What I've Learned: RAY JANSON

"Pelajaran hidup yang didapatkan di dapur yaitu the art of giving your best work for people to enjoy. And teamwork. A chef can’t handle the kitchen alone, he or she have to guide the staff, motivate them, so they also can produce the best and keep concentrating throughout the service. A chef must have the respect of the brigade."

"Do you want to be liked or respected? Respected. I never really care what people think of me. I always be myself, and you can’t be liked by everyone."

"Biasakan setiap hari untuk masak. Pergi ke pasar dekat rumah tanpa ide apapun untuk memasak. Memilih bahan-bahan yang menarik untuk dibeli, membawanya pulang, baru berkreasi dengan memasaknya. Itu sangat melatih keahlian."

"Sering-sering lah ke pasar, karena selalu banyak barang baru. Depending on the season, different season brings new different ingredients. And try to cook it."

"Ingredients is the most important thing, there’s no question."

"For example you take a simple lobster. If you buy it alive, kill it, boil for 3 minutes, open the shell, put a bulk of butter-salt-and lemon juice, and put into the oven for 3 more minutes. It’s light. It’s fresh, and most importantly: easy. Now the opposite. You buy a frozen lobster from somewhere. You repeat the process, but it will have a very dead flavour. Nothing left there, less flavour, less nutrients, so why bother cook it."

"So, if you don’t have good ingredients, simply, don’t use it. And if you don’t know the ingredients, do a research."

"You will understand the difference. Pergi mancing lalu bakar ikan di tempat atau pulang ke rumah singgah di supermarket, beli ikan, bakar ikan itu di rumah."

"When I look at the ingredients, imagination come rushing over me about what to do with it, and that's what inspires me in the kitchen."

"Ingredients are the most important thing for cooks and that becomes my culinary philosophy. If some chefs told you other wise, he's nuts!"

"My favourite ingredient is salt. It's simple, yet takes a lot of finesse, and patience. It exaggerates the flavour of other ingredients, lots of varieties but not just all people can recognize it."

"Di dapur gue harus selalu ada garam, lada, dan bayleaf."

"Kita harus sangat menghargai apa yang dilakukan di dapur. Membuang tenaga untuk ambil daging kepiting fresh lalu tidak digunakan sama sekali, itu sama saja dengan kebodohan yang disadari.

"Di dapur itu pikiran dan perasaan kita harus tenang."

"Biasakan untuk tidak membuat makanan yang complicated. Tiga bahan saja namun mengolahnya dengan teknik yang baik, itu akan jauh lebih mengagumkan."

"I’m blessed that God have given me talent in cooking. I’m creative which is very hard to teach.  And I’m also very thankful to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best chefs in Paris. And I can lead. In kitchen I can control myself and felt very comfortable. Always."

"I’m very good at remembering things. If it’s important to me, I can remember it forever. So, cooking and being a chef really fits me well."

"Consistency, it’s the quality I like in a chef. You got to deliver the best for your customers all the time, and no shortcuts."

"The hardest parts of being a chef are to done every little thing well, recognize every detail, to minimize pressure and maximize customer satisfaction. And it's always been a pleasure to me to create something with my own two hands for people to enjoy it and that becomes the best part of being a chef."

"My weakness as being a chef is people skills, I always get incredibly annoyed when people make a mistake. I'm not dealing well with my temper in the kitchen."

"What I would like to be known for as a chef? For my food. Nothing else."

"The kind of dish that is most representative of my style is simple roast chicken with verjus sauce, which is one of our signature dishes at Verjus. Its simple, and light which suit my style."

"I always see signature dishes as a positive thing because it reflects the style and personality of the chefs. Which you can't find anywhere else besides eating the dishes that he and his staffs cook for you."

"My cooking style? It's what chefs called nouvelle cuisine or new style cuisine. It a style which embraced different cooking style and technique with various ingredients from all over the world to make a dish that resembles the character and style of the chef. It’s also light and vibrants, not rich and heavy like it used to be."

"What's inspire me behind my menu is my mentor. Chef Joel Robuchon always told me and his staffs, 'The market will tell you what you cook, not you'. Meaning: you should come to the market, sees all the ingredients are there and choose what to cook from there, as things in the market are always seasonal, then automatically the ingredients available are in their prime. I also read lots and lots of cookbooks, but never copying the exact dish."

"A chef in Paris called Frederic Lesourd really took me under his wings, keeps me motivated, and give me an ass kicking when I needed it."

"Paris. I learn that I must choose the best ingredients and treat them like it is a piece of gold. I learn that kitchen life is hard, so you have to work extra hard to make it."

"Verjus it's my little catering company. It's private. So it will takes place in your house or apartment. We serve fine dining food. We use top quality ingredients from all over the world. What make it special that you can actually choose what you want to eat, cause our menu are flexible and customizable."

"To continue the success of Verjus is my main future target, by maintaining our reputation as one of the most exclusive private catering in Jakarta, and open a restaurant which reflects my cooking, and known only because the food are sublime."

