Meet Talita Setyadi
Although she had pursued a career in music, Indonesian Chef Talita Setyadi found her true calling after watching a culinary movie. Henceforth, this unparalleled technician trained in France and the USA launched in a quest for excellence relying on strict sourcing and extreme perfectionism. After a first opening in April 2015, two new BEAU boutiques-bakeries opened in Jakarta. Here’s an account of a meeting with a passionate Chef who represented Indonesia as one of the 2017 World Pastry Cup jury.
- WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?
- Born in Indonesia, I grew up in Auckland, New Zealand.
Nothing predestined me to become a Chef: I was passionate about music. I started studying my masters in jazz double bass at university, until everything changed one night when I watched Julie & Julia. Inspired, the next day I went to the library to rent Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child’s book. From that day forward everything changed! Within a few months, I moved to France to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris in 2011. In 2013, I moved to New York and pursued training in baking at the International Culinary Center of New York (USA). I graduated from my MBA (Master of Business Administration) upon my return to Jakarta, Indonesia, in the hopes to create my own business. I had a very real idealism and vision of what kind of baked products I wanted to eat but was left facing reality of the limited pastry offering in Jakarta at the time. There were not many possibilities to express oneself through pastry making or baking. No one was making authentic European sourdough bread or worked natural starters. For my part, I had precise guidelines of what I wanted to feature in terms of visual
and taste and I dreamt of opening an artisanal pastry shop… I realised that there was a niche market: customers—particularly those who had travelled abroad—were ready to discover something new. We opened our first store in April 2015. If I had to sum up my approach, I would say that I look for excellence in simplicity. I try to touch my customers by creating emotion with my pastries.
- HOW DID YOU ADAPT YOUR TRAINING TO THE SPECIFICITIES OF THE LOCAL MARKET?
- When I returned, I had to learn how to create pastries without raspberries, blackberries, or figs. In short, I had to rethink the recipes. By talking to many foodies and culinary mentors, I understood that the wealth and diversity of the local ingredients offered multiples possibilities particularly if used with French techniques. We have dozens of different types of mangos, delicious bananas, juicy coconuts, limes, cinnamon, exceptionally flavoured Bali vanilla pods … We also are lucky to have many types of sugars here: I love using the sugar from coconut to play with taste and textures.
- CAN YOU DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY FOR YOU?
- I start my day at 8 am. Nowadays, I focus on research and development, quality control, management, training teams as well as marketing. My office is just upstairs to the laboratory which allows me to supervise production. We have three boutiques-cafés: the first is located downtown, the second in a supermarket in the South of Jakarta, and the last one opened in September 2016 in the town’s suburbs. BEAU has a staff of 82 people. We supply to over 80 establishments in Jakarta: hotels, restaurants, and cafes…
- WHO ARE THE CHEFS YOU ADMIRE MOST?
- I particularly admire French Chef Claire Damon (Des gâteaux et du pain, Paris, France). I am very sensitive to the elegance of her creations and the perfect balance of tastes. I also very much love the work of Marike van Beurden, a Dutch pastry Chef. Rosio Sanchez, former US-Mexican pastry Chef of Noma, creates the most exceptional desserts.
- WHAT IS YOUR HALLMARK PASTRY?
- My favourite pastry is the Mont-Blanc, that I make with Vitelotte potatoes: I cheekily named it Mont Violet. I wanted to feature my own interpretation of this great classic of French pastry. I prepare a potato cream from the flesh of baked potatoes reduced to mashed potatoes then painstakingly pushed through a sieve. A cream of a beautiful purple colour is obtained. Sublime, Cream with Mascarpone, allows to bring unctuosity.
- WHAT PLACE DOES NATURALITY HOLD IN YOUR APPROACH TO PASTRY MAKING?
- Naturality is at the heart of my values. I get my ingredients from local organic farms. Even the matcha comes from an organic supplier in Japan!
We cannot be 100% organic but we do our best to be as natural as possible. We do not use artificial colourants. I decorate my pastries with powder from dried fruit puree or matcha.
- WHAT IS YOUR LINK TO ELLE & VIRE PROFESSIONNEL® ?
- I use the brand’s products daily. Two years ago, I had the chance to participate to a training at La Maison de la Crème Elle & Vire® with seven other Indonesian pastry Chefs. For five days, Best Pastry Craftsman of France and Chef trainer at La Maison de la Crème Elle & Vire® Nicolas Boussin shared his recipes and technical gestures. I participated to the launch of Sublime, Cream with Mascarpone, on the Indonesian market by creating a special dessert for the occasion. Elle & Vire Professionnel also gave me support during my Christmas campaign with Yule logs.
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