat sedikit. Social media platform juga belum ada, jadi tidak banyak interaksi. Setahun terakhir jumlahnya semakin banyak, makanya saya dan teman-teman menginginkan supaya ada wadah ini. Konsep ke depannya masih harus kita bahas, tapi paling tidak semua sudah memiliki arah yang jelas bahwa komunitas food blogger ini ingin kita seriuskan,” jelas Rian yang akhirnya memilih untuk meninggalkan pekerjaannya di bidang perbankan dan menjadi full time blogger/writer.

Sudah seserius itu sampai meninggalkan pekerjaan hariannya? “Aktivitas semakin banyak dan rasanya mustahil membagi waktu dengan pekerjaan menulis saya,” aku Rian yang sesekali menjadi kontributor (tetap untuk makanan) dan beberapa kali muncul di Televisi dalam kapasitasnya sebagai food reviewer. Rian sudah menyikapi food blog nya secara profesional sejak tahun 2010. Saat ia mulai menerima undangan-undangan untuk me-review makanan di restoran dan blog nya semakin banyak dibaca orang.

Secara pribadi Rian menjadikan Sam Sifton, seorang kolumnis di New York Times. “Tulisannya tentang makanan panjang, tapi punya style. Tulisannya renyah, tajam, tapi tetap dekoratif. Saya banyak belajar dari tulisannya.”

Being acknowledged is nice. Bukti bahwa tulisan kita diapresiasi. Tapi saya nggak ingin kehilangan kepribadian saya. Kalau ada blogger yang menulis dan dibayar itu sudah ranah yang sangat pribadi. Itu terserah mereka. Sekarang bukan hanya restoran yang melirik kita untuk datang dan menulis tentang makanan mereka. Resorts juga sudah aware akan keberadaan food blogger,” papar Rian yang baru kembali dari Marina Bay Sands juga atas undangan sebuah resort di di sana.

“Saya memilih untuk fokus dengan pekerjaan menulis saya karena akhirnya saya bisa memiliki waktu lebih untuk keluarga saya. Saya juga bisa menulis apa adanya dan berkesempatan untuk lebih belajar tentang tulis menulis,” lanjut Rian lagi. “Tentunya kita senang saat media yang lebih besar sudah memperhatikan kita dan apa yang kita tulis. But the bloggers have to keep their standard, live up their passion,” tandasnya.

Hanya bersenjatakan notebook dan kamera atau perangkat handset buat Rian cukup untuk menulis review sebuah hidangan. “Saya juga selalu me-refresh tampilan blog ini. Saya akhirnya membeli domain khusus dan tiap beberapa waktu mengubah layout.” Tampilan paling akhir blog miliknya sudah mengadopsi layout kebanyakan situs media sekarang ini.  Latest updates sudah menjadi highlight dengan teaser sendiri.

“Saya juga nggak menyangka semua akan jadi seperti sekarang ini. Food blog ini menjadi portfolio berjalan saya. Saya masih menulis yang lain juga, di mana saya mendapatkan honor. Kini blog saya nggak hanya tentang review makanan tapi juga bisa wawancara dengan chef, food product review. Sudut pembahasan tentang kuliner itu sendiri terus berkembang. Keterbukaan pada kreatifitas akan membuka sudut pandang baru.”

Saat ini, menurut Rian, food bloggers ada yang fokus pada review (tulisan) tapi juga ada yang lebih menyenangi food photography sehingga review makanan pun porsinya lebih sedikit. “It’s quite a journey,tergantung tiap penulis lebih menyukai style yang mana – lebih banyak foto atau lebih banyak tulisan, and being acknowledged in the end is definitely a privilege.”

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Link: http://www.fimela.com/read/2012/09/21/food-blogging-hobby-idealisme-jurnalisme-tentang-rasa

All the Goodness From the Sea – The Nordic Way (Dreams, Vol III / Issue 3 – 2012)

A distinct landmark around the prestigious Hotel Indonesia roundabout in central Jakarta is the Grand Hyatt Jakarta. Equally well known is their signature restaurant, C’s.

