Tag Archives: Passion Magazine

AB Steak: The Haven for Steak Aficionados

Staying true to the roots while continuously expanding his visionary F&B empire across the globe, the Korean chef Akira Back opened AB Steak just last year and has since garnered rave reviews. As for what makes the steakhouse really special, let’s find out.

Following the huge success of Akira Back Indonesia – the chef’s first restaurant in Jakarta, there’s no way for Chef Akira but to move forward from here. The untapped potentials and endless curiosity of Jakarta’s diners sparked the brave move and at the same time making Jakarta among the few cities in the world with more than one Akira Back’s restaurant.

Akira Back Indonesia itself has set the bar very high in the competition, thanks to its highly consistent quality as well as service. It is only natural that the crowd would expect the same from AB Steak and our visit there last time exceeded all the expectations.

AB Steak by Chef Akira Back is a revolutionary restaurant that incorporates the American-style of steakhouse imbued with lush Korean flairs. The restaurant offers a new level of dining experience not just for gourmet food seekers but for true steak aficionados as well.

As one can see from menu, already AB Steak has prepared a complete lineup of in-house dry aged beef from 30 days and up to 120 days. The dry aging method is very much preferred nowadays in many steakhouses all over the world. The process itself makes the flavor more concentrated and at times, giving away unique characteristics like for example the taste of aged cheese and the pleasant meaty texture.

The best part of the dining experience here is when the chef themselves visits your dining table personally and grill the meat in front of the guests. The cut of your choice was previously trimmed to minute details and then brushed with garlic oil to give that glossy good look. After that, it is simply rubbed only with salt and pepper, no marination needed. The steak then grilled to perfection, sliced, and ready to be enjoyed – optionally using six different salts with different flavors from truffles, yuja, yuzu, Sriracha, garlic, and the Himalayan salt.

As for the steaks, diners are encouraged to traverse across different cuts of meat. Choices of the premium cuts are ranging from grass-fed wagyu of NY strip or skirt steak and up to the luxurious Ohmi short ribs or Chateau Uenae’s Hokkaido “Snow” California cut. The must-try came from the lineup of in-house dry aged meat selections such as the 45 days or 90 days old porterhouse, the excellent and juicy 21 days old “Picanha”, and the exquisite Spinalis Dorsi or the crème a la crème of the ribs.

The more pronounced Korean part also appears from the starters and side dishes sections. Among our most memorable was the Chilean blue mussels with wagyu meatballs, and accompanied with crispy tteokbokki – all dressed in gochujang butter sauce. Other than that the Tuna Yukke was presented neatly with cucumber and scallion muchim and decorated with seaweed bugak and sesame sauce. The mind-blowing appetizer goes for the bone marrow, perfectly roasted and paired with beef tartare made from wagyu, served on toasted brioche.

One of the best accompanying dishes for the steaks is the roasted Brussels sprout with garlic confit and the crispy rice puffs. Another interesting choice would be the bibimbap with foie gras, poached egg, mixed vegetables, short ribs, with the always delectable gochujang sauce.

Chef Akira himself is no stranger in the world’s top class fine-dining scene. It all started with years of his upbringing as a professional chef, and even previously as an athlete, in the United States. Not only in Dallas, Las Vegas, and Toronto; Chef Akira Back has already now spread his business across to Asia – from Seoul, Bangkok, Singapore, Hanoi, Jakarta, to as far as New Delhi. DOSA in Seoul is among his highly successful restaurants which was opened just mere two years ago and was already awarded with one Michelin star in 2017.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/ab-steak—the-haven-for-steak-aficionados

Photography is courtesy of AB Steak

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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

Mira Yudhawati: Gaining Knowledge Through Competitions (Passion, Apr 2018)

There’s always a lot to learn from the coffee industry, especially nowadays. The one we’re sitting with today is Mira Yudhawati, among the most esteemed personas in Indonesian coffee world. She shares us a story about her life as a world competition judge and as someone who sets her hope high for Indonesian coffee.

How’s your story with Caswell’s at the beginning?

