How was it all in the beginning for you?
Believe it or not, I wanted to become a professional dancer initially! Growing up in Jakarta, I was trained in ballet since early. And it was during high school that I decided to move out to Perth. My plan was to continue my study at a dance academy there. Turns out, I didn’t make it and I was utterly devastated!
Everyone was already in college around that time, so instead, I joined short courses and collect a lot of diplomas – from marketing to event organizing. In the meantime, I had to do part-time jobs as well to make it there – since my parents wanted me to return home.
What happens next?
The easiest job I can get? The hospitality industry. Working at a bar, I was quite enjoying it. I started out as just a glass polisher, and then I was gradually entrusted with the floor and then the café. From there, I realized that a degree in hospitality would certainly accommodate me working in this industry. Moreover, I could make myself eligible for applying as a permanent resident – which my parents eventually supported as well.
Meanwhile, it was finally time for Rena (Renatta Moeloek) for college and she had always known exactly that she’s destined to cook. She wanted to learn at the best place and that would be Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. So, we kept ourselves in touch across different continents through Skype – hoping that one day we can do cool collaborations.
Sounds like you guys were all set to live abroad, but why did you return here?
Rena was promised for a gig in New Zealand after her internship finished at a Michelin-starred restaurant in France. As for me, after my internship at Sheraton, I wanted to explore my opportunities also there.
Turns out, we had visa problems and got stranded in Indonesia. Many years living abroad made me unsure about what I can do in Jakarta, until we decided to embrace any opportunity we can get. We did pop-ups, food trucks, and private dinners. Rena handles the kitchen and me in the service.
But one day, I met an old friend of mine Dio. He started this healthy catering company – Leafwell Group with his friends and wanted me to collaborate for the opening of Berrywell.
So, this is the part where you decided to stay in Jakarta?
Initially I was torn in-between working at a big company, or to help this promising startup company. I decided to choose the latter and began as a store manager at Berrywell’s first outlet in SCBD. Turns out it was a huge success for the company! We have been riding the momentum where people are getting aware with healthy lifestyle.
Long story short, Berrywell then opened new outlets at Plaza Senayan and Menteng Shophaus. Finally, the next best opportunity for me and Rena to work together again came when the group decided to open a new concept of healthy dining called Fedwell. There, I will be entrusted again with the operations and Rena with the menu! We did a lot of research, food tasting, and prepared everything. However, the team was still very busy with Berrywell and couldn’t find the right time to launch Fedwell.
Can you tell us about Fedwell?
Fedwell finally opened on April 2018 and started out again with just normal expectations. Again, much to our surprise, people have been flocking here like crazy, so we had to assign the kitchen crews as well to help with service! Steadily, we’re hiring more people and now we’re enjoying the dynamics here.
So, the concept is similar with salad bars where people can choose the ingredients and the crews will assemble it for you. However here, we serve wholesome, healthy food instead. We don’t do frying here, but we do roast, torch, and steam most of our ingredients. Fedwell is basically a DIY diner where customers can use the order form to create their own dish or to choose from what we have assembled. There are many choices for carbs, proteins, vegetables, and the dressings.
The challenge is to introduce the DIY culture to our customers and creating this mindset that healthy food can also be flavorful. We want to help creating a new, smarter Jakarta where people gradually know how to live healthily and get themselves in touch with good quality ingredients.
What are your plans after this?
The Leafwell Group is still growing, and we are planning for more surprises in the future. As for Rena, we’re currently transforming this place owned by our mom with a new kitchen and a nice place to eat. It’s a small, but we’ll invite people for private dinners. In the meantime, we help each other whenever we have the opportunity, but I do look forward for our new gigs in the future.
Featured on Passion Magazine