Exclusive Interview: Meet Chef Andrea Peresthu, Architect-Turned-Chef Behind the Hip Warteg-Inspired Eatery ‘Biang Keladi'

Friday, 28 January 2022 | 06:50 WIB
  • From an architect to a chef-restaurateur, Chef Andrea Peresthu talked about his career change.
    From an architect to a chef-restaurateur, Chef Andrea Peresthu talked about his career change.

    Kitchenesia sat down with chef-cum-restaurateur Andrea Peresthu, talking about his obsession in cooking and inspiration behind Biang Keladi.

    Kitchenesia.com - When Andrea Peresthu came to Jakarta after 15-year residency in Europe, he had already planned to venture out into restaurant business. Sure, he wasn’t of culinary background to begin with. He served as a Regional Planner at TU Delft, The Netherlands, for 12 years.

    Still, kitchen had been a part of Andrea’s life. The 50-year-old then-academician often invited his friends over for casual dinner. At one point, Andrea’s honed cooking skills and hospitable manner left a strong impression on his friends.

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    “My friend said ‘man, you can’t do it for free forever. You should open a restaurant’, and I thought that was a good idea,” said Andrea Peresthu, in an exclusive interview with Kitchenesia.com.

    Although Andrea was a newcomer in the industry, he rapidly built momentum and garnered a reputation of his own. He founded Javanegra Gourmet Atelier in 2012, a Spanish-Mediterranean fine-dining restaurant with homely setting.

    Stepping Outside the Comfort Zone

    As Javanegra GA succeeded, Andrea Peresthu decided to turn his lifelong interest in cooking into a career. With his business partner, Reni Alhadad, the standalone Javanegra GA turned into a business empire. In less than nine years, Andrea Peresthu has opened seven restaurants under Javanegra Gourmet, spread across Jakarta and Bali.

    “We had ten restaurants under Javanegra Gourmet. After the pandemic hit, we closed three,” said the architect-turned-restaurateur.

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    While his restaurants offer distinct concepts and cuisines, they have one thing in common. Javanegra Gourmet’s restaurants target cash-loaded patrons.

    Surely, the 50-year-old restaurateur refused to be pigeonholed. In October 2021, Andrea Peresthu opened a new restaurant called Biang Keladi. Unlike its upscale relatives, Biang Keladi offers a humble concept.

    “The concept of Biang Keladi had been set up two years ago, but we opened it just recently," said Andrea Peresthu.

    A Simple Guy Who Loves to Eat and Cook

    Located in the Pacific Place mall, Biang Keladi reminisces iconic warteg-style element: showcasing an array of pre-made side dishes in a glass display for guests to choose. The retro touch of the green-red pallet creates a bold statement, catching eyes of every passerby.

    The menu is rather hard to categorize; while some foods stick to its warteg identity— mixed rice, variants of soto — Biang Keladi also highlights non-Javanese foods on its à la carte menu.

    Biang Keladi's mie pok wagyu halal features soul-warming veggies soup with wagyu beef cut.
    Biang Keladi's mie pok wagyu halal features soul-warming veggies soup with wagyu beef cut.

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    You won’t see Singaporean mee pok and even Padangnese rendang are served in any warteg-inspired eatery. What even more surprising, though, is the use of Wagyu beef in several meaty dishes.

    When asked how he curated the menu, Andrea Peresthu replied, "I only put my favorite foods on the menu. I'm not a culinary expert or anything, simply a guy who loves cooking and eating.

    After all, Biang Keladi was built upon two things Andrea did the best: cooking and eating.

    Full video:

    Sera B
    David Togatorop
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