I started to work for the company in 2008. Back then, Caswell’s was already known as Indonesia’s first specialty coffee business. Even back when coffee has not yet reached the level of appreciation like today, Caswell’s had already sent its people all over the globe for symposiums and competitions. We have our first Indonesian barista from here competing in WBC, or even judges for international competitions. The company’s reputation was among the main reasons I joined here at the first place.

How’s the transition so far after the acquisition for you?

As of now, I am still entrusted by the company as the General Manager. Since the takeover by BonCafe, we’re still pretty much the same as family – only bigger. Instead of focusing only for coffee like we did since 1998, Caswell’s is now a one-stop hub beverage company.

So, other than managing only specialty coffee beans, machines, and classes; we are taking care of other products such as smoothies, juices, tea, and many more – especially for wholesales. Currently I am still adjusting to a new culture, which is both challenging and very exciting.

Can you explain a bit about the Q Grader certification and how people often relate it to you? 

Q Grader certification was first held in Indonesia back in 2009 and yes, I was among the first Indonesians who received the title. But I was actually not the pioneering Indonesian woman who got the certification. Perhaps people mistook that with me being the first Indonesian woman appointed as an international WBC (World Barista Championship) judge.

As a Q grader, we are certified for certain technicalities in coffee business. However that does not automatically makes us qualified to be an international judge. Even so, being a Q grader, you have privileges while being tested as an international judge. For example, we get to skip certain questions that are reserved only for those who have not yet attained their Q grader certification.

Can you share us some of your stories being an international judge?

Well, I have just recently returned from a competition in Haikou, China. As an international judge, there will be invitation from time to time and I am very grateful for these opportunities.

I think the most exciting part from the competitions is when meeting other judges from around the world and to share with them anything new about coffee. Even myself as a judge, I always started with a clean slate whenever I’m on duty testing baristas from all over the world with their skills and presentation.

You get to learn so much from barista – what kind of coffee they bring, how they brew it, new techniques, and their presentation skills. It’s an amazing feeling to taste great coffee in accord with their presentations. World class baristas are playing for keeps. They prepare for everything months ahead the competition and that’s what makes them champions.

What about the local competitions? 

I am actually among the co-founders of BGI (Barista Guild of Indonesia). We collaborate with traders and many parties to help nurture the quality of the baristas through competitions. Usually we are entrusted to organize local competitions and I would usually help as the head judge.

It’s great to see the quality of our competitions and the baristas nowadays. Back then, everybody started from scratch so we had to learn through trial-and-error. I remember the time when baristas actually presented their coffee by mixing it with raw eggs, curry powders, and even rose petals!

Now we are happy to see that the standards are there and competitions are held in many places with contestants coming even from rural towns. I do think we have a bright future ahead.

Speaking of which, with the rise of es kopi susu trend, even I observe that Indonesian market share is still so huge that everyone could actually get their share in it. It’s going to be interesting to see what will happen next with our coffee world here.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/mira-yudhawati—gaining-knowledge-through-competitions-?searched=mira

Burgreens Express – One Step Closer to Live Healthily (Passion, Mar 2018)

As one among the pioneers who introduce healthy food and lifestyle in Jakarta, Burgreens has become a business that grows closer than ever with its patrons. One vital move to achieve that was its re-branding into Burgreens Express. So what’s the difference with the Burgreens we used to know? Let’s find out about it.

With a noble vision to begin with, Burgreens wants to share everyone its colorful approach of healthy living while also provides a degree of convenience and reachability for its customers. Burgreens is indeed a mission-driven restaurant business with an elaborated plant-based menu and collaborates with local farmers and women to produce healthy and sustainable food by also staying responsible with the supply chain.

In terms of food, the chef proprietor Max Mandias himself spoke with me personally a few years back. He wanted all of us to know that healthy food can also be made delicious. It was a grinding process of trial and error which culminates into Burgreens now having a solid lineup of inventive dishes. Among my personal favorite – the “Greenogiri Platter”, comprises of brown rice onigiri filled with spiced tempeh and accompanied with oyster mushroom skewer cooked with fruit-based teriyaki sauce and on the side is salad with wafu dressing.

