How did you get interested in baking?
My childhood is full of many distinct memories of hovering around my grandmother when she baked. The first recipe she taught me was a simple butter cake. I watched her and tried to develop my own techniques. I was particularly interested in how we can enhance and manipulate raw ingredients into dishes that you wouldn’t have thought of using it for.
As I kept playing around in the kitchen, I realised I wanted to build my career in culinary. Also, my family runs an F&B business and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about culinary so I can inject fresh new ideas into our family business.
Could you tell us more about the family business and your role?
Physalis’s Patisseries et Viennoiserie supplies desserts and baked products to exclusive retailers, high-end hotels, cafés, restaurants, bakeries, golf clubs and airlines in Indonesia. Our kitchen is well equipped with the latest bakey equipment and we have about 30 staff members working with us!
I head the production line for four departments in the kitchen - pastry, bakery, cookies and chocolate. My main responsibility is to manage workflow, maximize productivity and minimize waste.
Why did you decide to join the family business after achieving your degree?
I have always had a passion for food so it was natural for me to join and bring a new and different perspective to the business.
Working with my family gave me the confidence to take ownership of my job and implement the entrepreneurship skills and knowledge I gained while studying in Switzerland.
How do you separate work and personal time while working with your family?
To be honest, it’s difficult to separate work and family time. Even though we’re working together, we don’t often see each other much at work as we all have our individual responsibilities. Often, I find myself approaching my dad during family time to seek his advice on important work matters.
However, it truly is rewarding to work with people who share the same values and are 100% behind me and my goals. Spending time with my family at work is an added incentive.
What are your plans for the future?
My priority is to continue finding new inspiration and use it for original dessert recipes that will help Physalis’s Patisseries et Viennoiseries become a major player in Indonesia’s patisserie market.
There is a demand for authentic European cuisines in Indonesia and I believe that is where I can provide the expertise I got from living and studying at the Culinary Arts Academy in Switzerland.
Indonesia and Jakarta especially, has a thriving and competitive culinary scene. Any advice to aspiring young Indonesian talents?
Always take pleasure and have fun in what you do. Passion for food will motivate you to push beyond your boundaries, but hard work and dedication is crucial to achieve success in this industry.
What’s your favourite dessert?
It’s got to be Tarte au Citron! That was also one of the earliest recipes I learnt and till today I enjoy making it. I also cannot resist a good Millefeuille! The crispness of the puff pastry combined with the sweet pastry cream is a match made in dessert heaven!
Michael graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Culinary Arts:
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