Tag Archives: Chefs

Chef Marco Lim: Indonesia’s Envoy of Padang Peranakan Cuisine

Passion meets the man behind the renowned Padang Peranakan restaurant Marco by Chef Marco Lim. The executive chef himself shares us stories behind his love for food and the mission to expand abroad.

It has been a long time, Chef Marco! What are you currently preparing for your restaurant these days?

This Ramadan we have prepared a new set menu – the Nasi Padang Berjamaah. Inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, we are serving our own take of nasi kebuli using the rice from Solok, West Sumatra. It has similar characteristics – a bit elongated and not sticky. Much like basmati rice.

We are also pairing the rice with kambing kurma. This dish is very popular in Pandangpanjang, especially during Ramadan. Traditionally, it doesn’t use any dates at all as the name implies, and the green color came from the use of coriander. The dish comes in family portion. It’s something like what we call in West Sumatra as makan bajamba – the time of the year after harvest when people gather and eat to celebrate.

What makes Marco different than the rest of the competitions?

I’d like to think that the restaurant is more of a mixture between authentic Padang cuisine and my Chinese inheritance – or Peranakan. The food is what my family cooks back at my home in Padang for four generations now. For example, we have in the menu – dendeng cah pade, my grandmother’s version of dendeng cah darek from Bukittinggi.

Other than the flavors, I also make sure that the colors and aroma are the same as what we have back in Padang. That’s why the ingredients are brought here fresh from the country – starting from the rice, chilies, turmeric, and even the crackers. For Ramadan, we are importing about a ton of ingredients!

As for the cooking process, we are still using traditional wood-fire stoves at the central kitchen. This way, you can even sense that the aroma is different than when cooked using modern stove. The meat itself becomes smoky. That’s how we devoted ourselves for authenticity.

You also have several different concepts within your already established restaurants. Care to elaborate that?

Sure. Based on the demographics study, we decided to open our first coffee shop concept at Gandaria City. There we emphasize more on beverage and snacks. As for the main dishes, they are instead served like a rice bowl.

We have secret menus as well. For example, our dendeng batokok is using wagyu rather than the usual beef but only at Pacific Place. Additionally, we have our mie goreng rendang only for delivery orders. You really should try the latter. It was our best seller during one of our missions with the Tourism Ministry back in South Korea.

About your collaborations with the ministry, can you tell us a bit about it?

We did several trips with the ministry to promote Indonesian food to South Africa, The States, South Korea, and Spain a while back. Madrid was an exciting opportunity especially. We were given the opportunity to serve a 7-course Padang-style dinner.

We even brought around 125 kilograms of ingredients from here! Only the three of us did the whole cooking and plating for a gala dinner a lot of guests. We also prepared about 600 sticks of sate Padang. After that, I was also given the opportunity to teach about Indonesian food at a local university.

We heard that Marco is planning to expand abroad. Can you tell us about it?

Yes, we have plans to open new restaurants in Bali and Kuala Lumpur. We are still in the middle of planning it properly. My major concern is how to retain the authenticity of our ingredients and transport it abroad. The restaurant’s concept would be similar though. We are still going to serve our dishes in their original form and taste, all freshly cooked. We are planning to open our first restaurant abroad hopefully in 2019.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/indonesias-envoy-of-padang-peranakan-cuisine-

Photography by Edwin Pangestu

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Gaggan is the Number One of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 2018

Gaggan in Bangkok claims the No.1 spot for a fourth consecutive year, retaining the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in Thailand.  Gaggan Anand’s eponymous Bangkok restaurant debuted on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014, rising to No.7 last year.

The winning chefs and restaurateurs celebrate at the sixth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, at Wynn Palace, Macau.

The 2018 edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list boasts nine Thailand entries, including newcomer Paste (No.31), headed by Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun, who is also named Best Female Chef 2018. Other returning Bangkok favorites within the top 20 include Sühring (rising nine places to No.4), Nahm (No.10) and Le Du (rising 23 entries to No.14).

The 2018 list includes eight new entries, with Japan claiming 11 restaurants. You can discover the full list here.

Chef Matteo Meacci: Back to the Roots (Passion, 2018)

Reviving Ambiente of Aryaduta Jakarta as one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Jakarta is no easy task. As its executive chef, Mr Matteo Meacci shared us his thoughts about the highly competitive F&B industry and his profound love for food from his Italian roots.

Can you highlight your experiences so far working in Indonesia?

Spending most of my time in Europe, I have always been attracted to Asia and I wanted to see Indonesia especially. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work here, first with Ocha & Bella for two years and then moved out to Singapore for a few months only to return here again.

Later I was working as an executive chef at De Luca, and then at a hotel in Jakarta and a resort in Lombok. Finally I found my way again to Jakarta and working for Aryaduta as the executive chef for Ambiente. The restaurant will be the first milestone of other new openings that I will personally oversee at other establishments owned by the group.