Another signature dish from Burgreens is the “Mini Quarto” – four mini burgers with four different flavors. Or perhaps you might want to try Chef Max’s favorite – the “Tempeh Gomashio”. This one has the all the goodness of tempeh patties with cashew pesto and covered with homemade gomashio seasonings. It is served on a bed of organic mixed salad with mushrooms. The vegan hot dog is also an interesting choice. The sausage is made from chickpeas, tofu, and seitan (“wheat-meat”) and wrapped in whole wheat bun, homemade BBQ sauce, vegan mayo, mustard, and chopped pickles and onions.

With their restaurants originally located deep in residential areas, Burgreens realized that the vision to provide reachability for everyone might be compromised. It was then decided that Burgreens should be re-branded and start opening up outlets at shopping malls and business areas. They believe that the new concept can cater more demanding, fast-paced Jakartans who are always in the search for something good and healthy. But in terms of menu, Burgreens stays faithful with the old lineup and continuously creating something new and exciting.

Since October 2016, the flagship Burgreens Express outlet was opened in the vicinity of Dharmawangsa – a strategic decision to approach the upmarket and health-conscious crowd of South Jakarta. Furthermore, Burgreens is also creating events like clean-eating talkshows and cooking demos, educational activities at schools, and also the catering services.

Additionally, Burgreens was also participating in events such as the Namaste Festival and YogFest at Taman Menteng or the Paw Day at Taman Langsat which was organized by Jakarta Animal Aid Network (JAAN). Burgreens was also co-creating Pasar Semesta – a festival celebrating health, local and natural products, diversity, and sustainability. The event lasted for two days at Burgreens Express Dharmawangsa and attracted more than 800 visitors.

Despite the fact that healthy food market is not that big yet to begin with, still Burgreens does not want to compromise quality. Burgreens co-owners Chef Max and wife Helga Angelina prefer to think that their biggest competition is to actually keeping up to their high standards. They remind each other in the management to not be easily satisfied, to always raise the standards, and constantly innovating – not only in terms of food, but also in all departments, and also to have an open-minded approach to critics and feedbacks.

Looking forward, Burgreens is also aiming Surabaya and Bali for their next expansion. They envision that business will grow to as far as Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand in the next five years from now.

The healthy food movement nowadays grows much faster than the time when they first opened the doors back in 2013. Burgreens has been successful in creating a notion that healthy eating can be fun, tasty, easy, and has a lot of variety. This will in turn make people more committed to living healthily – a kind of impact which certainly became the reason why Burgreens should grow bigger than ever before.


Original link:
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/burgreens-express—one-step-closer-to-live-healthily

Natasha Victoria Lucas: A Journey of Self-Discovery (Passion, Feb 2018)

Sebagai food blogger dan food stylist yang berpengalaman, seorang Natasha Victoria Lucas telah semakin mengenal industri F&B bahkan secara profesional. Pada segment Reinvent di edisi ini, Natasha berbagi cerita mengenai perjalanan karirnya serta bagaimana ia jatuh cinta pada salah satu masakan Indonesia yang sangat terkenal – soto ayam Lamongan!

Bisa ceritakan apa yang Natasha jalani dahulu sebelum menekuni yang sekarang?

Sebagai mahasiswa jurnalistik, awalnya saya bercita-cita untuk menjadi penulis di majalah gaya hidup. Setelah magang di sebuah stasiun TV lokal, kesempatan menjadi penulis majalah rupanya belum terbuka. Maka saya harus bekerja dulu akhirnya di industri yang berbeda yaitu sebagai event manager di sebuah perusahaan sepatu dan sebagai guru musik.

Namun saya tumbuh besar bersama keluarga yang gemar mencoba restoran baru dan anak dari ayah yang punya bakat memasak – bahkan masakannya lebih enak dari ibu saya! Terinspirasi dari itu dan sembari menanti lowongan sebagai penulis, akhirnya saya memutuskan saja untuk mendirikan blog The Yummy Traveler di tahun 2010.

Menariknya sebagai seorang blogger, saya jadi mengetahui lebih banyak mengenai industri makanan dan mencoba berbagai masakan menarik. Ini menjadi alasan bagi saya untuk belajar masak lebih serius lagi. Seiring berjalannya waktu, saya menjadi tertarik juga dengan dunia food photography dan styling hingga akhirnya saya memilih untuk berkonsentrasi sebagai seorang stylist.

