A group of culinary professionals volunteers to educate young chefs so that they are ready to shine in the industry with good mentality, skills and proper work ethics.
Today’s F&B industry is growing so fast, and the demand for capable chefs continue to increase. More television programs are broadcasting culinary shows and competitions among talented chefs, further popularising the interest in chefs as a profession, rousing the ambition among young generation today to enter cooking schools and become a chef. Many have been successful in realising this dream.
Despite a large number of emerging young chefs, the food and beverage industry is still facing struggling to find qualified chefs with decent cooking skills as well as a strong mentality and good working ethics. Chef Philip Walasari experienced faced this difficulty first-hand as he manage young chefs when he helmed the kitchen of one of Jakarta’s five-star hotels. He had to do a number of things to strengthen his team as they realise that this line of work is very dynamic and requires high creativity.
“Working in the food and beverage industry is not easy, it takes years of practice and needs commitment and ethic. We’re like artists who needs passion for our work in order to satisfy our guests. Some young chefs nowadays are just looking to satisfy themselves because they are solely focused on creating the food and being proud about it without the mental maturity to survive amidst a harsh working environment. They would seek to resign after the smallest friction or reprimand. Only a few of them posses good attitude and maturity,” Philip shared his experience.
Deeply concerned about this issue, Philip, who is now working as Executive Chef at TWG Tea Salon and Boutique asked his best friend Denny Gunawan (Executive Sous Chef of the Westin Jakarta) to try to overcome the problem by creating Jakarta Culinary Movement (JCM), launched in August this year, to educate young chefs to be ready in facing the culinary industry. The education centres on attitude education, willingness to learn and how to survive in their working environment.
Regularly participating in prestigious international culinary competitions, both Philip and Denny, believes that an effective way to develop young chefs to be able to deal with any situations and conditions at work is by sending them to competitions. According to Philip, young chefs eager to compete will push themselves to innovate and constantly improve.
To join the competitions, JCM cooperates with Young Chef Club Indonesia (YCCI), an organization within the Association of Culinary Professional (ACP) to get guidance and competition information.
Due to the large budget needed to enter any international cooking competitions, the community creates a series of collaboration dinners to raise funds to send young talented chefs to have a higher culinary experience in various competitions.
“Budget is always the problem when deciding to join an international competition. We have to find ways to solve it because we can’t continue to rely on sponsors. After discussing with fellow chefs, we came up with the idea of collaboration dinners involving remarkable chefs to create affordable, good quality menu. This is aimed to raise funds to support and promote talented and passionate young chefs to the international culinary scene while benefiting participating benefactors, such as sponsors, venues, and chefs. 30 per cent of our revenue goes towards our efforts to send young chefs to competitions. We hope for this to be a regular event,” Philip explained.
The collaboration dinner is a series of event that will be held in several restaurants in Jakarta in which diners will be pampered with a five-course set menu from participating chefs. The first event was held in August at TWG Tea Salon & Boutique in Pacific Place featured menu inspired by intercontinental fusion between Asian and Western gastronomy created by Patrick Ramon (Corporate Executive Chef of Batiqa Group), Ivan Mangundap (Corporate Executive Chef from All In Group), Denny Gunawan, Zikri Rahman (Produit Créateur of Anggana) and Mohammad Idris (Pastry Chef of TWG Tea Indonesia).
Offering a different setting and ambiance, the second event took place at Altitude at The Plaza in September, which also presented exceptional menu crafted by Wiem Kahyang (Executive Chef of Kilo Kitchen Jakarta), Bastian Muntu (Executive Chef Savior Pakubuwono), Reggie Kaihatu (Executive Chef of Altitude Grill), in addition to Denny and Patrick.
“We haven’t done much, but we want to start with small steps. Why are we determined to send talented young chefs to cooking competitions? Because one thing that I learned from youngsters today is that they need recognition and crave content for their social media accounts. But the point is we give them the opportunity to be a step closer to achieving their dream. By the end of September, 10 young and senior chefs will be sent to Food Hotel Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur. We are also starting to prepare for the prestigious competition of Food Hotel Asia in Singapore in 2020. After that, we plan to arrange more interesting programmes,” Philip added.
Check out Instagram page @jakartaculinarymovement to follow the endeavours of Chef Philip and friends in encouraging progress for Indonesia’s talented young chefs.