What is your source of inspiration for cooking? 

Every Italian chef anywhere in the world, they all started from their homes. They learn recipes from their mothers and grandmothers. They all started by helping in the kitchen and became interested with the whole process. Maybe not everybody, but at least 90% cooks from Italy started out like this. Mine came from my grandmother mostly.

That’s the cultural idea that we bring everywhere in the world – something that I experienced when I was a kid, something that my grandma influenced me, and something that I would like to share for everyone.

What can the crowd expect from the new Ambiente?

We want to make our version of home style food – very Italian, classic, and also casual. So basically, it’s about doing the simple things in good way. Our concept is to create dishes perfect for sharing – like cold cuts and cheese on a board for example. Even the mains will be suitable for sharing as well.

This is something that will bring people together. At restaurant or at home, when you have hearty food for everyone, that makes it interesting. People will enjoy not just the food; but the conversation, the act of passing the food around, and the togetherness. That’s what we would like to introduce here.

What sort influence would you like to have here in Ambiente based on your upbringing?

I came from Lucca, a small town in Tuscany – near Pisa and Florence. It’s a very beautiful town on the mountainous part of the region but still close to the sea. We are used to cook seafood, meat, and even games like wild boar or deer. When I return home during holidays, I would definitely eat cold cuts and steaks – T-bones grilled rare with only salt, pepper, and extra virgin olive oil. In Italy, we have a lot of cold cuts variety and here we only have few. That’s why I’d like us to have a homemade version of bresaola or salami here in Ambiente.

I understand also that it’s a tough period for restaurant businesses especially when dealing with imported products. That’s why we need to make do with what we have and use more local ingredients. Here, we cure the meat like in Italy and try to reach the authentic taste. Of course it’s been challenging because of the weather and the humidity. But so far the first results have been good and we’d like to continue doing so.

Living in Indonesia for quite some time now, surely you already have favorite Indonesian dishes.

Yes, it is something that many ‘bule’ really like from Indonesian food – sate ayam! It has peanut sauce, not too spicy, and there’s this charcoal taste thanks to the grilled meat. Other than that, I also like rendang and mie goreng. Those three are my most favorite here!

What would be your future plans as a chef? 

I was really impressed when one time I went to Japan for a week. It has great food, great people, and a strong culture. Although there are many expats there, I think Japan is still a relatively closed country. However, I would love to have an opportunity one day to work there.

My ultimate dream is to retire when I reach 50 and open my own small restaurant, trattoria-style in New Zealand! The country is like a big farm. It has great produce, meat, water, and weather. I imagine opening up my restaurant there, serving the best ingredients and seasonal menu for the guests. It would be wonderful!


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/matteo-meacci-back-to-the-roots

Images by: Dwi N. Hadi

Chef Emmanuel Julio: Ushering The Era of Progressive Indonesian Cuisine (Passion, 2017)

Seasoned in rigorous kitchens of five-star hotels from Indonesia to as far as UAE, the Executive Sous Chef Emmanuel Julio from The Dharmawangsa shared us a story about his passion with Indonesian cuisine and his modernist effort to promote it internationally.

Can you share a bit about your career as a chef so far?

Back when I was a boy, my parents used to run a restaurant here in Jakarta and also a catering service. Inspired, I decided to learn more about the world of hospitality during college.

My apprenticeship years in the kitchen started from Regent Hotel and later at Four Seasons in the early 2000s. Since I was only studying general hospitality at Trisakti, I had to start everything from a scratch to become a real chef. Chef Vindex Tengker became my mentor until he resigned from here a few years ago.

After my sixth year at the Regent and Four Seasons, I wanted to seek experience abroad. I was posted in Dubai, again with Four Seasons. After quite some time and together with an Italian chef I used to work with there, he tagged me a long for a pre-opening project at Armani Hotel. After spending five years in Dubai, I finally found my way back home and landed here at The Dharmawangsa.

You have done a considerable length to promote Indonesian cuisine with The Dharmawangsa. Care to share us about it?

It’s all about staying true to the establishment’s concept as a luxurious Indonesian hotel and promoting what we dub as Progressive Indonesian Cuisine. Since the initiative started several years ago, we have done a lot of research and becoming more creative in the way we present it.

It’s a perpetual work in progress but it’s going very well, I have to say. Over the years, we have seen younger generations became more and more enthusiastic with this approach. Not long ago, a Dutch chef specifically came here to study our approach with this modern twist and soon he will be opening a fine-dining Indonesian restaurant back in The Netherlands.

Can you tell us about your recent experience promoting Indonesian cuisine abroad?

Quite recently we were hired to help promoting Indonesian food in Shanghai together with our embassy there. The crowd was particularly enthusiastic and that’s actually beyond our expectations! Dishes such as soto Betawi, sop buntut, and fried rice were all best-sellers. Aside from rendang and gulai ayam, the visitors were also very fond of our gado-gado.