Bagaimana awalnya Natasha menjadi seorang food stylist?

Beberapa tahun yang lalu, profesi food stylist masih cukup langka di Jakarta dan saya sudah memulai iseng-iseng sebagai hobi. Satu waktu, seorang teman saya mengajak berkolaborasi untuk sebuah proyek food photography untuk sebuah perusahaan frozen yogurt kenamaan. Awalnya saya enggan karena belum percaya diri, namun teman saya tetap menyemangati. Akhirnya saya memutuskan bergabung dan pekerjaan profesional pertama saya masih terkenang sampai sekarang dan terus berlanjut.

Bagaimana dengan pekerjaan sehari-hari Natasha sekarang?

Selain mengerjakan proyek food styling untuk berbagai restoran, baru-baru ini saya menjadi team leader sebuah tim social media untuk klien-klien dari industri F&B. Satu waktu saya pernah juga dipercaya sebagai host untuk sebuah acara TV kuliner yang namanya sama dengan blog saya.

Biasanya di waktu senggang, saya berburu mencari prop baru untuk proyek fotografi makanan. Kini jumlahnya sudah berkoper-koper tanpa saya sadari! Terakhir saya tengah berkolaborasi dengan seorang partner untuk menulis buku kedua kami – Top Tables.

Bisa ceritakan sedikit mengenai bukunya?

Top Tables adalah buku mengenai direktori tempat makan di Jakarta. Namun berbeda dengan versi sebelumnya, kali ini kami mengajak beberapa orang dengan latar belakang yang berbeda untuk berbagi cerita mereka mengenai makanan dan tempat-tempat yang sering mereka kunjungi di Jakarta.

Bisa ceritakan kenapa Natasha begitu suka dengan soto ayam Lamongan?

Saya selalu suka makanan berkuah seperti soto hingga bakso. Bagi saya, soto adalah comfort food favorit saya.

Awalnya saya menyukai soto adalah sejak bertahun-tahun lampau ketika masih sulit menemukan soto ayam enak di Jakarta. Yang ada saat itu umumnya adalah soto Betawi. Sampai satu waktu akhirnya saya menemukan soto ayam kaki lima kesukaan saya yang biasa mangkal di depan RS Hermina Sunter yang dulu.

Apa keistimewaan soto ayam ini dengan yang lain?

Lebih karena preferensi pribadi saya. Pada dasarnya saya menyukai soto ayam yang lebih bening dengan kuah yang lebih ringan. Saya dan kakak sudah menjadi langganan selama bertahun-tahun sampai kenal dengan pemiliknya ini. Lucunya ia selalu berbicara dalam bahasa Jawa padahal tahu kami sebetulnya tidak mengerti.

Setiap kami berkunjung, pemiliknya tahu komposisi soto ayam kesukaan kami. Biasanya ia menyiapkan hanya daging paha, ada tambahan ati ayam, bubuk koya yang lebih banyak supaya lebih kental, dan tanpa kecap manis. Sayangnya sejak setahun yang lalu saya pindah tempat tinggal ke bagian lain Jakarta dan begitupun RS Hermina ke lokasi baru. Mudah-mudahan soto ayam kesukaan saya masih tetap berada di sana.

Bagaimana dengan resep soto ayam yang Natasha buat kali ini?

Kurang lebih profilnya mirip dengan soto ayam kesukaan saya di Sunter. Namun saya mencoba bereksperimen dengan tampilan yang lebih modern. Mempresentasikan makanan dengan cantik menjadi sangat penting karena makanan Indonesia layak lebih dikenal di level internasional apalagi makanan kita sebetulnya memiliki banyak kelebihan dibandingkan makanan Barat ataupun Jepang.
Mudah-mudahan pengetahuan saya di bidang styling bisa memberikan kontribusi lebih untuk kemajuan masakan Indonesia.


Original link: 
http://www.passionmedia.co.id/b/natasha-victoria-lucas-a-journey-of-self-discovery