Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chef's Job and Office Workers in My Opinion

           I think this title can be a controversial post this time, since nowadays people start to think that being a "Chef" is really a promising job. Unlike before while people still see us in half naked eyes and said that being a chef is not a real job "common mate get a real job!!!". what they mean real job is working in the office with suit and tie, polished shoes and fancy car. but for me i don't think that kind of job is a fun thing to do. i feel like i'm in a jail specially with that tie and a "must" polished shoes.

           Couple Years ago i remember that when i said my job was a chef ,they start asking me how possibly a person like me can be a chef, i mean real chef. i didn't even ever show any interest about cooking at all. for me i'll eat everything whatever anyone served me. i feel that i can't say any bad thing about food because lots of people, even they couldn't get a meal in a day. even just a handful or rice or a spoon of porridge. they asked me like how much i earn from this job, is there any other benefit beside basic salary, how is the pension scheme etc and my answer is very simple. let say i'm a smart guy and very rich man but i don't have any talent in being entrepreneur then do you think i will become a richer man? the answer of course not, because we can't predict our future but we can make it happen. it all depends from what is your dream and how hard you work for that.

           I got into this job since my father asked me to work if i want to get some more money since i was 14 years old. that's the reason why i really appreciate this job so much. you can't get a job in the office if you are 14 or you don't have at least diploma or bachelor degree. unless if it is ok for you to become an office boy. and your job is only to serve the people with your tea or coffee. i don't feel that job is right one for me. since i was 5 years old i had this talent about art, i like to sing, dance, paint, theater etc. and actually what happen to me until now, it just happen by coincidence.

              When i was 14 years old i worked in one of the restaurant nearby my house, so what happen is, i finish my school hours then i go straight to the restaurant and work as dishwasher. that time i get get paid 650 escudo or let say around 6,5 euro. that time i spent almost 4-5 hours working everyday. my parents knew the chef and the owner, they are just like a far cousin from my father side. i work there for almost 8 months until i get promoted become a cook helper. even at that time i didn't expect to get a promotion. the Chef relly like me so much, he felt that i deserve to get this promotion even my age was only about 15 at that year. the reason why he wanted to promote me because accidentally he saw me keep smiling while i'm working in the dish-washing area.

            So, after that promotion i kept telling to myself that i shouldn't waste my time for a nonsense thing what normally teens do, like playing around and etc. i intend to focus myself while i'm still young so that before i'm old enough, i can have a relaxing time with my families. because i felt with my father business he never had enough time for us. so i can't really have good time with him since his schedule was hectically crazy. i won't repeat what i felt before to my children, so this the my story about me for not being a someone who work in the office with suit and tie, not because i hate them or i don't like the job but i feel that whatever job you do as long as you do it by heart and with hard-work it will get paid as what you did. keep this in your mind, when you have lots of knowledge and skill, money will comes after you. keep working hard and think positively then you will get what you wanting from whatever your job you do. and the most important one is, Pray to Allah and never forget that whatever you had right now is comes from Allah. (Allan Octesa,2013)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is Dessert "A" Must after Your Main Course?

             Most all of us don't find it is a must, since sometimes when we have this particular dish to end our meal. since some people is on dieting program, some
White and Dark Chocolate Dessert Making
doesn't like sweet at all and some people are just don't want to spend that much money just for that. i think it is quite fair because even myself sometimes i just want to skip this course just go straight home or for a coffee and tea instead.

            for example when i go to restaurant with my wife, i don't usually order since i always let my wife choose what food for me. i'm very easy with whatever food she choose, even at home i will eat whatever she cooked for me. for example a bowl of rice with noodles or maybe pizza with chocolate dessert is ok with me. i found out that for some people after my interview with them, 60% like to skip the dessert mostly because they already feel too much for the mains and another 30% just doesn't want to spend more money for the dessert. What interesting is 10% of them decide not to answer the question because not affecting the meal at all.

               well, lets talk about what kind of dessert that i like. for me chocolate is one of the best thing in the worlds. i like it so much since i was a kid, i still keep eating this beautiful things until now. it just giving me lots of sensation about my feel. sometimes i feel happy after ate chocolate or the other way around and even sometimes i felt sad.

