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What’s On Patrese Vito’s Plate

What’s On Patrese Vito’s Plate

Nisya Kunto
22 September 2021

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Chef Patrese Vito’s career has progressed exponentially - aside from helming Botanica’s kitchen and running his own juice business, he also manages Team Indonesia at Bocuse d’Or 2021.

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There is no understating what a year can bring, especially in such unpredictable times. My first encounter with Chef Patrese Vito was during his tenure as Chef de Cuisine at VIEW Restaurant, Fairmont Jakarta. Then, I was introduced to Chef Vito’s flair and precision in creating delectable dishes through a dinner menu that highlighted fine dining quality cuisine, with Asian elegance that features seasonal produce. 

A bit over a year later, our more recent encounter marks a different stage of his career. Currently, Chef Vito is the executive chef of Botanica Dining at Ashta, an al fresco all day dining restaurant  that features a casual yet tasty array of dishes. At the same time, Vito is helping Team Indonesia for the Bocuse d’Or finals in Lyon, all while running his own juice business at HOM Juice.

Enticed by the speed, precision, and tension that becomes the nature of the job, Chef Vito’s curiosity continues to be the fuel that drives his culinary career, “Food and beverage is an essential part of human life, and the idea of presenting beautiful yet tasty food is what triggers me to venture further into the industry,” shared Chef Vito. Chef Vito assumed his current position at Botanica Dining back in March, where he brings to the table a parade of colourful and robust dishes, while maintaining that same unique identity that sets him apart. Among its specialties is the mouthwatering saikoro beef espetada, served with a side of Basmati rice and Botanica Salad.

In between his culinary pursuits, Chef Vito has also assumed the role of Team Manager for Team Indonesian of the Bocuse d’Or Final 2021. “The team has started preparation since October 2020, but due to the circumstances, the schedule of the final has been changed several times,” he shared.

With more than a year to prepare, Vito is there to ensure that all the I’s are dotted, and every T crossed. “My role as team manager mostly revolves around preparing paperwork and ensuring that the team is thoroughly prepared for the final,” he shared as we opened our conversation, “Due to the time difference, I usually spend my early mornings or late evenings to correspond with France.”

“The team has been preparing intensively for the past three months, leading up to the departure on September 21st, 2021. My job for the team is to help them streamline their workflow, manage their time, and secure funding and sponsorship — which was no easy feat.” Although presented with a strenuous task of preparing a team, Vito does not back down from the challenge, “At the head of our team is Chef Mandif Warokka, it is an immense help that we’ve known each other for awhile. It certainly helps in communicating what the team needs during the preparation stage.” Prior to his recent tenures, Vito started his culinary career with an internship at Teatro Gastroteque. Only after he graduated from the hospitality management program at Universitas Trisakti did he join BLANCO par Mandif, “That was where I learned how to explore more into the local delicacies and how to best present it on the plate without overshadowing their own robust flavours,” shared Chef Vito.

Chef Vito let us in on the preparation that Team Indonesia undergoes to prepare themselves to perform at the most prestigious culinary championship in the world, that will take place from Sunday, September 26th, to Monday, September 27th, 2021. Team Indonesia consists of Chef Mandif Warokka and Nugraha Lutfi as commis chef, both from BLANCO par Mandif in Ubud, Bali. The team practices under the tutelage of Chef Chris Salans of Mozaic Restaurant, and Chef Gilles Marx of Amuz Gourmet, who also presides as the president of Bocuse d’Or Indonesia, “The team has been practicing for sixteen hours a day, every day, with two days off each week,” he said. Aside from the practice itself, the preparation program includes menu designing, the creation plate and take away boxes, as well as the product design, “Chef Mandif and Lutfi designed the plate and take-away packaging. It’s an exciting challenge since this is the first time in the history of Bocuse d’Or that the take-away aspect is included, as to keep up with the challenges of dining in the time of a pandemic,” he continued. 

With a total of twenty-three teams competing from all over the world, Team Indonesia’s focus is to create a menu that tells the story of Indonesia’s culinary culture: enhancing the flavors of Indonesia’s local spices and herbs, while not overpowering the main theme of the competition, “The theme this year revolves around the seasonal produce of tomato, and we are faced with the challenge of presenting a hot dish that showcases a whole braised beef paleron.” One of the biggest challenges faced by the team is the availability of produce, and the discrepancy between the local produce and what is available at Lyon, “That is why the team is up for more on-site practice once they arrive in Lyon, to familiarize themselves with the produce that are provided by the Bocuse d’Or committee.”

It is no secret that working in a hot kitchen is a rigorous and demanding environment, adding to that, the stakes of taking home the Bocuse d’Or trophy and the chance to put Indonesia in the spotlight of the international culinary scene. To guarantee best performance at the international stage, Team Indonesia prepared more than just their culinary mastery, “On top of preparing for their culinary craft in the kitchen, the team have also previously gone through a physical training program to make sure that their physical and psychological condition are up to the challenge.” 

Team Indonesia concluded their westbound journey to Lyon yesterday, along with crates of equipment and ingredients in their hand-carry baggage. They are settling into the picturesque French town, and beginning to prepare themselves for the first Bocuse d’Or competition for Indonesia in a decade. I spent the past  few days watching Team Indonesia’s final preparation and will spend the coming days leading up to the competition eagerly awaiting their updates, in anticipation of the live streaming of the competition on September 26th, 2021. 

Among the pack in Lyon is Chef Vito, who has managed to juggle the responsibilities of his own, while managing a team at a prestigious competition. This year, Chef Vito is the team manager for Bocuse d’Or Indonesia — there is no telling what other adventure the coming years will bring him. We wish Chef Vito and Team Indonesia the best of luck at the Bocuse d’Or stage as they battle it out in front of international spectators. Bonne chance!

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