Chef Attila Körmöczi

Chef Attila Körmöczi

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Culinary leader at InterContinental Jakarta Pondok Indah


As a 13-year resident of Indonesia, this humble German-born culinary wizard takes the wealth of his European roots and blends it with the simplicity of Asian cuisine. Chef Attila joins InterContinental Jakarta Pondok Indah to introduce his unique gastronomic perspective to the epicurean scene of the city.

E: Who or what inspired you most to pursue a career in the culinary arts?

Attila Körmöczi: For me, it was being born into a very culinary family. We owned a small restaurant in Germany when I was 8 years old, my brother was the chef, my mother was the front of house waitress and my father was a butcher. My brother is 12 years older and I looked up to him very much. By the time I was 14, I was proficient with the professional preparation of ingredients used in the restaurant.

E: Being relatively new to the epicurean scene in Jakarta, what was it about your current position that motivated you to relocate to Jakarta?

A: My brother used to work in the city during the early ’90s. Having visited many times, I knew the city well and always looked back on it nostalgically. Jakarta is a booming and thriving city and I was very motivated to work for InterContinental. It was a challenging offer to take, but you could see the hotel was serious about what it was doing with its F&B programme.

E: Before moving to Indonesia, to what countries has your career taken you and what country has had the greatest impact on your culinary style?

A: There are only three countries: Germany, China and Indonesia. The country that had the greatest impact on my style is Germany. I was taught the basics and what I learned is still with me. I use the same mindset and the same approach to food today as I did back then, just with new and different ingredients. I love the simplicity of local techniques. They make you adaptable and flexible. You learn how to use new methods to produce the same product.

E: When someone else is cooking for you, what is your favourite dish?

A: First of all, I always enjoy it when someone else is cooking! I like simple food. Dishes that are honest, sustainable and cooked from the heart. I think family dinners and sharing food is beautiful.

E: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?

A: My job allows me to travel and explore many different cultures. During which your mindset and your thoughts are expanding. Your thinking is not short-sighted. You have a greater understanding of cultural differences around the world, which is an eye-opener.

E: What do you find to be the most challenging issues in your current position?

A: In today’s environment, it’s challenging responding to changes in regulations in a proper, flexible and fast way. It means having to manage your staff, your food supplies and your opening hours to remain in line with the latest government protocols. These challenges reinforce that anything is possible, rather than impossible.

E: What has been the greatest compliment you have received from a guest for whom you have cooked?

A: She married me. I met my beautiful wife on 24 December in Bali. As for other guests, when I have the chance to cook a tailored meal specifically for a guest that may have previously had an unfavourable dining experience, that is the biggest compliment. When I am allowed to cook for them again, seeing the reaction in the guest’s eyes, in their voice and their smile always makes me happy.

E: When not in the kitchen, what do you enjoy doing to relax?

A: For me, there are two things. I love to go to the gym to free my mind. Secondly, I am very connected with nature. I like hiking, the ocean and fishing; anything outside that allows for that connection.

E: What has changed the most during your years working in the culinary world?

A: When I began my professional career, I worked in Michelin-starred restaurants, where you use up to eight pots and pans to complete one plate. It was a very complicated way of cooking, but it was a very fun way too. Now, I think simplicity is nice. Not going overboard is important. The things that need to be on the plate are there without overdoing it.

E: What advice would you offer someone when beginning their journey to becoming a master chef?

A: You need to know about the sacrifices you will have to accept. Your friends and family need to understand that you may not be able to celebrate occasions such as birthdays and public holidays together. You have to be clear about what you want to achieve. Learn as much as you can at a young age in the best restaurants. Show that you have the passion and motivation while always trying to work for the best of the best. If you are scared of doing it, go and do it. 


Brined Roasted Turkey

INGREDIENTS

Brined Roasted Turkey

  • 1 fresh turkey
        (with a good amount of fat)

For the Brine:

  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 3 fresh oranges (cut into large cubes)
  • 3 onions (cut into large cubes)
  • 3 apples (cut into large cubes)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 10 twigs fresh thyme
  • 150g honey
  • salt & pepper as per taste
  • 3-4 sticks cinnamon
  • 4-6 pieces star anise
  • cold water (reserve for use in step 3)

METHOD

  • In a container deep enough to completely submerge the turkey in liquid, add the first ten brine ingredients and stir to combine.
  • Clean turkey, pat dry with paper towel and place into brining container with mixture. 
  • Add enough cold water to container to completely submerge turkey in brining mixture.
  • Marinate in brine overnight for 12-18 hours. 
  • Remove turkey from brine and place breast side down in an appropriately sized roasting pan. (reserve brine for use in step 6)
  • Fill roasting pan with enough brine to reach a level 4-5cm from the bottom of the pan.
  • Place turkey into pre-heated 200C oven and roast turkey bottom side up for 45 minutes.
  • After 45 minutes, turn turkey breast side up and roast for an additional 45 minutes.
  • Continue roasting at 200C for about 90 minutes until doneness indicator pops up, if turkey lacks doneness indicator, after 90 minutes, test for doneness every 10 minutes until internal temperature at thigh/leg area reaches 74C or until juices run clear.
  • Allow turkey to rest for 5-10 minutes and carve as desired.

*Chef recommended sides: 

Red Cabbage, Brioche & Dried Fruit Dumplings and Brussel Sprouts.


InterContinental Jakarta Pondok Indah

Jalan Metro Pondok Indah

Jakarta 12310, Indonesia

T: (+62) 2175908854

jakartapondokindah.intercontinental.com