              I did some research that a great-testing piece of chocolate inevitably makes us happy inside. of course, it doesn't hurt that chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural substance that’s reputed to stimulate the same reaction in the body as falling in love. That’s why, even at a times when we feel down, anything about chocolate feels so comforting.
Zoe's Pastry Chef at Work

             Well thats what the research say about chocolate, but for my opinion from an eye of the common people, what chocolate has is the texture and the flavor that actually make us feel relax and comfort. i mean just feel and remember how it taste when it melted in our mouth and you feel a little bit bitterness and sweat on it. this kind of feeling we always keep in our mind, days or even weeks.

             There are two different type of chocolate, which is called white chocolate and the other one is dark chocolate. but do you know that white chocolate isn't chocolate at all, because the white chocolate consist only cocoa butter, powdered milk, sugar and a bit salt. then the question is why people calling it chocolate then. i try to do a research in the internet but haven't find any reasonable answer to satisfied my question.if any of you know what is the reason and when the history of white chocolate begin, feel free to post a comment in this blog. at least lots of people will learn more by doing this together.

(Allan Octesa,2013)

Zoe's Chocolate Mousse

Zoe's Fine Dining & Lounge in Manama, Bahrain

Dining Area in Zoe Restaurant
             In Manama Bahrain, there is this one area that famous because of the culinary complex they have. this area called Adliya, and in this area also it is a place where one of the oldest fine dining venue been built 15 years ago. people used to call this restaurant "Zoe". The concept that they offered is casual fine dining and lounge bar. well, we can say that this kind of concept actually very easy to find everywhere right now, but as one of the oldest fine dining restaurant in Bahrain, Zoe already did great job with the concept for a very long time ago.

             The food they are serving is based on The International Cuisine with little twist of Arabia Mediteranian. The New Executive Chef Allan Octesa has brought this amazing twist on a New Mediteranian Cuisine way further more interesting and better. anyway He is actually kind of unique, since He had this combination of half portuguese and  half indonesian blood that he got from his parents. He also had lots of experience and worked with Michelin Star's Chefs while he worked and travels around the world. Name it Gordon Ramsay, Santi Santamaria, Claude Bossi, Fabrice Canelle, and more. His Molecular Cuisine influenced has brought Zoe to the new level. What he is trying to do now is to make balancing between flavors and simple fresh ingredients so that we can have the sixth taste in our meal .we called this as "Umami" in Japan. He believes that combination a lot of taste,will stimulate someone's taste. in their sense and will re-imagine the new flavor that we'll always keep in our mind forever like love.

            With his talent, he is going to bring back Zoe into the best era as when as the first time they opened this restaurant 15 years ago. Being only 28 years old, he sure has lots of experience and strong enough to hold the leadership and be the front line in Alghalia Family. Zoe isn't a freestanding restaurant, but is it parts of one biggest group company in Bahrain named Alghalia. Alghalia itself has many diversion in his business such as Farm, Spa, Restaurants, Banquet, Hotels and Construction. The CEO which is Kuwaiti National has putting all the trust to Chef Allan Octesa to regain the satisfaction from Zoe's Guest.

