The Perfect Kitchen Combo

Social House’s executive chef Aldo Volpi and his executive sous chef Solihin liken their working relationship to the flavors and textures of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Aldo and Solihin crossed paths a decade ago, the very day the popular eatery Social House was established. The duo discovered that they shared a strong passion for creating and serving exquisite food.

During this time, the pair spent hours discussing and developing the ultimate menu, with Aldo’s expertise in Western cuisine and Solihin’s in Asian. This is evident in Social House’s extensive, innovative and tantalizing menu, encompassing various food from East to West with Korean bibimbap, garlic prawns, sushi, egg benedict and pasta, to name a few.

“I wouldn’t call being a chef ‘work’. It is a lifestyle,” said Aldo, mirroring the sentiments of Solihin.

Although change is inevitable – team dynamics, customer demographics, economic conditions and more – one thing has remained unchanged over the years: Aldo and Solihin’s partnership.

“We had to keep evolving and growing, and we had each other as constants, especially during the expected highs and lows of a restaurant business,” said Aldo, who was born in Italy but considers himself as being raised in international waters before he finally settling down in Indonesia, his home for almost 12 years.

However, like every other relationship, the pair had to overcome some of their differences; a phase they called a roller coaster ride with lots of strong emotions and passion involved. During the ride, they embraced each other’s strengths, quirks and weaknesses, and used it to their advantage.

Its as though Aldo’s firm and organized personality – the peanut butter – fluently complimented Solihin’s calm and easygoing attitude – the jelly – became the perfect pair to create undeniable magic in the kitchen.

Aside from a love for food, the pair shares the same dedication and drive to continue serving customers with the best quality and flavors of food every single day, so much so that they both do not believe in ‘sick days’.

“We make the choice to show up to work even when we are not feeling well because we simply do not feel at ease at home, wondering about how the restaurant is doing,” said the self-taught chef, Solihin, who was born in Depok, Indonesia. “Our hearts and minds are so attached to it that we actually feel better being at work.”

The dynamic duo also shared that the secret to maintaining a healthy and effective working environment was through leading the team by example; this includes their shared commitment, dedication and passion for their work as well as their respect for their one another.

When asked what they loved doing together during their free time outside work, they both instantly had a fit of laughter.

“After being in the same environment with this guy [pointing to his partner-in- crime] for more than 10 hours in a day, I think it is safe to say that we would rather spend time with our families whenever we have some free time – provided there is some free time to spare!” said Aldo humorously.

The workmanship, understanding and friendship Aldo and Solihin share behind the counter is quite an inspirational one.


First Floor, East Mall
Grand Indonesia
Jalan MH Thamrin No. 1
T: +62 21 23581818
Facebook: socialhouse

Written by Divya Pridhnani Photographs by Dennie Ramon April 30, 2017.