We discuss his amazing 40-year culinary journey with Chef Antoine Audran, from studying under Chef Jean-paul Bonin in his two Michelin-starred restaurant, to working at the French Embassy in London and being mentored by master chefs Andrew Guillot and Jean Delaveyene. This globe-trotting Frenchman now calls Indonesia home and heads the brilliantly authentic Indonesian restaurant, Kaum.
Q: When did your culinary journey start?
A: In September 1975, when I first joined the Ecole Jean Ferrandi in Paris, France.
Q: What inspired you to get into the kitchen?
A: Difficult question! As in my family no one was working in the food and beverage industry – in the ’70s it was not really well perceived to become a chef. I suspect that my guilt at tasting different food without boundaries triggered this passion, which I later translated into being my professional life.
Q: What cooking or food trends have you most enjoyed over your years as a chef? A: During the past 40 years I have been roaming in this industry, I’ve witnessed so many different trends that mushroomed every couple of years before quickly disappearing. Ephemere is a French word that best describes those trends that sprout quickly but never last. I am personally back to my original belief that food culture is built on tradition, identity, culture, respect, patience and season. Honestly speaking, I almost forget all those food trends that I used to follow in order to be in the mainstream. Nowadays I call that culinary black out – where you discover that while following trends, you tended to forget to input your personality into your cooking style.
Q: How would you define your current cooking or restaurant style?
A: I describe my cooking style as preparing food with confidence and love, what I would like to eat and share with family and friends alike. Of course, without compromising on respect and harmony for our planet and our true culinary values.
The culinary journey of Antoine Audran has not been a short one: from studying under Chef Jean-paul Bonin at his two Michelin-starred restaurant, to working at the French Embassy in London and being mentored by master chefs Andrew Guillot and Jean Delaveyene. A Frenchman trotting the globe, he now calls Indonesia home as he takes the lead at Kaum, a brilliant authentic Indonesian restaurant.
Q: What are some of your favourite experiences as a chef?
A: When one of my students becomes a renowned chef. When, after cooking some food at home, my daughter tells me that she truly enjoyed her meal.
Q: What countries has your career taken you to and do you have a favourite? A: England, Switzerland, Egypt,
Cameroon, Congo, Iraq, Bahrain, Thailand and Indonesia, to name a few! I do not have a favourite country. I describe myself as a modest citizen of the world.
Q: Do you have a favourite regional cuisine? If so, what do you like about it? A: As a Frenchman, I do like my southwestern cuisine. This is part of my genetic heritage and I cannot break away from that. The food from my French province is true to its roots, using locally produced items in a way that preserves their texture, aroma, flavour and shape.
Q: In your travels, what new ingredients have you discovered that you love to use today?
A: I’ve found out that Indonesians love to add a hint of sourness to their food. During my numerous travels around this archipelago, I’ve discovered so many naturally grown or processed sour ingredients used in the daily cooking process. I do love using them; playing around with their acidity level, colour, aroma and culinary identity. It’s fun, it’s segar! Q: What is the most unusual food you have discovered?
A: Black oncom from West Java, and I am love with it!
Q: Where is the most unusual or interesting place you have been asked to serve a dinner?
A: A stone-baking diner in the middle of the Papua jungle.
Q: How would you sum up your career in the kitchen so far?
A: Unfinished, and still going on.
Q: What future goals do you have? A: Back to basics, it is time for knowledge sharing.
Kalio Daging Sapi