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Meet the Culinary Maestros of Jakarta’s Dining Scene

Meet the Culinary Maestros of Jakarta's Dining Scene
Meet the Culinary Maestros of Jakarta's Dining Scene

Embark on a culinary journey and discover the brilliance of Jakarta’s dining scene through the expertise of its chefs.

Behind Jakarta’s vibrant culinary scene stands top expat chefs, each bringing their unique heritage and culinary expertise. Ranging from Italian, French, Spanish, and even Latin American chefs are here. Together, these expat chefs epitomise Jakarta’s culinary dynamism, blending global influences with local ingredients to create a gastronomic experience like no other.

Indonesia Expat has interviewed five expat chefs in Jakarta to delve into their backgrounds, cooking philosophies, and the unique qualities that set their restaurants apart.

Federico Soragni
Federico Soragni
Federico Soragni

What brought you to Jakarta?

I first arrived in Bali to pursue my love for the sea and surf, and to be able to keep surfing, I started doing what I love, which is cooking. I first collaborated in some outlets and finally, I opened two successful restaurants, DiVino in Uluwuatu/Bingin and Casa Asia in Ungassan.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy, and what sets your cuisine apart?

My Cuisine style comes 100% from my homeland and family recipes, Being a “Romagnolo” we love simple and good ingredients with generous portions and straightforward taste. You need to feel at home when you come to our restaurants.

How does your cultural background influence your cooking?

110% of my recipes are to be searched from my childhood, from my grandmother’s kitchen to my mom’s and the restaurants where we go for family events once a month.

What’s your personal “Chef’s recommendation” at Otto Lab?

Our Pastas are 100% Homemade and we keep on basic original recipes. Pizzas also are good, we step aside Neapolitan Pizza and offer our North Italian version of Pizza, thinner and with larger condiments.

Stephane Simond
Stephane Simond
Stephane Simond

What brought you to Jakarta?

I came to Jakarta because I had an opportunity to take my first position as Executive Chef in a French fine dining restaurant back in 2008, the restaurant was called CASSIS Restaurant. I worked there for five years.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy, and what sets your cuisine apart?

My culinary philosophy is love and passion which are the most important ingredients in this profession. The love and passion that you add to your food will for sure touch your customer’s souls. As a French native, I would like to add generosity, you have to be generous to succeed in this profession.

How does your cultural background influence your cooking?

Being a cook is a way of living, influences are everywhere and can come at any time. So everything about culture must be integrated into my cooking style at one point.

What’s your personal “Chef’s recommendation” at Butterman Bakery?

We are a bakery specialising in croissant dough, freshly baked every day, with the best products available in Indonesia. So our best product is the CROISSANT. We also have plenty of other types of baked goods and brunch dishes all accompanied with baked goods.

Victor Taborda
Victor Taborda
Victor Taborda
  • Restaurant: Sudestada
  • Age: 42
  • Nationality: Argentinian
  • Moved to Jakarta: 2008

What brought you to Jakarta?

After working for two years in Bali, I was looking to extend our stay in Indonesia and I got the chance to open a rooftop bar Cloud 49. Time flew by, and now I’ve been living in Jakarta for more than 10 years.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy, and what sets your cuisine apart?

My philosophy is to have a strong work ethic. Currently, in my culinary journey, I prepare dishes that reflect both my learning and personal preferences, focusing particularly on Argentinian cuisine.

How does your cultural background influence your cooking?

When a chef prepares dishes they enjoy, they naturally bring their influence and background into their cooking. In my experience, I have honed my skills in Spanish and Argentinian cuisine. But after being here for more than 10 years, I think it’s time to add some Indonesian flavours to what I make. I personally think I’ve learned a few Indonesian dishes.

What’s your personal “Chef’s recommendation” at Sudestada?

My personal “chef’s recommendation” would be Empanadas, Matambre, Provoleta cheese and grilled Bife de Vacio.

Oscar Perez
Oscar Perez
Oscar Perez
  • Restaurant: J.J.A. Restaurant, The St. Regis Jakarta
  • Age: –
  • Nationality: Danish
  • Moved to Jakarta: 2023

What brought you to Jakarta?

I lived in Bali before moving to Jakarta. I was drawn to Jakarta by my fondness for Indonesia, its diverse culinary offerings spanning the archipelago, and the burgeoning dining scene. It’s rewarding to witness the increasing recognition and popularity of Indonesian cuisine, not just locally but on a global scale. Moreover, with the rise in tourism, the culinary scene is thriving, with numerous new establishments opening up in particular in Jakarta.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy, and what sets your cuisine apart?

My culinary philosophy centres around a deep passion for cooking and a commitment to quality. I prioritise ingredients that have been carefully nurtured by growers, believing that this attention to detail shines through in the taste, texture, and nutritional value of the dishes. My approach to preparation is meticulous, aiming to bring out the best in each ingredient to deliver an exceptional dining experience for my guests and friends. While my cuisine is not overly complex, its focus on well-prepared dishes allows diners to savour and enjoy each bite, evoking memories of memorable meals from the past—a truly satisfying achievement.

How does your cultural background influence your cooking?

My culinary journey has taken me to seven different countries, exposing me to a wide array of cuisines from around the globe. However, my upbringing in Scandinavia has had a significant impact on my approach to cooking. Growing up in Denmark, surrounded by abundant agricultural land and coastal waters teeming with seafood, I developed a deep appreciation for fresh, high-quality ingredients. Denmark’s reputation for exceptional bacon, butter, and seafood has undoubtedly shaped my palate and culinary style. Working in a prestigious fish restaurant and working with great chefs, living close to farmers who cultivated beautiful vegetables further reinforced the importance of quality ingredients in my cooking. So, you could say that my Scandinavian roots have greatly influenced and guided my culinary journey to where I am today as a chef.

What’s your personal “Chef’s recommendation” at J.J.A. Restaurant?

At J.J.A. Restaurant, we proudly offer a diverse array of culinary delights, showcasing Indonesian flavours. Standout dishes include our signature Burrata from Lombok, Succulent Lobster Salad, and Cage-Free Organic Egg transformed into Miso-Egg Custard. Seafood lovers rave about our Sumbawa Crab Dumplings, while classic favourites like Dover Sole and premium meats from our Pira grill selection delight all palates. Our desserts cater to dietary awareness, featuring reduced gluten and carbohydrates with zero-calorie sugar alternatives, ensuring guilt-free indulgence for every guest.

Eugenio
Eugenio
Eugenio
  • Restaurant: Bull and Vine
  • Age: 50
  • Nationality: Uruguayan
  • Moved to Jakarta: 2013

What brought you to Jakarta?

After meeting the mother of my daughter, I made the life-changing decision to relocate to this area.

How would you describe your culinary philosophy, and what sets your cuisine apart?

A Uruguayan chef’s culinary philosophy revolves around celebrating local flavours, respecting culinary heritage, and delivering memorable dining experiences rooted in simplicity and quality.

How does your cultural background influence your cooking?

Growing up surrounded by the warmth and aroma of wood fire BBQ has been an integral part of our upbringing, shaping our culinary preferences and fostering a deep appreciation for this traditional cooking method.

What’s your personal “Chef’s recommendation” at Bull and Vine?

It will be quite unfair if I have to choose one dish because everyone has a different taste but what I can assure you is all our food is made with passion.

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