With a reputable history spanning for the past 10 years, C’s maintains the traditional way of letting the qualities of the seafood speak for themselves – served fresh on ice, grilled, or steamed to perfection.

My first encounter in 2010 was a pleasant one. C’s presented itself as a multi-sensory dining experience. The interiors are warm and friendly, with neatly arranged tables. The unique entrance showcases legions of wine bottles. The open kitchen invites diners to smell dishes cooking nearby. Additional decor of spices and ingredients in baskets and bushels lend the feel of wholesomeness and freshness. Clearly, C’s is the no non-sense view of cooking. I was in for a collage of gastronomic delights.

One attractive dish in particular that survives in my memory for the past two years was the raw oysters, strikingly fresh in appearance over a bed of crushed ice and accompanied with lemons. You know the drill there, just squeeze the juice out of the lemon over the oyster a bit then enjoy the pleasure that goes slurping the succulent oyster into your mouth.

With those reminiscing thoughts residing after so long, turns out that C’s is still under the capable hands of Mr Christer Foldnes, a purist seafood expert came all the way from Scandinavia. Born and bred in Bergen, a coastal town west of Norway, it’s only natural that Mr Foldnes developed his love for seafood since early.

At a young age after a few years of becoming chefs in several prominent restaurants and hotel back in Bergen and Copenhagen, Mr Foldnes achieved a prestigious recognition as the Norwegian Seafood Chef of the Year in 2009. With that he became the envoy for Norwegian seafood promotion until finally he set himself a new home here as Grand Hyatt Jakarta’s Executive Sous Chef.

Chef Christer Foldnes

When asked why he chose to be here, he simply replied, ‘It’s my first time working in Asia. It’s very different and challenging in a good way’. Though he strikes me more as a humble chef with gentle personality, Mr Foldnes deliberately admitted that it will be a never ending quest on sharpening his skills as a chef, therefore indicated his true ambition of becoming greater as time unravels.

During my second encounter with C’s, it’s a walk down the memory lane as the chef prepared a half dozen of American oysters which were tantalizingly fresh and breezy. What came next was the Chinese style of perfectly steamed coral trout over a savory soy sauce. A mix-and-match appetizers that were clearly successful in tempting us for the next round.

Canadian Lobsters

From there, we witnessed the simple way of serving seafood a la Nordic cuisine. Presented upon a humongous platter, Christer created a combo of grilled frutti di mare in a very enticing way. It’s a seafood assortment of Canadian lobster, Norwegian salmon, scallops as his most favorite ingredient of all and prawns with a bit of salad to make the whole dish appear more fabulous. In addition, he cleverly equipped our carb intake with a plate of delicious lobster risotto. Again, it’s an irresistible treat that didn’t take long to be savored completely, much to our hearts’ content.

Thus it became another remarkable experience that satiates my expectation. It’s been two years but it just feels amazing to realize that Chef Christer has done a lot of tremendous effort to deliver a consistent result. Even though he presents his dishes straightforwardly, but I can feel my curiosity growing as I unravel more about the beauty of seafood.

Seafood Platter

Now that last year’s event of pairing him and the Norwegian Seafood Chef of the Year of 2011 said to be successfully concluded, will the future also witness him combining his culinary might with the 2012’s champion? Clearly it’s a quest that I must fulfill personally.

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C’s STEAK AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

Halal-friendly

Some menu suitable for vegetarians

Wi-fi available

Address: Grand Hyatt Jakarta, Jl. MH Thamrin Kav. 28-30, Jakarta – Indonesia

Opening Hours: Daily, lunch 12.00 pm – 3 pm, dinner 6 pm – 11 pm

RSVP: +62.21.2992.1234 ext. 3400

BB Pin: N/A

Email: N/A

Website: http://jakarta.grand.hyatt.com

Facebook: N/A

Twitter: N/A

Atmosphere: Warm, intimate, and very suitable for formal dineouts.

