Bali

Head Chef Albert Sutanto Rediscovers Indonesian Cuisine at Kaum

Bandung-born Chef Albert Sutanto is now exploring the unique regional recipes of the archipelago through his role as Head Chef at Kaum, Desa Potato Head’s Indonesian restaurant. 

Inspired by star Taiwanese chef, André Chiang, Chef Albert was enthralled by international cuisine, thus pursuing studies at Singapore’s At-Sunrice Globalchef Academy. There, his wish came true and he absorbed the culinary recipes of Spanish, Italian, French, Chinese and Indian food. Yet, he also explored new fields, learning about fermentation and plant-based cooking. This would come in useful as he would later join the fold at Desa Potato Head’s avant-garde, plant-based restaurant, Tanaman.

Albert-Sutanto-Chef-Kaum-Bali

“Both of my grandmas loved to cook,” shares Chef Albert. “They cooked very different from each other. My grandma from my Mum loved to cook spicy food, my favourite one is her sayur asem, since she passed away I never found anything like it anymore. Then my grandma from my Dad loved to cook Chinese food and her ngohiong is the best, very different from other ngohiong out there. She made it with pork fat intestine to wrap the filling, mix of chunky pork belly, pork loin, prawn, glutinous rice flour , tapioca flour, salt and white pepper. Wrap it tightly and make sure there is no air pocket inside, steam it then let it cooled down. Slowly fry it until crispy,” he reflects, recalling his childhood culinary memories.

“I always love to eat Indonesian food but I was never very interested in in learning more about it,” he continues. As fate would have it, Chef Albert’s perspective would change as he took the helm at Kaum.

Translating to ‘tribe’, Kaum approaches Indonesian cuisine differently, aiming to spotlight dishes from lesser-visited isles and regions, channeling indigenous ingredients, recipes and techniques. As such, curating the menu requires travel to remote regions. For example, the Ayam Gulai Hitam, a West Sumatran interpretation of yellow chicken curry, gets its distinct black colour from a local ‘galundi seed’, often used as a traditional herbal medicine in the region. To recreate the dish they had to adopt new techniques: “We use young coconut water to cook the chicken, which gives it a sweet flavour and also helps to make it more tender.”

“When we travelled to Central Sulawesi, we found the local community using moringa leaf powder. At Sigi Regency, they love spicy food, cooking inside bamboo, and have unique dishes like Ayam Biromaru and Galo Katedo (sour and spicy fish soup with pumpkin,” shares the passionate chef.

Cooking at Kaum has afforded the chef an informal education in Indonesian culinary culture, taught not at academies but through travel, connection and community.

@potatoheadbali | seminyak.potatohead.co

NOW Bali Editorial Team



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