Hendro Soejadi on the Many Paths of Food Aficionado

Story By
Cita Arsita Farani

Corporate Executive Chef of Metropolitan Golden Management - Horison Hotels Group shares what is the true job of a chef and how to turn your love for food into a career.

Being a chef is more than just knowing how to cook; he should be able to lead and run the whole kitchen. From purchasing, sanitation, product handling to convincing the guests that a dish is valued at the right price, it’s a high-pressure job that requires the person to stay calm and look for the solution in the middle of any crisis, such as running out of ingredients. “This is what’s lacking from newly graduated ‘chefs’. They received all the trainings but not enough field knowledge such as how to take action or how to maintain staffs,” Chef Hendro Soejadi said.

That’s what inspired him and other renowned chefs, members of Culinare d’Or including Chef On Board of Garuda Indonesia Airlines Taufik Ginanjar, Executive Chef of Bob Bistro Ahmad Taufik and Executive Chef of JS Luwansa Hotel Rudy Takarianta, to collaborate with Akpindo (Tourism Academy of Indonesia) and create several courses on field knowledge and practice. The one-month “Be A Chef Program” is focused on managerial skills and ensures even fresh graduates understand how to be a chef with all its job descriptions. The “Professional Chef Program” adds another five months for advanced product knowledge, cooking methods, menu engineering and many more in-depth lessons.

Those who want to join the “Celebrity Chef & Demonstrator Program” will go through screening process and interview on their skill, knowledge and performance to decide whether they’re more suited for off-air appearances such as cooking demonstrations or on-air such as TV shows. They will learn how to communicate and form their personality. Not all those who reach success and appear on TV necessarily know how to cook, but they are supported by a team and can perform as a chef.

For those who want to want to start a business in the F&B industry or simply want to polish their cooking skills, they can join the “Special Weekly Program” for one week. Meanwhile, the three-day “Food Stylist Program” teaches a completely different set of skills. Instead of making delicious food, students will learn how to make the food look delicious in the photos. They can also go with professional food stylists and watch them in action.

Hendro himself went through decades of experience which he shared with the students. Presently the Corporate Executive Chef of Metropolitan Golden Management - Horison Hotels Group, he is overseeing a total of 40 chefs and their menu in all hotels. With his passion for traditional Indonesian food with modern presentation, he was the Chef Ambassador for Indonesian Authentic Cuisine. He is also the founder and Head Chef Coordinator of Indonesian Chef Talent Management, arranging freelance gigs for chefs such as cooking demonstrations, private dinners, cooking lessons and many more.

“Sometimes people ask me how I find the time,” Hendro laughs. “But I love that I never stop having activities, never stop thinking and creating, further expanding my network and experience.” This outlook brought him to his current success. He started out with as one of the vocational school students selected to participate in a highly competitive internship program led by Chef Jean Michel Offe from France. Working at the many outlets and kitchens of Borobudur Hotel Jakarta, he quickly fell in love with the culinary service and began to work past his own working hours while learning as much as he could. The program itself was highly competitive and Jean was a tough boss, but everything he said was on the mark and he knew how to appreciate his staffs. Even after Hendro worked in various other hotels and a cruise ship, he said, “Jean Michel Offe remains my inspiration.”

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Surf
Pan fried Rolled Snapper fish wrapped in Spinach with Infused Red Chili Sauce

Ingredients:
Red snapper fish          100 gr
Spinach                          50 gr
Lemon                              2 slices               
Salt

Infused Red Chili Sauce:
Dry chili                           5 gr
Fresh chili                        5 gr
Sugar                                5 gr
Keffir lime leaves
Lemongrass                      2 gr
Chopped garlic                1 gr
Oil

For Fish:

  1. Roll and marinate the fish fillet with salt and lemon, sear and cook until golden brown
  2. Blanch spinach and use it to wrap the fish

For Sauce:

  1. Blanch fresh chili with hot oil and finely chop
  2. Prepare hot pan and sauté garlic until golden
  3. Add lemongrass and mix until fragrant
  4. Mix in keffir lime leaves and season with salt and sugar to taste
  5. Strain, and the sauce is ready to use.
  6. Add chopped dry chili for garnish

Turf
Grilled Sirloin Steak served with Spicy Aglio Oglio Spaghetti Creamy Pepper Sauce

Ingredients:
Sirloin steak                 150 gr
Spaghetti                       20 gr
Salt/Pepper
Mushroom                     20 gr
Chopped dry chili          2 gr

Creamy Pepper Sauce:
Brown sauce                 50 cc
Pepper corn                    5  gr
Chopped shallot   1  gr
Cream                           25 cc

For Steak:

  1. Season steak with salt & pepper
  2. Heat the grill and cook the steak to medium, set it aside
  3. Cook spaghetti, mix with mushroom and dry chili

For Sauce:

  1. Sauté pepper corn until the flavor comes up
  2. Add heated brown sauce and mix
  3. Pour cream, let it turn creamy, add seasoning and the sauce is read

Tom Yam Goong
Thai Hot & Spicy Soup

Ingredients:
Tom yam paste             20 gr
Prawns                           30 gr
Squids                            30 gr
Straw mushroom         10 gr
Lemon grass                  2 gr
Kefir lime                         2 gr
Red chili padi                 2 gr
Galangal                         2 gr
Glass noodles                  

  1. Sautée tom yam paste, add lemongrass, galangal, red chili padi, squid and prawns.
  2. Pour some fish stock, mix and let it boil
  3. Add mushroom and keffir lime, let it simmer
  4. Add seasoning and taste until it’s ready for serving.

Photos by Kiky Y. Basuki