Ambiance: Conversational, jazzy tunes, and soothing.

Service: Five star service.

Pricing: Around IDR 750,000 to IDR 1,000,000 for two

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Pictures courtesy of Grand Hyatt Jakarta & C’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant

Featured in Dreams magazine – Volume III / Issue 3 Voyages Edition, 2012

Jean-Luc Chretien: Putting a foot wrong can be step on ladder of success (Jakarta Post – June 23, 2012)

Learning from mistakes is an inseparable part of achieving success. It is something Jean-Luc Chretien of Accor has gleaned from his career in the hospitality business.

“I learned a lot from experience because we don’t have the hotel anymore,” he said of the hotel group’s failure to develop its business in Thailand.

“We learned a lot in terms of pricing, how to work with local operators, choosing the right partners for distribution. From that we try not to do the same mistake twice.”

Accor opened its first hotel in Thailand in 1988, two years after Chretien joined Accor Resort as its marketing and sales director, but closed it abruptly.

Seasoned by the experience, he vowed not to make a second mistake twice in anything. He quoted one of his superiors in Accor who said: “You can always make a wrong decision but what you cannot do is to make the same one twice.”

Chretien, Accor’s executive vice president for sales, distribution and loyalty in Paris, was in Jakarta recently to inaugurate an Indonesian-language version of accorhotels.com.

He pronounced it one of his most memorable moments with the group because it has been a long journey to transform traditional distribution into something web based.

“It’s a very symbolic thing because we transformed e-commerce into a strategy beyond traditional languages and markets,” said the 54-year-old.

“Every time, every step that I take and every company that I work with, I become a part of the transformation process. Clearly my mission with Accor is to increase its capacity in distribution and to help develop new channels from e-commerce.”

He is self-effacing when asked to describe modern challenges in distribution.

“For me, the biggest challenge is the fact that I was not born in the Internet era,” he said disarmingly. “It’s like when I told my kids that TV used to be black and white and they didn’t believe me.”

He emphasizes the urgency of adapting to the changes through building a team of experts for optimal use of technology.

“The key to success in this is not simply about the website but about how you’re going to use it, to develop it, to create the traffic, to develop a partnership, etc…”. It also has been a learning process.

“We were not properly up for the challenge and we didn’t have the internal experts. We created a strong team for our website and in each country we recruited new people,” he explained.

“It’s a whole new management scheme in the hotel business since it requires so much expertise. But the people need to be looked after. We need to give them opportunities to develop themselves, otherwise they will sell themselves to somebody else.”

As a result of these focused efforts, his team has gained the trust of Accor hoteliers all over the world with unprecedented revenues.

“I try for my team as well for my company to be creative, but also to be very result-driven. We need to deliver the best results and to transform the way we do business,” he said.

When it comes to solving problems, he underscored the importance of listening to what people had to say and analyzing the situation first before deciding on a course of action.

“Because the worst thing you can do is to not to listen to what people tell you before making a decision. It’s not that you have to cope with everything they say, but you benefit from all the advice and then it’s your responsibility to make the decision.”

It’s all about teamwork in the end because, according to him, he will never become as good as the talented mix of people who work for him.

Multi nationals

Chretien’s career in the hospitality business dates back to 1986 when he started with Accor Resort as its marketing and sales director. A few years later he was appointed senior vice president for distribution for the Disneyland Resort Paris; after a series of distribution and marketing endeavors with high-profile companies in Europe, Chretien returned to Accor in 2007.

Chretien’s ability to work on an international scale and to manage people from different nations and cultures probably also stems from the diversity in his family.

He and his wife, who is from New Zealand, adopted children from Cambodia and now they all reside in France. From the state of his family, he feels the world is now open to new things in many aspects of life.

While his job takes him all around the globe, he has also short-listed his dream places to vacation.

