‘I am very lucky to be included among the top chefs in Indonesia’, said Chef Maxi Andhika. Friendly and engaging were my first impressions of the young chef, when I met him at his favorite spot in town – the bar at the ranch market, Grand Indonesia.
Chef Max has moved up the kitchen hierarchy from dishwasher to Chef de partie at Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin starred restaurant in New York. The pressure at a Michelin star restaurant is intense with military style precision and adherence to the head chef instructions and expectations. There is no room for error and you are pushed to be better every day. His training at the French Culinary Institute has been influenced by his early interest in food in Singapore, Hokkien roots and Australian fresh produce, which has shaped his approach to cooking.
‘Indonesia is at the crossroads for discovering fresh food and this is where education and awareness is required, and Chefs play a major role in shaping taste buds and approach to food. Freshness is key, to a great dish’ said Max. Buying fresh ingredients means knowing where your food comes from and what’s in it.
He describes his food as Asian with a French influence. His favorite taste is ‘umami’ and he concentrates this through the perfect matching of the freshest ingredients to create a taste sensation which keeps you coming back for more. His vision is to bring affordable fine dining to Jakarta, in his soon to be launched restaurant.
Max is incredibly passionate about food and driven to be the best he can be as a chef. From being terrible at school studies, to a celebrity chef is quite a journey. Now he cooks for the who’s who in Jakarta and they keep coming back for more. With his team and a lot of planning and preparation he is able to provide a gourmet experience through private dinner services. The lobster in Indonesia is the best in the world and stars often on his private dining menu, which is created every month – complex and multi dimensional.
This is a big year for Max with the upcoming launch of his first restaurant in Jakarta and his marriage to Karen Carlotta. ‘Karel perfectly complements my cooking with her amazing bread and desserts’ says Max with a smile.
Umami is the fifth primary taste after sweet, sour, salt and bitter. However, it may be the most important taste of all in making our food delicious.