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The Sweet Side of Chef Ryan Kim

The Sweet Side of Chef Ryan Kim

Auli Cinantya
28 September 2023


Co-owner and creative pastry genius behind SU MA and Fragments, Chef Ryan Kim will take you on a delectable exploration of his 'sweet side.'


“I’m a sweet kind of person; maybe that’s why I chose pastry,” admitted Chef Ryan Kim. Born in Seoul, he co-owns Fragments Bakery, a Korean-inspired bakery located in Grand Indonesia Mall. Following his successful venture at Fragments, Chef Ryan is now a busy co-owner and the pastry genius behind SU MA, offering East Asian-inspired dishes with luxurious ingredients. Chef Ryan has cultivated his talents across Seoul, Australia, and now Indonesia, turning a passing thought into a delightful journey filled with sweets.

Chef Ryan’s journey into the culinary world began with a deep love for food. “When I travel, one of the most important aspects for me is the food,” he confessed. This love for food led him to dream of opening his own cafe someday.

“At first, I wanted to open a cafe, but I thought that before I could do that, I needed to learn how to make something,” Chef Ryan started by taking simple cooking courses. As he delved into his culinary education, he discovered his passion in the kitchen. While initially not a pastry chef, his time at Le Cordon Bleu in Australia revealed his fondness for creating sweet delights.

Pieces of Of Something Perfect

Nestled within Grand Indonesia, Fragments stands as a charming and captivating patisserie. This quaint establishment boasts a distinctive Korean-inspired style and specializes in dessert pastries, featuring Basque cheesecakes, fresh cream cakes, and scones that quickly garnered widespread attention upon its opening.

Chef Ryan explained the name choice, saying, “Fragments come from the meaning of the word itself, which is a small piece or part from something.” The concept was clear: a Korean-style pastry shop offering flavors tailored for Asian palates. Chef Ryan’s emphasis on using fresh ingredients and crafting alluring flavors has been at the heart of Fragments’ success.

“It’s all about the combination of each ingredient,” he added. Fragments boasts beloved creations such as the Matcha Strawberry Castella, a soft matcha Castella filled with house-made strawberry jam, topped with matcha fresh cream and fresh strawberries. 

“We always prioritize using the best ingredients, steering clear of artificial flavorings or colorings,” Chef Ryan emphasized. His commitment to quality ingredients shines through in every carefully crafted treat.

Among the array of offerings at Fragments, the scones have gained particular popularity. These flaky, buttery delights come in both savory and sweet varieties, making them the perfect accompaniment to your indulgence. Chef Ryan draws inspiration from the trends seen in Korean pastry and coffee shop scenes, staying true to his roots.

This charming establishment, created alongside his wife, showcases a delicate indulgence that was born from a long-held dream. As Chef Ryan puts it, “I think my wife and I are like fragments ourselves, both pieces of something greater.”

Flavor and Exploration

“The concept of SU MA revolves around East Asian dining, so we consistently seek flavors and ingredients from regions like Korea, Japan, and China,” explained Chef Ryan. SU MA, an East Asian-inspired restaurant, welcomed its first patrons in August, with Chef Rachel Tjahja and Chef Ryan Kim at the helm.

Before their venture at SU MA, Rachel and Ryan were acquainted during their time at Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney. Subsequently, they pursued their own culinary journeys. Rachel founded MEDJA by All Seasons Caterers, offering private dining and home delivery experiences, while Ryan embarked on Fragments, a dessert café he co-owns with his wife.

“Most of my creations are rooted in my childhood experiences, the dishes my parents used to prepare for me,” shared Chef Ryan. At SU MA, he taps into his creative side, experimenting with ingredients while revisiting cherished childhood favorites, exemplified by Nurungji, the featured dessert at SU MA.

Nurungji (누룽지) is a traditional Korean treat crafted from scorched rice, often left as a thin, crispy layer at the bottom of a rice pot. “In Korea, we relish Nurungji as a snack. Since childhood, we’ve enjoyed it, especially when the rice is cooked longer to achieve that crispy texture. It’s one of my cherished food memories.”

In SU MA’s signature dessert, “Nurungji,” Chef Ryan employs sea salt mousse as a central component. While reminiscent of traditional mousse cake, this creation takes a unique turn through the use of liquid nitrogen. This innovative technique metamorphoses the typically dense and indulgent mousse into something distinct in appearance and texture. The infusion of liquid nitrogen imparts a crumbly, slightly crunchy quality, resulting in a lighter and refreshingly different dessert that departs from the conventional dense and salty expectations associated with traditional mousses.

“The sea salt mousse is one of the key elements in our dessert. Think of it as a mousse cake, but I like to give it a fresh twist with liquid nitrogen. This not only changes its appearance but also its texture. Typically, when we think of mousse, it’s dense and solid. By infusing Nitro, I’ve transformed it into something crumbly with a hint of crunchiness, making it lighter and delivering a refreshing sensation.”

“I had the privilege of working with Chef Peter Gilmore at Bennelong, and I gleaned invaluable insights from him. It all begins with how he maximizes ingredients, transforming them into multifaceted elements with immense potential.”

Drawing upon his extensive experience, Chef Ryan aspires to transcend conventional uses of ingredients like strawberries. His aim is to provide customers with an extraordinary and unforgettable dining adventure.

“I want to offer my customers a remarkable and distinct dining experience. When I work with ingredients like strawberries, I don’t merely use them as-is. Instead, I ferment them to extract their juice, which becomes the foundation for a fermented strawberry sauce. Furthermore, I utilize any remaining juice by dehydrating it to create strawberry powder.”

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