He picked Monument Valley near the Grand Canyon in the US as the best spot because he is fond of cowboy movies. Next up is Luxor in Egypt, New Zealand and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

“That’s it. I have to stop there because I hope the fifth place will be Bali,” he said cheerfully.

Although it’s a rare treat for him to visit Southeast Asia, he wishes to see more of the country, learn about its many cultures and work for the betterment of its people.

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Name: Jean-Luc Chretien

Age: 54

Experience:

Jan 2011 – present: EVP Sales, Distribution & Loyalty, Accor Paris Area, France

June 2009 – April 2012: EVP Marketing & Distribution, Accor Hospitality

Oct. 2007 – June 2009: EVP Distribution and Sales, Accor Hospitality

Feb. 2005 – Oct. 2007: Administrator, Rail Europe Group

Feb. 2005 – Oct. 2007: Director, International Distribution, SNCF – French Railways

May 2001 – Nov. 2004: SVP Sales and Marketing, Pierre & Vacances Tourisme

Nov. 1992 – April 2001: SVP Distribution, Disneyland Resort Paris

Jan. 1986 – Oct. 1992: Director Sales and Marketing, Accor Resort Hotels Division

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– Featured in Jakarta Post on June 23, 2012 – 

The Multicultural MasterChef, Adam Liaw (Hang Out Jakarta, January 2012)

TGA and Adam Liaw

Kecintaannya pada memasak membuat Adam Liaw memutuskan untuk mengikuti audisi MasterChef Australia hampir dua tahun yang lalu. Siapa yang menyangka keputusannya meninggalkan profesi tetapnya sebagai lawyer justru akan membawanya menuju kesuksesan cepat di usia muda setelah menjuarainya?

Waktu bergulir dan berbagai kegiatan telah dilaluinya setelah menjuarai kompetisi tersebut. Selain telah meluncurkan buku memasaknya yang sukses berjudul Two Asian Kitchens, Adam Liaw juga kini tengah mempersiapkan diri untuk membuka sebuah restoran di Jepang.

Portico beberapa waktu yang lalu mengundang Adam Liaw untuk sebuah event selama dua hari dimana ia memasak hidangan-hidangan khasnya untuk 400 pengunjung. Hanya dalam waktu kurang dari seminggu dan tanpa promosi selain lewat Twitter, event ini langsung fully booked dalam sekejap.

Sebelumnya HOJ mendapatkan kesempatan untuk mewawancarainya dalam sebuah press conference yang intimate dan mendengar langsung kiat-kiatnya untuk menjadi seorang ahli masak yang seru dalam kesehariannya serta kisah saat berkompetisi pada MasterChef Australia.

Apa sih konsep dari buku Anda?

Konsepnya sangat personal. ‘Two Asian Kitchens’ terdiri dari dua bagian yaitu New dan Old. Di bagian Old Kitchen, ceritanya mengenai masakan-masakan khas keluarga saya sejak kecil dan juga masakan-masakan favorit saya saat perjalanan saya ke China, Jepang, serta Korea, Vietnam dan Thailand.

New Kitchen bercerita bagaimana pengalaman kuliner saya selama ini berpengaruh langsung ketika saya berada di perantauan. Contohnya ketika saya berada di Jepang, saya yang tumbuh dari pengaruh masakan Malaysia, Peranakan, Chinese, dan juga Australia harus menyesuaikan apa yang saya masak dengan kondisi di Jepang yang memiliki situasi dan bumbu yang berbeda-beda.

Bagaimana tanggapan masyarakat ketika buku Anda terbit?

Banyak respon bagus dari berbagai kalangan termasuk para penulis berpengaruh di Australia. Rencananya dalam waktu dekat ini buku saya akan diterjemahkan ke bahasa Belanda dan akan diterbitkan di Eropa serta Afrika Selatan.

