Art of Cooking
Ignatius Emmanuel Julio, Chef de Cuisine at Sriwijaya Restaurant at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta, believes cooking is an art – the art of making people happy.
Why did you decide to pursue a career as a chef?
I have loved cooking since I was a child and I realized that my talent was as a chef. When I was in junior high school, I decided that I would work as a chef. After I graduated from high school, I continued my studies in hospitality.
Who inspired you to become a chef?
My father. He loved to cook in our family restaurant.
You were in Dubai before working in Jakarta. Why did you choose Dubai?
At first I wanted to go to London, but it was difficult to get a visa. At that same time I received an offer to go to the Middle East and Dubai was my choice. Dubai is a multicultural country, with people from around the world, which taught me about respect and learning from other people. I also learned about Italian fine dining, especially when I was at the Armani Hotel.
What made you decide to come back to Jakarta?
After five years in Dubai, I felt that I wanted to come back to Jakarta and develop my knowledge and also to share what I had learned with the people here.
What is a new concept that you want to bring to Sriwijaya Restaurant?
We want to create different menus that still use Indonesian influence, which is the signature of The Dharmawangsa Jakarta. So we are creating menus that combine Indonesian and French methods in one plate. We call it Progressive Indonesian dining, a modern approach to Indonesian cuisine presented in an elegant manner using French techniques.
Why is French cuisine used in Progressive Indonesian dining?
Because French food is the mother of all kitchens. French cuisine is classic in both technique and presentation and is always elegant.
Indonesian food is rich with many seasonings. Is it difficult when combining all these flavours on one plate?
This is the challenge, combining several methods of cooking on one plate. Sometimes we find Indonesian dishes that cannot be changed or reconstructed like sup brenebon (bean soup), so the solution is that we added foie gras (from France) to the soup. Another food is sayur asam. We could not change it, so we made the presentation finer.
What is your personal culinary style?
Cooking with love and from the heart. When I cook, I imagine a guest. What does a guest want when they are served food? So I create and cook from the heart so I can give the best to guests.
If you were to eat at Sriwijaya Restaurant as a guest, what would you order and why?
Lobster Bunaken because it is unique, with the use of pasta and tuturuga sauce, and wagyu tenderloin.
What is the interesting thing about being a chef?
We are creators, not followers.
What is your favourite food?
What advice would you give to readers who want to become a chef?
Do not be afraid to try and be creative.