A highly notable figure in the culinary scene, chef Vindex Tengker has honed his skills in many top kitchens around the world. From working in luxury hotels to serving as Vice President for Inflight Service at Garuda Indonesia, the hard-working man is now making the most of his free time to create lasting memories with his family.
Q: What is your daily activity now that you’re spending more time at home?
A: I am loving this time at home because I get to spend it with my family. Since the lockdown, we have been cooking together more, especially lunch. Besides that, I’m still doing my F&B consulting at home, as well as selling baked goods, which are freshly made every day. I have also been getting a lot of requests to create online cooking lessons, so I am trying out live sessions with my followers on Instagram. With the world going digital, it’s a fun way to share our ideas and recipes. People get to learn and recreate everything they see at home.
Q: How are you managing to stay healthy while at home? Can you share some tips?
A: Being at home, I try to keep physically moving. In the morning, I usually start by walking around the neighbourhood, with my mask on, of course. In the afternoon, if I can, I’ll cycle to the nearest shop to buy necessities. Eating healthy food is also important, try to drink freshly made juices that are full of vitamins. Getting a good night’s sleep and living a full happy life will also lead to a healthy lifestyle.
Q: You’ve been posting delicious food on your Instagram lately, how many new recipes have you tried?
A: I don’t really do many new recipes, but I have been trying to perfect my baking skills with sourdough bread. I have been a chef for 31 years now, but it all started in the hot kitchen where I mainly created savoury dishes. My passion for making bread started in 1996, when I was working for Four Seasons in Los Angeles. After a while, I started to miss it. Now, I can proudly say that I am pretty good at baking.
Q: What are you cooking at home for your family during lockdown?
A: Beside pastry and bakery, I’m making old recipes from my grandmother. Mostly Manadonese cuisine, but it’s the stuff that you grew up with that has those lasting memories. We also try to mix it up once in a while with some international dishes, such as pasta, steak or Korean-inspired fried chicken!
Q: While we know this situation is difficult, is there something you are especially enjoying?
A: In life, we have to find the positive things in a difficult situation. While being busy is good, we sometime forget about what really matters the most, which is family. I am truly enjoying this time at home to be with my family, at the same time recharging the energy that I have been spending for the last three decades. Moreover, I am also using this time to be spiritually closer to God, and to fully understand the meaning of life.
Crispy Korean Chicken
800g chicken, cut into 10 pcs
128g all-purpose flour
3 tbsp corn starch
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger, grated
4 cups water
3 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp BBQ sauce
2 tbsp Gochujang (Korean chilli sauce)
1 tbsp light soya sauce
- Make the batter by mixing all ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- To make the sauce cook sesame oil, garlic and ginger for 40 seconds in a microwave or in a saucepan.
- Mix the rest of the sauce ingredients with the garlic and ginger sesame paste.
- Fry the chicken twice. First dip lightly in batter and fry in medium-hot oil until cooked and light brown. Drain excess oil and set aside.
- Then, once again, dip the cooked chicken in the batter and fry again until golden brown. Drain excess oil.
- Dip the still hot twice-cooked chicken in the sauce to glaze. It is ready to eat, however, if you want to caramelize the glaze, then place the glazed chicken on a tray and bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.