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The crisis in Indonesia jump started Chef Permana Sigidprawiro’s culinary career, a drastic change form selling computer hardware.From introduction to cooking in New York to formal culinary training in New Zealand and then returning to Jakarta to manage a chain of restaurants.
Permana can whip up the best yogurt in town and is convinced that it maintains his health. He is passionate about authentic Indonesian food and regularly organizes regional food festivals. My interview with him was with Balinese music in the background at the Bali food festival held at Kembang Goela restaurant. This is one of the many restaurants that he manages. His dream is to set up a chain of authentic Indonesian restaurants across the world which offers a total experience, ‘great dining at affordable prices in a wonderful ambiance with great service‘ explains Pernama.
Audio Podcast of Chef Permana in conversation with Poonam Sagar
He is of the view that fine dining should not be defined by high prices but by affordable good quality authentic cuisine. That is his focus too with his restaurants such as Bistro Baron, which serves french cuisine and Indonesian dining at Waroeng Kita, Bunga Rampai and Kembang Goela.
Chef Permana notices a distinct trend in Jakarta due to its hectic lifestyle. There are the fine dining restaurants focused on different cuisines and there are clubs. A growing trend in people exploring European cuisine. French cuisine is very rich and complex, whereas Indonesian food has been influenced by various cultures such as Indian Chinese and every province has it own variation. Balinese cooking is characterized by the use of Kencur or lesser galangal. An understanding of the regional food is gained by tasting the food locally and replicating it in the kitchen with adjustment to the local preference. However, he does not believe in fusion food and focuses on authentic dishes to showcase in his various restaurants.