"Cassis, the best French restaurant in Jakarta."

"Restaurant itu seharusnya menjadi tempat dimana orang mencari entertainment dengan makanannya itu sendiri, bukan dengan DJ atau live music, atau lainnya."

"In Indonesia it always about the trends. For pastries, last year is macaroon, this year cupcake is to get the recognition. In restaurant business, restaurants with cozy atmosphere, playing DJ's, cocktails, and unique decorations are everywhere. Cooks who adapt to this trends change their priorities so quickly, and often forget to concentrate about the most important thing the freakin food they are serving. You think about this: how often you and your peeps come to those 'restaurants' and the food sucks? And I wish that 'trend' will go away."

"My favorite breakfast is fresh-warm croissant and cafe latte. It's a daily ritual of French people, and I absolutely loved it."

"My favourite dish is sate ayam. Plain and simple because it's associated when I was a little boy, my family would bring me to a warung sate, the smell is simply irresistible to me."

"Favourite take away? Chinese takeout, Hongkong fried rice, and pork caramel. Classic!"

"The first recipe i made as a child is opor ayam, because when i helped to take the pot from the table it spilled all over me, and i cried like a baby girl."

"Dalam sebuah piring, gue memilih makanan kecil tapi banyak. You can taste different flavours and texture. Makanan porsi banyak, after three bites it will bore you."

"The best thing I ever ate is a sole meuniere, which my other mentor Bruno Strill cooked for me. It's a dover sole (which is one of the most expensive fish in the market), coated in seasoned flour, lightly fried with olive oil, and served with lemon capers sauce, and fresh chopped parsley. I can still remember the taste nuttiness of the butter, and freshness of the fish in my head when I closed my eyes. That's what a simple dish can do for a person, it stays in your memory. Call me crazy."

"I always dreaming to cook in for just one night at Waterside Inn, on the edge of Thames river because they have maintained the standards of 3 Michelin star restaurant for 25 years, amazing."

"My greatest fear is needles. I really hate needles."

"My favorite hero of fiction is Iron man. He’s arrogant not all people like him, but in the end of the day everyone must admit that he’s awesome. And my heroes in real life is my grandmother who teaches me to cook from I am four."

"Oma adalah orang yang paling berjasa dalam profesi gue sekarang. I got my passion from watching she cooks great food all the time. Food that she still cooks today is semur daging."

"Flip-flop guy? In life, yes, I am an easy going person, but in the kitchen, hell no!"

"My idea of perfect happiness is when I have achieved all my goals and have my own happy family and lots of friends."

"Teman itu keluarga yang kita pilih sendiri. Tempat dimana kita mencurahkan perasaan, have fun gila-gilaan, dan saling support disaat family kita mungkin tidak ada."

"What do you most value in your friends? Honesty. If they’re not honest to you, they are not your friend."

"I always belive that God always have a plan which is the best for me. So when something bad happened, I have faith that God have something better waiting for me. And it always true."

"It has to be the journey I took to become a cook, not yet a chef. When I looked back at the time from my Grandmother's humble kitchen, to the hard life as cooks in Cordon Bleu and as an apprentice in L'atelier de Joel Robuchon, it really taught me a lot and has shaped who I am today. I regret nothing, but still tons to learn. My Journey as a cook has just begun and the journey itself has become my favorite phase of life."

"Produk makanan komersil membuat makanan tidak authentic dan kebanyakan frozen prepared food which is not good for your body. Maka dari itu beberapa kali gue tolak iklan produk makanan komersil."

"Lot of people don't know about my secret talent, but I used to play percussion in a small acoustic band called Turquoise. I was a damn good one too."

"If I wasn't a chef, I think I will be a soccer player. Hopefully playing in the English Premiere League."

"I hate the question of marriage. For God's sake, I'm twenty one years old!

Tiga hari berturut-turut bersama seorang Ray Janson, bagai mengikuti kursus singkat padat setengah jalan semester kuliahan. Di balik sikapnya yang tenang, terdapat ledakan hasrat yang mengagumkan. Saya digampar habis-habisan oleh pengetahuannya. Saya digembleng dengan ajarannya. Saya babak-belur dibuatnya. Dengan cara yang baik tentunya. 
Inilah salah satu usaha untuk menyelami dunia masak. Saya serahkan semuanya begitu saja, mengikuti alur yang saya pun tak tahu persis dimana si jalur. Mencoba untuk belajar setiap hari dari apapun yang akan dan harus terjadi. Saya sudah pasang badan. Menikmati setiap rintangan yang kadang memang keterlaluan
Untuknya, saya berterima-kasih. Diberi kesempatan belajar banyak hal kepada seorang Ray Janson. Saya akan berusaha selalu ingat semua ucapannya, karena seperti yang dia bilang, “If it’s important to me, I can remember it forever”.
Ok, Ray, ini semua menjadi catatan. Thank you for being honest. This is priceless, seriously. God bless you. — (P)

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