The Indonesian F&B team with Andi Suhandi (left) at the Indonesian Consulate General in Dubai on Thursday evening. John Varughese/Gulf Today
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
It was a night to remember for a group of Indonesians who have been working in the hospitality/food and beverage sectors in Dubai.
It was the “Mari Makan” on Thursday evening at the Indonesian Consulate General in Al Hudaiba, Dubai which Consul General Ridwan Hassan termed as “close collaboration and partnership.”
Translated, “Mari Makan” is “Let’s Eat.”
Under the guidance of Towers Rotana Hotel executive sous chef Andi Suhandi, host government officials, the diplomatic community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, and Indonesians and businessmen from across the country, were given a “Taste of Indonesia” by way of 16 welcome drinks, starters, entrees, and sweets, served cocktail style.
In the background were Top-of-the-Charts classical/pop songs, melodiously interpreted by a musician of over 10 years, using the “sasando,” the tube zither, a harp-like traditional string instrument native to the Rote Island of East Nusa Tenggara.
The starter “Asinan Bogor” was featured in the “Act for Guests” whereby Madame Asli Alant Kilic, wife of Turkey Consul General Ilker Kilic, led in the hands-on preparation of the salad using unripe papaya, pineapple, red radish, carrot, white cabbage, kimchi, beansprout coating these with fresh hot-sweet-sour sauce.
Hassan hinted the affair was only a preview since “something big is coming up” with Ambassador to the UAE Husin Bagis at the helm, who, on the sidelines, was visibly delighted with the goings-on.
“This is my dream (of putting on high spot my country’s cuisine),” said Suhandi, responsible for the selection of the team consisting of 10 chefs, assistant chefs, commis pastries, waiters and hotel management staff from the various ranks of hotels and restaurants in Dubai.
The youngest team member was Yasmin Thika, a new Culinary graduate from the Sekolah Tinggi Pariwisata in Bandung, niece of Suhandi, and six months as commis pastry in Sofitel JBR. The sweet tooth chose to specialize in commis pastry because she loves baking and making Indonesian sweets.
Time table for the menu planning, selection and cocktail style set-up was four weeks.
Suhandi took note of the preferences of the communities in the UAE: “So there is duck, beef, fish, lamb and how we are going to present these with our traditional Indonesian way of cooking, the mildness, the spicy-ness. It was challenging.”
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