TALITA SETYADI: The Baker with a Jazzy Streak

Talita Setyadi of BEAU fame always surprises with her juxtaposition of ambitious, go getter personality and sweet creations. She has high regard for Indonesian flavors which definitely gives her endeavor an additional thumbs-up.

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Talita Setyadi of BEAU fame always surprises with her juxtaposition of ambitious, go getter personality and sweet creations.  She has high regard for Indonesian flavors which definitely gives her endeavor an additional thumbs-up.

IT’S 9.30AM on a Wednesday and Talita Setyadi is preoccupied in front of her MacBook and answering phone calls. Well, if you’re a budding entrepreneur running a successful pastry business and who is currently setting up a new headquarters (at the posh area of Senopati no less), you can say it comes with the job.

BEAU is Talita’s beau-du-jour, the French-inspired bakery grounded with an Indonesian twist as well as love of artisanal arsenal. So far she’s been doing great: after premiering the shop at Plaza Indonesia last year she very quickly opened a new branch right next door in Grand Indonesia—all the more to exposed her homemade breads and delicious cakes. Her delightfully nostalgic Pandangan —made from white sesame praline crumble, coconut and palm sugar paste, mung bean crème brulée, pandan sponge, palm sugar crémeux, and coconut and pandan mousse—is already well-known, as well as her Astrid cakes (raspberry, yoghurt, white chocolate, and pistachio entremets), which is actually her prototype of future products. “This cake was the catalyst to the rest of our other creations,” says the 27-year-old pastry chef. “The first cake I created in BEAU’s signature rectangular, multi-layered style.”

There’s a certain intensity when conversing with Talita: a train of thought flashes perceptibly on her face yet every word that comes out is carefully contained and maturely thought of. She’s got a jazzy streak flowing through her veins thanks to her educational background in music (for cooking techniques she studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris)—and it shows. “What I do is a true self-expression of myself, and I’m proud that what started off as a dream finally came true in being able to create and launch BEAU, an organization of like-minded, passionate individuals gearing towards a common goal of quality artisanal products.”

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Injecting Female Sensibilities
Not that many women of her age can pave a career path like she has now, let alone having such a distinct aspiration. She takes pride in her individual originality and styles in combining French techniques and sensibilities with Indonesian flavors. “And I think what makes us different from any other French bakery and patisserie is our commitment to not use any artificial coloring, flavoring or preservatives in any of our products.”

She certainly thinks that being a woman gives her an advantage in the industry. “I feel that we are able to inject more motherly instincts and female sensibilities—it’s more from the heart and more from the soul, and definitely friendlier, more comforting, less ego-centric and technical. Through our sensitivity I feel that we’re able to inject more flavor and honesty.” But when dealing with the actual daily grind of kitchen life she’ll be as ferocious as the job requires. “I refuse to believe that being a woman reduces my effectiveness in the kitchen. I’ve always made sure I worked harder and more effective than the males in the kitchen to show them we are equals as colleagues and comrades.”

For real-life inspirational figure she notes three women that fits her role models description. “Claire Damon for her impeccable technique, execution, and distinguishable style; Marike van Beurden—who was the first female to be in the top three of the World Chocolate Masters—for her dedication and ability to smash through the glass ceiling; and Rosio Sanchez for her ingenious flavor combinations and mastery of elegant simplicity during her time in Noma.”

But despite all the intensity and immaculate answers, I guess you’re only as thoughtful as the queries that are put forth onto you. And I have a feeling that, at the end of the day, Talita loves nothing more than just to enjoy a nice cup of coffee (“I love St. Ali for really great coffee and buzzing atmosphere”) or iced teas (“their Crystaline Mojito is so floral and refreshing!”) or surrendering herself to her guilty pleasure of moist bittersweet dark chocolate cake with homemade vanilla bean ice cream. Talita says that one of her definition of success is “Being happy with where I am.” Something tells me she’s already there…


Written by Sahiri Loing Photographs by Dennie Ramon July 26, 2016.

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