Exquisite Taste - - Contents - By Steven Jauw Waludin

Meet the most talked about names in the kitchen game. Our line up this time is Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Gyula Harangi from JW Mar­riott Ho­tel Jakarta, Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Pa­trick Cal­larec from AYANA Re­sort and Spa BALI, and last but not least Chef de Cui­sine Rafael Fer­nan­des Gil all the way from The Ritz-Carl­ton, Hong Kong.

: How long have you been a chef and how did you end up at JW Mar­riott Ho­tel Jakarta?

Gyula: I've been work­ing as a chef for 30 years and I've worked in many five-starred es­tab­lish­ments pre­vi­ously. I started out in Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, which is my home­town, and worked all across Europe and the Mid­dle East be­fore I de­cided that Jakarta was my next des­ti­na­tion.

: Why did you be­come a chef? Was it al­ways your pas­sion? G: Be­ing a chef is an ac­quired taste in it­self. I've al­ways en­joyed cook­ing and had an ap­ti­tude for it, but once I de­cided to com­mit to be­ing a suc­cess­ful chef I knew the level of ded­i­ca­tion and sac­ri­fice re­quired to be one. I love mak­ing new cre­ations and de­light­ing peo­ple with them, that's the re­ward we get as chefs.

: Over the course of your ca­reer, I’m sure you’ve vis­ited many in­ter­est­ing coun­tries. Which is your favourite and why?

G: So far, I've been for­tu­nate enough to work in Hun­gary, Por­tu­gal, Kuwait and Dubai. I've en­joyed each of my ex­pe­ri­ences, which have been unique and in­sight­ful. How­ever, my wife and I have al­ways grav­i­tated to­wards Asia, es­pe­cially Indonesia, as we love the culture and hos­pi­tal­ity here. We are div­ing en­thu­si­asts and we love how we can dive in Indonesia's beau­ti­ful is­lands on week­ends.

: In your opin­ion, what’s the most im­por­tant qual­ity for a chef to be suc­cess­ful?

G: You need to have an open mind and be cre­ative. Food trends move so quickly nowa­days – it's im­por­tant to stay up to date and con­stantly in­no­vate to stand out as a chef. And of course you need to put in the hard work and be pas­sion­ate about your job.

: Who has been the big­gest in­flu­ence in your ca­reer?

G: It's hard to pick one since my style is so eclec­tic. I am al­ways study­ing and tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from fa­mous chefs all over the world. I love study­ing their styles and tech­niques whether it's for starters or desserts.

: You’ve mas­tered many cuisines in the course of your ca­reer (in­clud­ing West­ern, Ara­bian, Mediter­ranean, French), which would you say is the most chal­leng­ing to learn, and why?

G: If I have to pick one, I think the hard­est cui­sine to mas­ter is Asian. The per­sonal chal­lenge for me is work­ing with so many new and ex­otic in­gre­di­ents that I'd never used while work­ing in Europe. It is very ex­cit­ing though and I'm hav­ing lots of fun learn­ing about In­done­sian food ev­ery day.

: What’s your spe­cialty dish? Do you mind shar­ing with us the story be­hind it? G: I come from Hun­gary where soup is prac­ti­cally our na­tional dish. My com­fort food is Hun­gar­ian goulash soup, which brings back fond mem­o­ries of my child­hood. I like to play with flavours and tex­tures to make my own in­ter­pre­ta­tions of clas­sic dishes such as Ca­jun Seafood Gumbo, a Cre­ole spe­cialty.

: On your days off, what ac­tiv­i­ties do you do to un­wind?

G: I love scuba div­ing. The mes­meris­ing ma­rine life and the calm­ness of the sea are amaz­ing.

: If you don’t mind shar­ing with our read­ers, are there any ex­cit­ing fu­ture plans for the ho­tel’s restau­rants we can look for­ward to in 2017?

G: Ah, a chef needs to have some se­crets, but I'll share with you that we are plan­ning to launch a spe­cial re­gional Ja­panese del­i­cacy that will only be avail­able at JW Mar­riott Ho­tel Jakarta, a healthy brunch con­cept for our health-con­scious din­ers and a brand new Chi­nese menu.

: Hy­po­thet­i­cally speak­ing, if you were not a chef, what would you see your­self do­ing?

G: That is a very in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. If you asked me that a cou­ple years back I don't think I would have a good an­swer for you. I men­tioned pre­vi­ously that I love scuba div­ing, so I think I could see my­self pur­su­ing a ca­reer as an ocean pho­tog­ra­pher for Nat Geo or some­thing! That would be a fun oc­cu­pa­tion.

In­verted straw­berry cheese cake with rose water in­fused rhubarb, rhubarb bub­bles & pan­dan sponge

Baked breast of crispy Guinea fowl over mush­room rice

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