Head Chef, Miss Songs
The Ville RESORT CASINO
I was born in Indonesia – central Java, and after I finished high school I came to Australia in 2000. I was studying commerce at university, and I started working as a kitchen hand to support myself. I got my Bachelor of Commerce, but I decided to stay in the kitchen – I really like what I do!
Then I worked my way up to where I am now.
I started with the same group (as The Ville) at the Botanical in Melbourne, then I was sent to Orpheus Island, I stayed there for around six years, then when the opportunity came up for Miss Songs, I was assigned to come up here and run it.
My reaction was ‘Give it a go’ - I love a challenge. At the start it was hard for me to understand a Chinese kitchen, I went down to Melbourne for two weeks to work in the kitchen at VicAsia, a restaurant in this group, and I got one person from the kitchen to help me set it up, Mr Ken, he helped me a lot, and now it’s running very well. It was a big challenge for me coming from a French background, and Japanese, to do this.
I’m 36, I have a wife and a daughter who is nearly five. I’m lucky, my wife is very supportive and very grateful of my career, the hours are long and I don’t get to see them a lot.
WHAT’S IN YOUR FRIDGE?
I always have eggs and rice, I have chilli, garlic, onion – the basic stuff.
THE MOON FESTIVAL :
It’s one of the most important days in the Chinese calendar, it’s celebrated mid-autumn, after the harvest and it means togetherness, and families get together and enjoy and celebrate the full moon and eat the moon cake. It’s about being happy and grateful, in ancient times it was about the harvest, now it’s celebrated more like Christmas.
For the Moon Festival banquet we are doing three entrees and two mains, and the moon cake – we are bringing those in, they are a speciality.
MY SPECIALITY :
It would have to be the Peking Duck at Miss Songs, we go through so many ducks each week, it would definitely be my speciality.
At home for friends, I don’t just cook one thing, I’d probably make sashimi and then miso soup, then grilled beef. Because I spent two years in a Japanese restaurant when I started, then eight years in a French bistro, then the Botanical, then Orpheus Island, then here.
I only cook very basic Indonesian, because I never learned, it wouldn’t be like restaurant calibre! Home cooking though, I know how to do that.
INTERESTS : When I’m not working I normally go to Cotters Market every Sunday, get my vegies, then spend time with my daughter, then I cook for a few days because my wife doesn’t cook, so I prepare all the meals for a few days, do the shopping…
I want to bring Miss Songs to the highest level that I can, then I would look for new challenges within the company.