Having fun through the spice connection
The last eighteen years chasing diversity, colour and taste in the food of my birthplace, the Spice Islands of Indonesia, has been a rich journey.
My interest was awoken as a small girl, helping out in her grandmother’s earth-floored kitchen in North Sulawesi, but ironically the real beginnings emerged decades later and thousands of miles away - at my UK family home. Most local friends who came for dinner, knew Bali but not much more about Indonesia, let alone an impression of its food. Years later - relative to the food of say India or Thailand – I find few people across UK and much of Europe, able to recall a single Indonesian dish. Now that I am once again living in UK, I hope to play a small role to change perceptions and help build the spice connection.
Back in 2001, out of curiosity, I applied for and was accepted into the Midlands regional contest for the BBC’s Masterchef Grand Prix for Amateur Chefs. I did ok, just missing out on a top three qualifier spot. Before considering to try again, my husband’s work took us back to Jakarta, so I turned my attention to cooking classes for expatriate ladies, and writing about food in the tropics. This gave me the perfect excuse to explore the archipelago in search of interesting recipes and food traditions.
These adventures helped me create around 400 articles and two cookbooks. Along the way I was invited to be a contributor/editor for Indonesia for the Miele Guide published in Singapore) and the Four Seasons magazine, New York, among others. I attended several regional gourmet events, represented Indonesia twice at the Frankfurt book fair and appeared on local TV, including as a judge for ‘Iron Chef’ in Jakarta. Best of all I have been lucky to collaborate with leading chefs from many parts of the world as well as being ‘guest chef’ for several leading hotels in Jakarta, Bali and the incredible island of Sumba.
My latest challenge is the most exciting: to combine the best of amazing local British ingredients with the spices of Indonesia, as my grown-up family settles again in UK.
I hope you’ll join me on this latest chapter, collaborate and share my enjoyment and passion for secrets and modern Indonesian cuisine.
Selamat makan, as we say!