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What Chef Eats: Lukman Hakim

What Chef Eats: Lukman Hakim

Auli Cinantya
22 July 2023

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Executive Sous Chef of Raffles Jakarta, Chef Lukman Hakim, shares his favorite food, dining spots, and exciting upcoming projects.

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Meet Chef Lukman Hakim, a culinary prodigy whose journey began at the age of 19 when he left home to explore and refine his craft across various continents and cultures, including Japan, The Netherlands, and Dubai.

As the Executive Sous Chef of Raffles Jakarta, his passion for culinary excellence fuels engaging dining services with his team at Arts Café. The show kitchen’s weekly rotating showcase inspires him, drawing ideas from articles, books, and guest feedback to craft new menus.

Join Chef Lukman in savoring the abundant culinary offering as Chef Lukman shares his favorite food, dining spots, and an exciting upcoming project that promises to enthrall the culinary world.

Hi Chef! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your day-to-day activities?
My culinary journey began at the age of 19 when I left home to explore and hone my craft in various continents and cultures, including Japan, The Netherlands, and Dubai UAE, and returned to Indonesia in 2015. I started my career with Raffles Jakarta in 2021. 

My typical day starts with stretching and a refreshing shower before walking to work at 5:30 AM. Throughout the day, I’m passionately engaged in dining services with my team at Arts Café. In between will be working on my new menus since the Show Kitchen showcase is rotating weekly. I draw my inspiration from articles, books & our guest feedback on the dishes. Getting to know the guest and their preferences are valuable information for me.

After work, I enjoy food-related readings before calling it a day at midnight.

 

What do you like the most about being a chef?
The most rewarding aspect of being a chef is witnessing people’s reactions when they taste my food; kind of cliché indeed, but I enjoy every moment of it. It’s incredible how food can connect with people from diverse cultures despite language barriers.

How do you describe your cooking style?
I’ve been eating my way through this vast archipelago and figuring out the different ways I can apply my own twist with various cooking techniques.

What is the most unforgettable food experience you have ever had?
Among the unforgettable food experiences etched in my memory are the exquisite flavors of horsemeat sashimi, the delightful tang of pickled herring, and the briny allure of Tsarskaya oysters.

What usually attracts you to visit a place to eat?
My choice of dining places revolves around knowing the chefs behind the food/establishment, recommendations from friends, captivating ambiance, and the urge to fulfill my cravings.

Do you have any memorable food memories?
The memory takes me back to a snowy winter in Fujiya Miyanoshita, Japan, where I relished the heart-warming delight of hot Japanese Kare Rice topped with Onsen Tamago.

To you, a perfect meal wouldn’t be complete without?
For me, a perfect meal finds its culmination in the company of dear friends and drinks.

What is your most recent dining destination that left a good impression?
While the pandemic limited my recent dining experiences, Man Man Unagi at Senopati strikes a chord, leaving a lasting impression.

Do you have any go-to venues for hanging out with friends or maybe for special occasions with family?
I appreciate venues that are kid-friendly and conveniently available for my family.

Is there any food you can eat every day without getting bored? Do you have any place you frequently go to for it?
I do! I enjoy the big breakfast at Sisterfields, while the comforting richness of ramen at Ramen 7 Tori Samurai, Menya, and Hakatta never cease to captivate my taste buds. Additionally, Dak Dong Jib and Cheese Snow chicken at Noodle King are my frequent haunts.

Are there any new restaurants that have picked your interest?
Morimoto has been igniting my curiosity lately. I wish to visit soon.

What are the most unique ingredients you have ever worked with?
It would be Monk Fish. Hahaha!

What is your favorite type of food/cuisine? What is the food you love the most?
I love Indonesian, Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines as it holds a special place in my heart. The food I love the most is Noodles, expertly grilled dishes, slow-cooked delights, and a profusion of aromatic herbs and leaves are the essentials of my culinary passion.

Do you have any memorable food trips?
I enjoyed the memorable food journeys across Bali, Dubai, and Japan, discovering new gastronomic wonders in each destination.

What are your favorite local dishes, and where do you go to eat them?
My culinary journey across Indonesia has led me to discover delectable delights from our rich heritage. Some of my favorites include:

  • Nasi Ayam Bu Oki in Jimbaran, Bali
  • Nasi Rawon Kalkulator in Surabaya
  • Lumpia Semarang Mbak Lien in Semarang
  • Tauto Pekalongan
  • RM Sunda Purwakarta in Bandung
  • Lempah Kuning in Pangkal Pinang
  • Kari Bihun Tabona in Medan
  • Bihun Bebek Kumango in Medan

Where are your top three dining places that will always be on your favorite list?
LPM Restaurant & Bar in Dubai, CUCA Restaurant in Jimbaran, Bali, and Sisterfields Seminyak are my top three dining places that will always be on my favorite list.

Did you develop new recipes or discover a new type of food you have enjoyed recently?
At the moment, the influences of Peruvian dishes and flavours have opened new horizons of culinary creativity for me.

Every Friday, Raffles Jakarta has a “Butcher’s Table” at Arts Cafe, can you tell us the creative process and the inspiration behind each theme of the Butcher’s Table?
Butcher’s Table at Arts Cafe unfolds as the result of brainstorming sessions with our team, which includes EAM F&B Matias Ayala and Mirah, our creative Director of MarCom.

The themes we offer include Original Premium Cuts, Japanese Wagyu, American BBQ, and Korean Hanwoo Beef. Drawing inspiration from memorable dining experiences, we weave innovative Raffles touches into each theme, redefining the art of culinary delight.

Is there any new plan or project that we could look forward to?
Arts Café by Raffles is an invitation to embark on a gastronomic adventure. We want to invite the guests to taste our brand-new range of house specialties. From dry-aged meat to the evolving menu at The Show Kitchen, we aim to challenge the guests’ palate with a playful reinvention of globally-inspired cuisine.

We are currently working on the upcoming new concept at Arts Café by Raffles. Please look forward for the new projects.

 

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