Care to explain what you are cooking today for us?

Today we have the oysters and granita, but we are using daun kemangi instead of fruits for the granita. I also put acar timun underneath it. Also we have prepared you the cured salmon using beetroot and served with tuturuga sauce. I also put tobiko and caviar on top of the salmon.

The next one we have our modern take of gudeg which I pair with foie gras! Quite surprisingly, the sweet and simple seared foie gras really works well with the the whole character of gudeg. Lastly we have the beef tenderloin cooked using sous-vide techniques and served with semur sauce.

What are the challenges so far with this kind of presentation?

Each generation thinks differently about our approach here. Like I said earlier, the younger people are more open with the ideas, but older generation retain their conservative views.

For example rendang, they say it should be served traditionally – “messy and hearty”, if you will. Whereas of course it’s different with progressive presentations. Of course, the classic approach is very important, but we aim to make Indonesian cuisine also visually appealing on international level.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/emmanuel-julio-ushering-the-era-of-progressive-indonesian-cuisine

Images by: Dwi N. Hadi

Chef Putri Mumpuni: The Relentless Pursuer of Knowledge (Passion, 2017)

For a 26-year-old chef, perhaps only Putri Mumpuni who has seen a lot of actions introducing Indonesian cuisine around the globe through food diplomatic missions. Recently, Putri shared us her adventures and the relentless pursuit of knowledge, now within the world of pastry.

How was it in the beginning for you, Putri?

It was all started with the decision to enroll myself at a trade school so I could be focusing on hospitality in general. There I knew it right away that I wanted to learn more about cookery. Before graduation, I applied for internship at Hyatt Yogyakarta and worked there for about six months.

That time, higher education was a luxury that my parents cannot afford for me since they also wanted my younger siblings to finish primary schools. After getting myself through several odd jobs, I finally landed a job at Grand Aston Yogyakarta right in the hot kitchen and after some time, I managed also to enroll myself at a local university. Working and studying in-between.

Since I wanted so much also to learn about pastry, I was told to spend the extra hours learning about pastry before the working hours. Of course it was unpaid, but in just about a month, I was finally accepted as one of the crews in the pastry department.

While working with Aston, I was also hired by this French family who lives in Yogyakarta as a private chef. My task was to shop and prepare the meals for them for several times a week so they could spend time dining together as a family.

What was the turning point of your career as an aspiring chef back then?

One time I managed to win gold and bronze medals at Salon Culinaire competition in Jakarta for different categories. Until I met Pak William Wongso for the first time and he motivated me to learn more about Indonesian food, something that I wasn’t very familiar with at that time.

The turning point was actually after I decided to focus competing against other chefs in this television show – Top Chef. I had to abandon my study as well as my job with Aston since I was still in the competition for months. In the end, I was eliminated from the Top 9 but I decided to contact Pak William and he offered me a position at his company.

What was the single most challenging task you ever had so far in your career?

My first ever task from Pak William Wongso was to host an Indonesian gala dinner in the Czech Republic for around 80 to 100 embassy guests and foreign dignitaries. I had to do that all by myself!
He asked me, “Putri, can you handle it?” and I said yes with confidence. We did a lot of preparations and I spent around two weeks there. I had to train the local kitchen staffs to cook Indonesian food with minimum communications, since not many can speak English. Google Translate helped me a lot, much to my surprise!

Finally the one-night Gala Dinner went well. We were also preparing Indonesian a la carte menu at the restaurant for the whole two days afterwards.

Share us also your other endeavors with William Wongso’s team across the world?

Usually we received invitations from Indonesian embassies all over the world to organize Indonesian gala dinners or appreciation dinners. So we brought local ingredients, train the local crews, and host the dinners. So far we have been to Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Germany, France, Singapore, Malaysia, and United States.

However, food diplomacy can go much further than that. Before going to a certain country, we usually get in touch with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Tourism, or BEKRAF (Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy) so they could coordinate with local institutions to create programs such as workshops, cooking classes, consultancies, or private dinners.

Can you tell us about your work here with BEAU and your future plans?

My move here was fully motivated again by my curiosity with pastry. It’s like when I first tasted how good the real taste of rustic baguette was when in Paris, I really wanted to know how to to make it. The opportunity came and I was very happy to witness firsthand how good Talita is with pastry and her wonderful efforts she has done for BEAU.

Currently I’m being entrusted with the whole operations in the kitchen and together we have been developing the menu since last year. She has taught me a lot and shared many ideas with me so I can improve from time to time.

My future plan? Well, one day I want to manage an Indonesian restaurant abroad, or even perhaps my own restaurant!


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/putri-mumpuni-the-relentless-pursuer-of-knowledge

Images by: Edwin Pangestu