Proses penyusunannya sangatlah menyenangkan. Semua orang yang mencintai makanan akan berharap bisa menulis suatu buku kelak dan saya mendapatkan kesempatan itu. Penyusunannya sangat sulit tapi saya sangat menikmatinya.

Apakah Anda membaca buku-buku masakan lainnya?

Ya dan sangat banyak. Salah satu yang sering saya baca waktu kecil dulu adalah ‘Complete Asian Cookbook’ oleh Charmaine Solomon yang sangat klasik. Tapi favorit saya adalah ‘Cooking Bold and Fearless’ dari sebuah penerbit di California yang saya temukan di toko loak di Jepang seharga satu dollar saja! Diterbitkan pada tahun 1950an saat dimana Amerika mungkin hanya mengenai hot dog dan hamburger tapi justru di buku ini banyak dikenalkan masakan seperti char siu, kari India, sushi, dan teriyaki!

Bagaimana hubungan Anda dengan peserta MasterChef lainnya sekarang?

Callum (Hann) dan saya baru saja bermain sepak bola kemarin. Kami kalah 7-1 (tertawa) dan dia yang menciptakan gol semata wayang itu. Saya tetap berhubungan dengan semuanya sejak MasterChef selesai syuting tapi juga saya menjadi sangat sibuk. Terhitung sejak selesai satu setengah tahun yang lalu, saya sering mengadakan perjalanan kemana-mana seperti baru-baru saja saya kembali dari food and wine Show di Johannesburg, pembukaan restoran di Sydney dan lain-lain.

Apakah pencapaian terbesar Anda selama ini?

Buku saya. Itu adalah mimpi saya sejak kecil. Selanjutnya adalah pembukaan restoran baru saya tahun depan (2012).

Banyak yang bilang MasterChef Australia tidak sedramatis versi Amerika, mengapa?

Karena pada dasarnya kita semua bersahabat di acara itu. Orang Amerika mungkin senang melihat Joe (Bastianich) atau Gordon (Ramsay) meneriaki para peserta atau para kontestan saling berseteru satu sama lain. Tapi di Australia itu berbeda karena kita selalu bersama setiap saat dan saling bersahabat. Tentunya kami tetap kompetitif tapi tidak negatif. Kita berusaha yang terbaik untuk bersaing, bukan untuk menjatuhkan sesama.

Bagaimana kiat menjadi juara di MasterChef?

Belajarlah sebanyak mungkin, apalagi karena saya bukanlah juru masak yang terbaik di awal kompetisi dan begitu juga untuk Callum. Proses syuting acaranya berlangsung hampir setahun, kurang lebih 11 bulan dan banyak waktu yang digunakan untuk memasak. Keuntungan terbesarnya adalah setiap hari saya menjumpai chef-chef hebat dan berbagai bahan makanan serta bumbu baru, teknik baru, dan pengalaman baru sehingga itulah yang menjadi kekuatan saya.

-Featured in HANG OUT JAKARTA January 2012 edition-

Interview with Jakarta Globe: My Jakarta – Rian Farisa [Food Blogger] (August 18, 2012)

I know dear readers that I am a day late and a bit narcissistic, but it’s never too late to thank everyone for this blessing and Jakarta Globe for the opportunity.

After a quite thorough interview with Ms. Lydia Tomkiw, it’s settled that I will be on air on August 18, 2011.

On this occasion I’d like to copy paste my engagements and everything I talked about my passion for food back then in case the link someday vanished into thin air.

So here goes!

My Jakarta – Rian Farisa (Food Blogger)

‘A Simple Fix of Fried Rice Will Do Me Any Time of Day’

Rian Farisa comes from a family that loves food. He moved to Jakarta four years ago to work a nine-to-five job in the banking sector. The daily grind started to get to him, so he decided to do something new after work. In 2009 he started writing a food review blog, The Gastronomy Aficionado, covering Jakarta’s dining scene.

