Legendary hotel Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta has a deservedly solid reputation. The brand’s impeccable quality shines, resulting in generations of loyal guests for many decades. These exceptional standards extend to the hotel’s F&B outlets, which have consistently delivered outstanding creations and service over the years.
The prime example at Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta is clearly its longstanding Cinnamon restaurant. Located next to the hotel’s elegant lobby, the culinary icon has been intriguing guests from the start with its lively hubbub and enticing aromas. Cinnamon offers contemporary dining with an emphasis on various traditional Asian cuisines presented on live cooking stations, allowing guests to see the talented kitchen team prepare and cook their meal.
Clearly, Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta has more to offer. Guests can choose between classic French at Lyon, authentic Cantonese at Li Feng, poolside delicacies at Azure, curated tipples at MO Bar, or delightful pastries at The Mandarin Cake Shop. At the heart of it all is the hotel’s globally reputed and experienced culinary team, and spearheading the operations is Executive Sous Chef Jefry Aditya. A self-trained chef who worked from the very bottom through every level in the kitchen, Chef Jefry began his distinguished career as a teenage busboy in New York.
The privilege of starting in the Big Apple took him above and beyond, giving him the opportunity to work in the world’s best restaurants and cities. With a long path still ahead of him, his latest endeavor saw him assume leadership in Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta, where the diversity of its culinary offerings and enduring prominence are other challenges to overcome.
E: Tell us about how you started your career.
A: I was fortunate to be able to grow up in New York, one of the most diverse and exciting food capitals. My passion for cooking started because of my parents’ hectic work schedule, that saw my mother make fried rice and chicken soup every day for breakfast. I began to cook my own breakfast and meals for school. At the age of 14, I started to work as a busboy on the weekends and as a commis chef during summer breaks. Yet after seeing my dad’s labor intensive work as a hibachi chef, including his work hours and having no days off during festive seasons, I realised that being a chef was not a primary career choice. I later decided to take on physics, but I still worked in the food industry while I was at school. Three years into college, I made the choice to become a chef. I love the endless possibilities, the science, the fire, the heat, the pressure and the satisfied joyful expressions of diners.
E: In your own words, please define Cinnamon and its best features.
A: Cinnamon is known for the Indonesian cuisine, but as an all-day restaurant with an open kitchen, we provide dishes from all over the globe – Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, French, western, European and more. The best feature would be the team in the open kitchen. Not only are they pushed to learn and put out dishes that are at an international level, they are adept in engaging with guests.
E: What is a typical day of service for you?
A: My day starts at 7am, the first thing I do is greet the team. Next would be tasting all of the breakfast buffet dishes and making adjustments if needed. Around 8am, I check any events or paperwork that needs to be done, juggling between that and service. It’s full of checking the cleanliness of the kitchen, training the team and checking the quality of mise en place and every dish that comes out of our kitchen. In the afternoon, I plan for the upcoming service and events, making sure we have proper preparations and manpower.
E: What is your biggest challenge when working in an all-day kitchen at a five-star hotel?
A: The biggest challenge would be time management as there are no set times to do specific tasks. We need to constantly shuffle between à la carte service, buffet openings, cleaning and any events thrown at us.
E: Can you share with us the craziest moments in your career so far?
A: The craziest moments would be working under Michelin-starred chefs, where I served guests such as David Beckham, Oprah and Steve Harvey.
E: Careerwise, where do you see yourself in five and 10 years from now?
A: In five years, I want to make a mark in Indonesia as a chef, as well to be the best in my current position and exceed my peers’ expectations. In 10 years, the goal is to build a culinary school that focuses on training young chefs to compete at an international level and produce amazing chefs throughout my career.
- Signature beef rendang
- Mandarin club sandwich
- Palak paneer
at Mandarin Oriental, Jakarta