From Hobby to Profession
Originally uninterested in cooking as a profession, Youngkie Kwok, is now an Executive Chef at Velvet Hypn@tized in Kuta, Bali. So why did he change his mind?
What brought you to Velvet Hypn@tized?
After opening four sushi restaurants, I moved to Bali in February 2013, upon invitation by Velvet Hypn@tized, Mr. Ardi and Mr. Lim.
At that time, Mr. Lim tried Wagyu beef dishes with a shitake mushroom me.
Who were powerful until finally going to become a chef?
My mother owned a restaurant in Bandung, in the 1970s called "RM Pengkolan", which was famous for its gepuk and satai. We had a lot of orders from textile factories, which could reach up to 300-400 people. I was about 14 years, and I wasn't quite into cooking but I was there in the kitchen, marinating and adding spices.
What made you change your mind about cooking?
At age 27, I left for America with a friend. He brought me to work at the Japanese Raku Asian Dining, Washington DC, USA.
In the afternoon of the first day, the Head of Chef called me. He was surprised because on my first day I was able to make sushi. He gave a glass of wine before testing my sushi-making skill. In less than a minute I could make sushi California. Since then he became interested in teach me, and I was interested to change my life through cooking.
What happened after that?
After 1½ year, I moved to Genji Sushi, as Head Chef Massachusetts Area Manager. I didn't want to move because I really liked it there. But after the 9/11 in 2011 event, I had to choose to return to Bandung.
In Indonesia, Chef Youngkie opened several sushi restaurants while continuing to explore his profession as a sushi chef. Why sushi?
I love sushi, something that I stumbled upon. My teacher, Chef Masaru Homa encourages me to continue to grow. Now I can create crunchy spicy shrimp in America. Crunchy with tempura batter and ice cubes. Until now I am still in contact with Chef Homa.
Now Chef Youngkie introduces different sushi menu at Velvet Hypn@tized. Where are your source of inspirations from?
Sometimes I look for ideas from my family, while doing my grocery shopping, from people eating pizza by the roadside. Why not make a pizza that combines oregano, melted cheese and mozzarella with sushi on it? I also make ginger miso dressing which contents onions, miso and salad oil. Many foreigners who loves.
Who is your favorite chef?
Besides the show Iron Chef, I love Jamie Oliver. Jamie grew up in his father's pub, initially not interested to open ahe restaurant but eventually did. He was a musician, I also play the guitar since I was in Bandung. Jamie's recipes are very simple.