             The New Menu is already been prepared and tried so many times with best is the result. he will start the new menu with full of confidence and compliment from Zoe's guest. In shaa Allah within one or two months when all the Marketing's and Promotion Department is ready, menu been printed, Zoe will launch it. and later on, with much improving business in Bahrain, Alghalia is planning to open another branch for their restaurant business. hopefully within next year we already can see another branch of Zoe Fine Dining in Manama. don't forget to pass by to Zoe when you visit Adliya, Manama. Bahrain and taste the beautiful foods from Chef Allan Octesa and team. (Allan Octesa, 2013)

Gadgets and Technology for "The Chefs"

Picture taken with DSLR Camera Sony Alpha 550
                 For Chefs knife is not the only one for them, we are using lots of gadget and high technology to support our work, such as laptop, iPhone  DSLR camera and the equipment, another laboratory equipment etc. Being a Modern and young chef is doesn't mean that you will stay in the kitchen
Picture Taken with iPhone 5
and cook for our guest only, but we are doing so many other job that not all people can do it, we do our preparation and cooking (for sure) we do our paperwork (food cost, recipe, staff data, profit&loss, etc) but we also do photography to make the best shot for each every dishes we made.

                 Some sample of the picture i took is in the blog this time, i really have to show to you what did i do in couple years and to show you that being a chef with art skill is becoming one of the additional point in your CV. but some of my picture also i did with the simplest way to take a shot, but with the quality which we can't say bad either. like used my iPhone 5 just to get a great picture. since iPhone 5 camera is one of the best camera outside for a mobile phone and lots of photography software also to support and edit you image direct after you took the picture.

                  Laptop also very important since with this gadget we can be more flexible in moving ourself to a place where we have to move. specially in my position right now as an Executive Chef in "Zoe" Alghalia Bahrain  i have to move a lot so that mobile gadget is very
important, of course it should be the subscription from telecom provider's 4G LTE and WiFi technology. nowadays technology without WiFi or or 4G is sounds impossible since whatever we do now is always online. shopping and buying vegetable also getting so easy, we don't have to go out just to buy some vegetable, because lots of groceries now having online system ordering and keep in mind the price of course higher than you buy in the market, but normally this system guarantee us with the very best quality of vegetable.

                Day by day the world is changing and everything about food as well, that's why as a Chef i have to keep updated with whatever happening in the world start from the fashion, gadget, lifestyle and gadget so that i still can compete with lots of younger chefs  there which now the are improving a lot since the modern world is helping a lot. but again whatever happen with the gastronomy in the world it will always remember that the food art is always comes from loves. (Allan Octesa, 2013)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Between Chefs, Birkenstock and Safety Shoes....!!!

                Pick up Table 25...!!! Yes Chef, and all the commis chef start to answer the command from the head chef, this is a common routine in the kitchen while the service time is start, sounds from blackpan stove and even old refrigerator is a common thing in the kitchen, what else is common in the kitchen is shoes. for us the shoes is one of the important thing, for me i think the second important one after my knife's collection.

                In the beginning, at the first time i place my feets into the kitchen, i wore the safety shoes for work. but time to time i like to change this habit  because i found out that it is not quite necessary to use a safety shoes in the kitchen. since mostly i don't work in banquet anymore,
but even for chefs who works in banquet for a big function, i don't think it is necessary as well. because for me i believe comfortable shoes is for your future.

                I don't mean that safety shoes is not comfortable, but the thing is, it just too heavy. what i mean by heavy is like 1-1.5 kg per pair. so just imagine while you have to stand for almost 8-16 hours a day in the kitchen and you are carrying a heavy duty in your feet. it is so unnecessary. and why i mention birkenstock as the title because, as i wore so many different brand of kitchen shoes, start from kings, caterpillar, systems, japanese clogs, and last and until now i'm only wearing birkenstock (boston model). but from all those good brand, for me i prefer birkenstock than any other shoes.

