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What Chef Eats: Chef Andri Dionysius

What Chef Eats: Chef Andri Dionysius

Auli Cinantya
27 November 2023


Chef Andri Dionysius, the chef patron and driving force behind MDA's restaurants, shares his most unforgettable culinary journeys and insights into his top three dining destinations.


At the epicenter of MDA Restaurants, Chef Andri Dionysius leads a culinary revolution that transcends the ordinary. His inventive spirit has not only elevated but redefined Jakarta’s dining scene, introducing avant-garde concepts that push the boundaries of gastronomy. Through a lens of creativity and a commitment to excellence, Chef Andri crafts sophisticated culinary narratives, turning each meal into an extraordinary encounter for the discerning palates of Jakarta’s food enthusiasts.

In his daily routine spanning 12-14 hours, primarily at MD Place, Chef Andri oversees the management of five lifestyle restaurant brands under MDA. The consolidated setup allows him to seamlessly navigate between venues throughout the day.

With us, Chef Andri shares tales of his most memorable food trips and divulges insights into his top three dining places.

Hi Chef! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities?
Hello foodies! My daily routine spans 12-14 hours, mainly at MD Place, where I manage five lifestyle restaurant brands under MDA. Having all five restaurants under one roof makes it easy for me to hop around the venues at any time of the day!

What do you like the most about being a chef?
The freedom to express myself! For me, cooking is my language and a way of connecting with people and making them happy—because corny jokes don’t always work for everyone. Without food talk, maybe a conversation with me and a random stranger would be boring and very quiet.

How do you describe your cooking style?
Progressive, taking inspiration from the most random things, keeping things fun, but most importantly, tasty!

What usually attracts you to visit a place to eat?
Apart from popular local restaurants, since I love driving wherever I visit, I always stop whenever I see a crowd or line, even if I have never heard of the place.

Do you have any memorable or the most unforgettable food memories?
Back in 2002, my first fresh pasta encounter when I joined culinary school in Pasadena, CA. At 20 years old, looking back, I had never been exposed to what people know as Italian/osteria dishes. To me, a serving of pasta was Pizza Hut’s or Olive Garden’s at best. Then, on the first day of international cuisine class, we made fresh pasta carbonara, the real deal with guanciale and all. That’s when I can safely say that I lost my real pasta-virginity. LOL

What is your favorite type of food/cuisine? And what is the dish that you like the most?
Mexican! Tacos al Pastor!!!

You often travel; do you have any memorable food trips?
YES! XOKOL in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Before going there and just judging by the photos, I was expecting modernized Mexican cuisine, but upon tasting, my palate was instantly transported to what I thought were ancient flavors of the cuisine. And the way they make various tortillas, my God, their tortillas are maybe the best I’ve ever had. I think, from all the Mexican cuisines I have experienced, I can safely say that no one cooks up flavors like this so far.

To you, a perfect meal wouldn’t be complete without?
Another food lover to share and talk about it with.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
Yes! Santanera, Canggu.

Do you have any go-to venues for hanging out with friends or maybe for special occasions with family?
With my family, we always enjoy izakaya style settings; we love going to Hokkaido izakaya for some bites and their house-made soba noodles. When dining with more people, I always love that mala hot pot experience, Haidilao is always a safe bet.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored? Do you have any place you frequently go to for it?
I love Szechuan food! Lac mei che would be the place. If after work obviously this place would be close by, then Hai Di Lao would be a good substitute when I crave that heat!

What are your favorite local dishes, and where do you go to eat them?
Noodles!! My life would be miserable without noodles. Bakmi Acang! I always love chewy style noodles, and the way they use the entire chicken reminds me of a super experienced yakitori joint. Their soup is to die for, with the options of all the unique parts of chicken, along with hand-chopped bakso urat that maybe trumps as the best bakso urat on this planet.

Where are your top three dining places that will always be on your favorite list? And what are your recommendations from each place?
Lac mei che, Mapo tofu & anything that comes out from that kitchen lol, Medan baru, fish head curry, and Lulu Bistro, chicken liver pate & pate campagne.

Are there any new restaurants that have piqued your interest lately?
Not exactly new, but I wanted to try out Sumi to Kome; it looks up my alley for late-night izakaya joints. I also still need to make some time to visit Soichiro; they highlight a cooking technique that’s almost lost maybe in Jakarta. Curious to see how they execute it in a “steakhouse” setting.

Did you develop new recipes or discover a new type of food you have enjoyed recently?
Yes! Yucatan cuisine! Some dishes that are milder compared to most Mexican dishes. The use of recado negra in poultry or pork and the use of recado roja in the amazing Cochinita pibil.

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