Kunihiro Moroi Executive Japanese chef at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta

Kunihiro Moroi Executive Japanese chef at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta

Chef Kunihiro Moroi is a master of his native country’s authentic flavours and techniques. Along the way, he travelled around the world, sharing his craft as well as learning more modern influences. Now heading the renowned OKU at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta, Chef Moroi introduces his blend of old and new in the restaurant’s popular offerings.

E: Would you tell us about how you got into cooking in the first place?

A: I learned cooking from an early age. I think ever since my grandfather opened an omakase tempura restaurant back home in Kyoto, I was hooked.

E: In the early stages of your career, you went from culinary school straight to Tsurukou. How did it feel to work in such respected kitchen as a rookie?

A: Tsurukou is now a two Michelin-starred restaurant, but when I started working there, the famous rating system had not yet reached Japan. So, my reason for working there was simply because I wanted to quickly study various dishes and add to my knowledge, as well as my skills. I wanted to elevate myself and move on to the next stage of cooking.

E: You worked in a sushi and puffer fish restaurant in Osaka for seven years. Was it hard to master fugu? What did you learn from the experience?

A: One thing to remember: new chefs don’t get to touch puffer fish, especially at expensive kaiseki restaurants like the one I worked in. A puffer fish restaurant needs chefs who can fillet the fish – alive – in 90 seconds. Every day, we would have 300 orders for puffer fish sashimi. I learned from every single order, every single day, and worked my way up. Safe to say, my fugu technique and knowledge improved dramatically over time.

E: You’ve worked in kitchens all over Asia and in the USA. What do you think defines a good team in the kitchen?

A: Number one is teamwork. Other factors that follow are discipline in hygiene management, food quality control, and routine maintenance of the kitchen and its equipment.

E: Following the previous question, if you were to choose, which was your favourite city to work in and which was your favourite city to live in?

A: It would be Macau or Singapore for work. But Macau or Jakarta to live in.

E: Your career spans an impressive 30 years. Can you share with us your most memorable experience?

A: Two of my favourites are that I was part of the team at Wing Lei Palace in Macau that was inducted into Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, while later on, I helped KOMA at Marina Bay Sands reach the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. 

E: With your experience, you must already have your own daily work routine. Tell us what a typical working day looks like for Chef Kunihiro Moroi.

A: I start with a meeting with my team. Then I check the kitchen equipment and food quality; the latter also includes tasting and checking incoming ingredients. After that I move on to lunch service, dinner service, while also inventing new dishes. Usually, I end the day by making a recap of the day, as well as ordering items for the next service.

E: Chef, let’s imagine: a first-time visitor steps into OKU. What would you recommend that they order and why?

A: First, I always ask about allergies and likes and dislikes. If everything is OK, I recommend the lobster ceviche or salmon pillow. Both are signature dishes of mine.

E: You have been in Jakarta for almost a year now. We always ask foreign chefs in Jakarta: what’s your favourite dish in the city?

A: So far, my favourite is sop kaki kambing (goat leg soup) and sate kambing (goat satay). 



  • 80g tuna 
  • 20g takuwan (pickled radish)
  • 8g shiokonbu
  • 10ml sesame oil
  • 4g white sesame seed
  • 10g soy sauce
  • 3g sea salt
  • 3g chives
  • 3g cut nori
  • 3pcs chervil


  1. Cut tuna into three pieces measuring 4cmx9cmx4mm.
  2. Arrange tuna on plate, sprinkle with sesame oil and soy sauce. 
  3. Add shio konbu, white sesame seed, chives & sea salt.
  4. Dice the remaining tuna into 4mm cubes.
  5. Dice the takuwan into 4mm cubes.
  6. Mix diced tuna and takuan in sesame oil and soy sauce. Place on sliced tuna.
  7. Finish with nori and chervil.


at Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta (kempinski.com)