              It weights only 500 gram per pair. so just imagine how comfortable your feet is. carrying it without any burden to wear it and specially, after your duty finish you won't feel any pain in your feet. bye bye pain bye bye stress....see, with the picture that i place in this blog, you can see how heavy is the shoes (i mean for the safety shoes). it has steel and heavy duty rubber and leather, which is good actually for a field worker like overseas and construction. but for chef like me, i don't suggest this shoes to be worn everyday. Trust me, once you try to wear birkenstock you'll love it so much and one more thing, this shoes also very strong and have a  great build quality. normally i can wear this shoes between 2-2,5 years. so, happy working guys (Allan Octesa,2013)

Resep Martabak Manis

Resep Martabak Manis Video Part 1

               To all the Indonesians Foreigner around the world, it must be frustrating for you, if one day you miss Indonesia a lot and don't know what to do.
Indonesian Thick Pancake Dessert
               With blog today i want to share some tips how to make this famous Indonesian dish called "Martabak Manis". I did this video couple years ago, that time i was really craving to have this food. since i'm a chef, i tried to make one and it was a huge succeed not because i never make it but because even i'm only using simple home equipment it did taste like martabak and the texture is just as good as the original one. well i will not mentioned any recipe or even the procedure in how to make martabak manis in this blog today,instead of i would like to share the video that i made years back.

Resep Martabak Manis Video Part 2
           Thanks to Youtube and the information technology today, to make everything easy, unlike couple years ago when telecommunication still not in their best era. to communicate with our relatives back in hometown, it's way too expensive or difficult. Nowadays BBM, Whatsapp, Facebook or even Twitter can be used as new way to communicate.  this social media also had a big improvement day by day to accommodate people's need. it is very easy for us to share our though, our photos or even videos. well i can say that some of the youngster today do lots of useless thing in internet by being over actively useless. It's better for them to use their time wisely, and do more work instead of playing.

           Nowadays it is very easy for us to find any recipes from different country or even in different language translation. but again sometimes it doesn't mean that we can do the recipe very well. This is the reason why i made these videos to help you in making this famous dish from Indonesia, specially for all Indonesian foreigner abroad.

                Please enjoy these video and share it to all your friends, specially to the other Indonesian Foreigners in your country other nationality is welcome as well. Hope this video will help a lot so that we don't have to feel sad if we miss Indonesian food and we can't do it at home. whatever you see in these video has been adapted to our home cooking equipment in the easiest way. happy cooking
(Allan Octesa,2013)

Resep Martabak Manis Video Part 3

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Smoked Tomato Soup

             Winter is past and now we all need to prepare for the summer. this hot season in middle east is one of the most difficult time in middle east, since the temperature can reach until 50 degrees Celsius at noon and around 40 degrees at night. just imagine, with the brightest sun in the Arabs plus humidity around 60-80 percent it's like having free Sauna everywhere while normally you'll have top pay around 3-20 BD just for that.

             Well now, let just keep on side this summer "thing". this time i will bring one of the tastiest soup I've ever made since ever in my life. i called this soup as "Smoked Tomato Soup". as an entree, it is very light and tasty, full of flavor and well presented. to had this recipe done, it's not very difficult. by using our everyday ingredients like "Tomato", you can have fresh tomato or even peeled tomato as your "Main" ingredients, any kind of tomato will work for this dish. one thing that you have to keep in your mind before start the cooking process. All dishes you made, do not follow the recipe but instead of just use your very own feeling.

              To start this recipe we need to prepare some basic ingredients in cooking which is "Onion and Garlic" . in Asia people intend to use shallot than onion. there is not so much different between these two ingredients, since both has the same function to complete the missing flavor to your food. alright lets go back to the recipe, first lets chop the onion and garlic roughly, don't worry if it is going to be too big  in size because at the end we will blend all of the mixture, just chop it off how you like it and keep this on the side. Next, what we need to prepare is the main ingredients itself, which is tomato. what we need to do with this beautiful and tasty ingredients is, cut it into half and sprinkle in some caster sugar on top the meat side from each cut tomatoes.

            Now the question is how to make the smoked flavor comes to our tomato soup? and the answer is very easy. that we have to put smoke inside the soup. but then we will have another question which is how to put the smoked inside the soup, and how can we make the smoke itself. to do this, what we need is a smoking hot pan by pouring little bit of olive oil in a very hot the pot (the reason we use olive oil in here, because olive oil has a very low boiling point if we compare with any other oil such as corn oil or vegetable oil). when the smoke start to appears in our pot, start to put your halved tomatoes in and let it burn and caramelized nicely, don't worry to make your soup taste bitter because it is burned, as you know tomato itself contains a lot of sugar and this sugar content will turn into caramel and give the smoky and sweet taste in our soup later.