The tagline of Rian’s blog reads, ‘The more I eat, the more I criticize. Just let me be severe about it, so they will reflect upon it.’ And Rian isn’t afraid of giving his opinion. He wants to take food reviews ‘to the next level’ and give his readers fearlessly honest assessments.

Rian, how would you describe the dining scene in Jakarta right now? 

Jakarta has really improved a lot. Every day, new restaurants with different themes and genres open. Even things you find more in Singapore and Malaysia, like Indian, are getting to Jakarta. The dining scene is very modern and very pricey as well. There are many varieties now. Two years ago you wouldn’t see coffee shops like Anomali so much in Jakarta. Now I see people who studied abroad and then came here and brought back the concept they found, like Sour Sally’s. Jakarta really is the melting pot of everything.

How did you come up with the name for your food blog, The Gastronomy Aficionado? 

Most people like to write their names. I wanted to use a sophisticated name. I wanted something rare, something people don’t use a lot. It took me two days to think of the name of the blog. The word gastronomy because I want to discuss all aspects of food, not just whether it is yummy or not yummy, but also the things that surround the food — the service, the interior and the price. And, aficionado, because as you can see, I am a big lover of food [laughs].

What’s your favorite type of cuisine to review? 

I do lots of Japanese and Italian. It’s the simplest thing to find in big cities. Not to forget my roots, I also love Sundanese food.

What’s your favorite Indonesian dish? 

I like the simple fix of fried rice, nasi goreng. You can find it anywhere. It’s probably not something you’d expect from someone who calls himself ‘Gastronomy Aficionado,’ but a simple fix of fried rice will do me good any time of the day.

Do you get any advantages or perks from writing your blog? 

My face is not that familiar. People know me from my writing. Sometimes people ask me to review and sometimes there are food blogger gatherings for restaurant openings. It’s not like I go to a restaurant and say, ‘Hi, my name is Rian. I am a food blogger. I want to eat in this restaurant for free.’ It’s not like that.

Do you think food bloggers have a lot of power now? 

They really possess power. Especially if one or two Web sites talk about something. I got an invitation one time to an opening and the restaurant wasn’t organized. One blogger was kept waiting over an hour for food. I don’t know what she wrote, but it can’t be good. People tend to be more expressive these days. Indonesians usually tend to be quite shy about expressing their thoughts, but I guess it’s changing these days.

You’re definitely not shy on your blog. 

Yeah. That’s the real purpose. When I made the blog I knew I wanted to be a bit harsh and a bit vocal in expressing my thoughts. I’ll be the judge. Bloggers now are getting powerful and now there are plenty of them. But the majority of them are still a bit kind.

How do you choose the restaurants you are going to review? 

Randomly, actually. But I tend to review new restaurants because with new restaurants people usually Google them right away and want to know all about them. That’s the thing about blogging, you have to keep it up to date. How do I do it? Well, I bring my notebook and camera. I don’t have to tell them I am a food blogger. I do it anonymously. I don’t have to be sneaky.

Sometimes you write in Bahasa Indonesia sometimes you write in English. Tell me about making that choice. 

Mainly I write in English. But a few magazines have asked me to write in bahasa so that’s why I’m doing it. I need to expand myself as well. I need to expand in different languages and expand my knowledge.

How much money do you spend a month on eating out? 

Well, sometimes if I’m reviewing for a magazine, I get reimbursed. I’d say up to Rp 1 million ($120). A few hundred thousand rupiah will usually do. Most of the time I am going with my wife. She likes that I have a food blog. It’s a blessing in disguise. She can come whenever I want to try something new.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently in Jakarta? 

About a month ago I was invited to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Michelin star Chef Fabien Lefebvre was there. We got a chance to test his food and publish something about it in the media. That was probably the first time I had eaten a Michelin star chef’s food in Indonesia and it was really good.

Rian Farisa was talking to Lydia Tomkiw. 

Link: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/myjakarta/my-jakarta-rian-farisa-food-blogger/459799