Asia Dreams - - CONTENTS -

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.

An­toine Audran

Kalio Dag­ing Sapi

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