          Next what we need to do after the tomato caramelized well and all the juices comes out, lets just put the half of the ingredients that we prepare before which is onion and garlic. stir well, and let the onion and garlic cooked for about 5-10 minutes or until sweetened enough then add some fresh stock (vegetable is preferable, but chicken stock is allowed). let this mixture boil for about 30 minutes to reduce the consistency and to let it taste better at the end. after this we need to prepare another deep pot then put some cubed butter and melt it (unsalted butter is better in this case). after this process add some spice that you like and whatever you have at home is better, this time i'm using cumin, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon because for me, this all spice will work together with tomato. lets cook the spice together with the sweetened onion and garlic. we need to cooked this spice well, because uncooked spice will make your soup taste"disgusting" and become an unpleasant flavor. so after the spice cooked well and nice flavor comes out, pour over the reduced and boiled tomato inside the pot.

         Cook again for another 30 minutes to reduced the consistency (adding little bit of water is necessary), the reason why i'm cooking tomato in such a long time, because i want to let the tomato taste even better. their natural sugar contains will release it's caramelized flavor and will make the taste amazing. 30 minutes pass, then what we need to do is to blend it using your home blender then after strain the soup with fine strainer. Voillaa, the soup is ready now, garnish with ricotta cheese and black olive. now, we'll make our family love it and even ask for more. (Allan Octesa, 2013)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bahrain's Jobs Security

            Manama 2013, April 19th. today is the first day of annual event in Bahrain and this is, one of the most important Calendar for Bahrain. Mostly people love to watch this event and as a big sport calender, Formula 1 Race is one of the biggest annual event in Bahrain. the circuit has been build beautifully in the center of the island riffa, which mostly is a reclaimed land. Lots of people gather from around the world and came to support their favorite team. Hotels, restaurant, and businesses in Bahrain is in their peak season this time. Some places can triple their income than their normal operation in a year. lots of opportunity came in here at this season. Road is always busy with expensive and fancy car. People love to walk at this time in sideways since the weather is still quite nice. It is warm and windy even me, i like to stay outside at this time. Saudi  people love this event so much. they got this benefit since the bridge between bahrain and Saudi it built. and also since it is very easy for them to have such an alcohol and party which is prohibited in Saudi. they usually came to Bahrain in a group or alone just to relax and spend lots of time and money in here. Bahrain is a peaceful country where the most local here are the friendliest Arabs people in middle east, the are very humble and easy going

             About 2 years ago some group of shi'a people trying to stop the Bahrain Formula 1, they named themselves as a group of February 14th. unfortunately they couldn't stop the event to be held in Bahrain, polices is securing in each every corner in Bahrain with their heavy vehicles, gun and armor as their protection. but even still the riot and protest continues until now. i really dont understand what is happening with this people, because this "thing" is one of the reason that made Bahrain's economic in a very bad situation, business is down and lots of foreigner been terminated since the business in Bahrain right now not a profitable section as before. some foreigner struggle and choose to stay here with some different option, one had to stay here but by letting the company reduced their salary and their benefit, and two they had to moved to a bigger and more secure company to keep themselves work for life for another risk they will take.

            So far even the business is going down and less than before but as you see everywhere in here, lots of new restaurants and hotels is open in this unsafe situation, it shows the business is regaining their trust from the new class of customer. the new era of Bahrain is begin and the job offer is increasing and some people can feels a bit more secure than before. government is working hard to satisfied the shi'a group and gave what they asked from the government. lets hope this peace situation will continue, so that we can have a great country to live on and make it as number one destination in middle east. Your pray is more than welcome so that we still can work and live here with our family, friends and workmate to have a better life in the future. (Allan Octesa,2013)