Skip to content

What Chef Eats: Febs Asyagaf

What Chef Eats: Febs Asyagaf

Auli Cinantya
05 November 2023

SHARE

In her quest to master the art of Indonesian cuisine, Chef Febs enjoys exploring the country's diverse culinary traditions.

SHARE

Coming from a diverse, multi-ethnic Indonesian family, Febs Asyagaf is a chef who has always been passionate about exploring various cooking techniques from the archipelago’s rich culinary traditions. A finalist on Masterchef Indonesia Season 8, Febs pursued a degree in journalism before joining a culinary program in Southern France to hone her skills.

Her culinary journey has been driven by a desire to master the art of Indonesian cuisine and use the power of food to improve people’s socio economic welfare. Febs has made it her mission to give back to the community through her culinary skills, and she is currently leading one of EGK foundation’s life skill programs to build a culinary and life skills school in Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara.

Chef Febs shares her journey of traveling and discovering unforgettable cuisines. Along with her passion for spearheading the EGK Foundation’s program to improve the quality of life and help local businesses thrive.

Hi Chef! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities.
I am currently on a diving boat in Raja Ampat, where I work as a private chef. This morning, I woke up and enjoyed a cup of americano in the galley while overlooking the ocean. After some cooking prep for the day, I like to take a break and step outside to feel the ocean breeze before continuing with the next service. My favorite part of the day is at night when I go up to the sun deck to stargaze at the beautiful sky of Raja Ampat and unwind from the day.

What do you like the most about being a chef? 
I love what I do. Taking care of people through my cooking brings me joy. Additionally, I have been using it as a means to introduce Indonesian cuisine to my international guests. Cooking allows me to feel comfortable and be in my element.

How do you describe your cooking style? 
My style is all about being a free spirit and playful. I drew inspiration from my roots’ traditions and my travels around the world, which I interpreted into flavorful art on the menu.

What usually attracts you to visit a place to eat? 
I am usually drawn to a place by its culture. During a work trip to Kuching, Malaysia, I was able to explore their traditional market and had a memorable experience. I tried sago worms and three different types of ferns while engaging with locals who were passionate about food and culture.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored? Do you have any place you frequently go to for it?
Bakso is my go-to comfort food that I can never get enough of. Bakso Kumis, located in Pasar Mayestik, serves the best bakso. I have no other reason to visit that market except for the bakso. Most of the time, I have to queue up to get my hands on it, and there are no proper tables to sit at. However, the deliciousness of the bakso is worth standing and eating for. The “Mas bakso ” is originally from Central Java, and I am not sure where he gets his recipe from, but the broth is so flavorful, and the bakso is always perfectly cooked – not too soft, not too hard. Served with some bean sprout, caisim, stuffed tofu, and hard-boiled egg, Bakso is my favorite meal of all time!

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
I recently took a trip to Bangkok, where a friend of mine recommended some great restaurants. Rongros was by far the best, and their house cocktail, “Chuen Jai,” was the best cocktail I’ve had so far this year. It was made with gin, chrysanthemum, and snake fruit, and it was simply divine! Don’t forget to try their watermelon with aromatic crispy snakehead – it’s a funky combination but very interesting. I love it so much because I’m a big fan of watermelon!

You are not in Bangkok if you haven’t eaten their curry. Mae Yui makes the best red duck curry. It’s cooked to perfection, with a rich curry and tender duck; that’s just the right reason for visiting Bangkok in the first place! And their Fried vermicelli with petai and prawn is also a must-try. It tastes familiar with a unique appearance but in a good way! 

Also, their coconut ice cream stands out among other flavors! It’s creamy and coconutty, yet still light. Whenever I recall the taste, I feel like I’m walking on clouds! It’s a must-try, and I will definitely come back for this.

Where are your top three dining places that will always be on your favorite list? And what are your recommendations for each place? 

I remember I had this beautiful Pacific Oyster from Fonico in Mexico City. I usually prefer fresh oysters with lemon, but Chef Billy’s creation was just top-notch! The oyster was topped and grilled with ginger and chili. He made it so tasty and light that it still held the original taste of the oyster. To end the course, their Arroz con Leche with passion fruit and coconut were creamy, sweet, and sour, with flavors dancing in my mouth.

When I studied in France, I lived in a small town in the south. Whenever I needed to run errands, I had to go to Montpellier by train. There’s a bar 5 minutes walking from the St. Roch station called Les Bockale. They have different types of artisan beer. My favorite was the Blonde au Muscat 5.5, which has a soft taste, a very refreshing elderberry aroma, and a honey aftertaste.

I love Korean barbecue. Born Ga is my and my friend’s quick fix. We love to order Samgyeopsal with extra radish kimchi and veggie requests, only lettuce and perilla. Oh, and their Yukhoe (seasoned raw beef) is so fresh, don’t miss that out. Fresh beef tartare served with egg yolk and crunchy sliced pear, dipped in a sesame oil wrap in perilla. Ahh, so good! Also, remember to try their locally-made Makgeolli. You will definitely feel like you have arrived in Seoul! 

I love iced coffee with our local oat milk. But the best way to have that coffee is with Jiwel, my favorite jajanan pasar in Pasar Cihapit Bandung. Since I have family there, I often visit them and have myself the Jiwel. Jiwel itself is an aged, blackened cassava cake with gooey texture. But to make it even more festive, my sister and I love to mix it with other bites like Cenil, Tiwul, and Getuk. Assorted colorful, sweet, and savory bites topped with shredded coconut and brown sugar sauce to cheer your morning! Available from 5 a.m. till sold out.

Did you develop new recipes or discover a new type of food you have enjoyed recently?
I traveled to Sumba, specifically Lamboya, where my friend took me to the local market. She introduced me to Lulu, a seaweed freshly harvested from the ocean. Although it looks beautiful, the taste might not be for everyone. Personally, I found it interesting as it tasted like the ocean. Inspired by this experience, I created a new recipe called The Lulu Lamboya. It is made from fresh lulu, coconut oil, tomato granita, young coconut, and caramel gula jawa. I was proud to feature it in a fine dining charity dinner for Sumba.

Is there any new plan or projects that we could look forward to?
Currently, I am working on a project with the EGK foundation to build a cooking school in Lamboya, Southwest Sumba. This project aims to showcase the unique cuisine of Sumba and to generate talented cooks and chefs who can work in the F&B and tourism industries. Sumba has much to offer, and I believe this cooking school will provide many opportunities to the region’s people.

More From Drinks, Features, Food

Sign-up for our bi-weekly Eatspeditions newsletter.

Food news, restaurant offers and exciting food events straight to your inbox.