A favourite of Jakarta’s restaurant and bar scene since it opened its doors in 2009, Potato Head Jakarta was the first establishment of the renowned PTT Family. In this highly competitive industry, it is crucial to stay creative and innovative in order to keep diners coming back for more.
Dedy Sutan, Potato Head group’s pastry chef, recently created a new dessert menu for Potato Head Jakarta. Giving classic desserts a unique twist, Chef Dedy uses indigenous fruits, such as apples, mangos and coconuts as well as ingredients produced by quality local artisans like chocolatier Pipiltin to put Indonesia’s rich flavours into the spotlight.
Chef Dedy, who has more of 15 years of experience working in Indonesian and international kitchens, took the time to talk to NOW! Jakarta about his love for all things tasty and sweet and his culinary journey as a pastry chef.
When did you first discover your passion for food in general and pastry, sweets and desserts in particular?
I discovered my passion for food when I was a kid. I would often to go to the traditional market with my mom to get some groceries. Shopping and sourcing ingredients in the traditional market is so much fun, you can find and select the freshest ingredients, and sometimes you find something you have never seen or used before, and then you let your creativity do the rest. Every time my mother and I would finish shopping, we often had to eat something sweet. Traditional kue (cakes) have always been my favorite. Kue lupis, putu mayang, awug beras are some of my favourites. I think that was the reason why I fell in love with food and particularly with desserts.
Your career has taken you to many places, including Jakarta, Bali and Dubai. What were the influences from these different locations that shaped you as a chef?
Every place I worked in has a very different and unique cuisine, ingredients and culture. I have also met different people who influenced to my pastries. For instance, I found that in Dubai, local people prefer their pastries sweeter, while Jakartans always want something new and different. In Bali, there are many international tourists who like a blend of traditional and modern. Right now, I am using lots of local ingredients that we have sourced in Bali, such as Bedugul vanilla, Jembrana nutmeg, Tabanan Bali chocolate and local palm sugar, to create our pastries and to display the local ingredients’ diversity.
You just reinvented the dessert menu of Potato Head in Jakarta. Can you tell us what’s new and your inspiration behind the menu?
The new menu I created for Potato Head Jakarta revisits beloved classic desserts and gives them a unique twist by incorporating local ingredients and new textures.
Do you have a favorite among these new delicacies?
Every single one is my favourite! It’s like asking me to pick my favourite child!
You also recently led the Indonesian national pastry team at the World Pastry Cup 2017. Could you tell us more about the event and how it all played out?
The World Pastry Cup is the most prestigious pastry competition in the world. It takes place every two years in Lyon, France with some of the world’s best pastry chefs competing. You have to work nonstop for 10 hours and present the judges with one chocolate, one sugar showpiece, one ice sculpture, three chocolate cakes, three ice cream cakes and 16 identical plates of desserts. We were the first-ever team from Indonesia to make it to international final and team consisted of me, I Made Dwi Artha Astika and I Ketut Suaryana. We made it to the final round in France after I was awarded the Best Taste Award from the Asian Pastry Cup 2016. It was an amazing experience.
What are some of your favorite flavour combinations?
Chocolate, coconut and passion fruit.
In your opinion, which country has the best desserts and why?
France – because they really have a lot of appreciation for any food and culinary-related things and always give amazing attention to details in every dessert they create.
What advice would you give young and aspiring pastry chefs in Indonesia?
Love what you do and be grateful for your talent. Also, learn from your surroundings so you can use all of it as inspiration for your original creations. You really need a wide bank of references and experiences to be very creative.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
As a pastry chef, I feel like a conductor and composer, who can play the music and create new music by exploring and using different and unique ingredients to turn them into delicious pastries or desserts.
What do you think you’d be doing now if you hadn’t become a pastry chef?
A farmer or an accountant.