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What Chef Eats: Kade Chandra

What Chef Eats: Kade Chandra

Auli Cinantya
12 August 2023

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From discussing hidden gems to revealing his favorite restaurants, Chef Kade Chandra shares his culinary insights and highlights.

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In the realm of culinary artistry, Kade Chandra emerges as a prominent figure. Holding the positions of Principal/Managing Partner across three distinguished Food & Beverage Entities – NoolStrala Café, NoolStrala Bread Factory, and Maple & Oak/MØ – his daily pursuits revolve around orchestrating the seamless operations of these establishments.

Kade’s affinity for the culinary craft goes beyond the kitchen. For him, cooking is a form of therapy, an avenue for expression and experimentation with ingredients, creating dishes that encapsulate his unique touch.

Having a fondness for boldly flavored food, Kade shares his favorite restaurants and a hidden gem he recently discovered

Hi! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities.
My name is Kade Chandra. I’m currently the Principal/Managing Partner of three different Food & Beverage Entities: NoolStrala Café, NoolStrala Bread Factory, and Maple & Oak/MØ. My day-to-day activities start with overseeing the operations of the three outlets. On busy days, I could travel up to 60km back and forth between these outlets.

What do you like the most about being a chef?
Being able to cook is therapeutic. It provides a sense of independence to play with ingredients and create whatever I want. Also, the joy of knowing that people love the food I cook is very fulfilling.

How do you describe your cooking style?
I always describe my cooking style as very basic. I believe cooks should master fundamental skills before moving on to complex dishes. I fell in love with sticking to the basics. Simple is best!

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
A few months ago, my girlfriend, who works in a Chinese mining company, took me to a hole-in-the-wall Szechuan eatery called MUTIARA Chinese Food in Tanjung Duren area. It’s among the best Chinese food I’ve had in Jakarta. A place that the Chinese Diaspora here frequents.

What is the most unforgettable food experience you have ever had?
RVLT Natural Wine Bar in Singapore. The moment I stepped in, it was like entering a different world of wine. They combined Wine with Rock & Roll in a grungy place with a minimal-dark interior. Breaking the “Wine & Dine” stereotype by serving typical Singaporean cuisine with a twist.

Do you have any go-to venues for hanging out with friends or for special occasions with family?
SILK Bistro by Chef Freddie Salim is an amazing place with amazing food. My family is picky, so deciding where to go is tough. SILK is always our go-to.

To you, what would make a perfect meal?
A perfect meal is when I’m gathered with loved ones, sharing stories, laughter, creating unforgettable experiences.

What is the food that you love the most?
I love everything Southeast Asian – Thai, Malay, Indo. Our cuisine’s herbs and spices make it great. But I also have a fondness for Indian food. Bold and flavorful foods are my preference. Fez Kinara in Kemang serves one of, if not the best, Indian food in town.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored?
Thai and Indian cuisines are my favorites, hands down.

What are your favorite local dishes, and where do you go to eat them?
My love for Santan-based soto is undeniable. H. Mamat’s is the best. Out of this world, topped with oseng daging and emping.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
I recently had a quick trip to Bali and got the chance to meet a good friend of mine, Chef Ryan Theja, who just opened his second outlet called Lulu Bistrot in Canggu. Amazing place with amazing service and food, especially that super crispy skin barramundi; it felt like he glued the fish skin crackers on the fish, hahaha. 

Did you develop new recipes or discover a new type of food you have enjoyed in the recent year?
Recently, the team at Maple & Oak is preparing a Mexican-themed brunch in collaboration with a well-known local taqueria. So, we have been R&D-ing with different types of nixtamalized corn and homemade tortillas. It’s kinda amazing to do something that’s been around for hundreds or even thousands of years before us.

Where are your top three dining places that are always on your favorite list? And which food do you recommend getting at those places?

– Lac Mei Che – Mapo Tofu
– Silk Bistro – Red Curry Lamb Shank and Truffle Beef Noodle
– Mutiara Chinese Food – Tumis Paprika Babi Jinten (Sauteed Pork in Paprika and Cumin)

What are the most unique ingredients you have ever worked with?
oh, it’s been a while since I put my hands on ingredients, hahaha, but the most unique, or the weirdest ingredient I have ever worked with, is Ikan Kudu Kudu. It’s like a box-shaped fish with a really hard exterior. but the meat was just okay.

Is there any new plan or projects that we could look forward to?
We have a lot of collaborations lined up for both Nool/Strala and Maple & Oak/MØ for the remainder of the year. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We will bring in our friends to host pop-ups or dining experiences at our place. Stay tuned!

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