Chef Sky From Hakkasan Jakarta Talks Hakka Roots Inspiration
Eat Vacation sat down with Hakkasan Jakarta’s Chef de Cuisine Sky Wong Kum Choy in an exclusive interview to discuss his culinary creations and inspirations.
Chef Sky first ventured into the culinary world as a young boy growing up in Malaysia. It started as early as when he was 14, when he began to work part-time with a local cook in order to learn how to make a meal. The informal training is perhaps the stepping stone from which he began his journey as a chef, and now working for an award-winning restaurant renowned for its Cantonese cuisine across the globe.
But Chef Sky’s love and passion for Cantonese cuisine started much earlier, from something as simple and wholesome as having tasted his mother’s cooking throughout his childhood. His maternal Hakka roots, evidently, is a big source of inspiration that has carried on to this day.
“My family background is Hakka, and I’ve always eaten my Mother’s Hakka cooking since I was small, and I really like it. So I learned from my mother, and then slowly bring it to my own cooking,” Chef Sky told Eat Vacation.
Even today, whenever he creates a new dish Chef Sky said he always makes sure to incorporate a little bit of aspect from his mother’s cooking. For him, the flavours of Cantonese cuisine is something singular and unique, and therefore worth exploring.
After embarking on a five-year culinary journey with the SuperStar Virgo cruise line, Chef Sky joined the culinary team at Hakkasan Group in 2012, where he was assigned to Hakkasan Dubai as Sous Chef. He took a short break at Lebua Hotel Bangkok, and returned to Hakkasan as the Executive Sous Chef to the outpost’s Dubai venue. He’s also contributed to the 2017 opening of Ling Ling Mykonos during his time with Hakkasan Group, before becoming the Chef de Cuisine at the twelfth Hakkasan to open globally in Jakarta.
Hakkasan Jakarta opened its doors to the public on February 8th, 2019, combining signature Cantonese dishes, cocktails and an extensive wine list with skyline views of the glimmers of the Indonesian capital. Chef Sky is at the helm of the restaurant’s kitchen, bringing his wealth of experience of over 25 years in preparing Cantonese cuisine to serve exceptional dishes that makes dining in Hakkasan Jakarta unlike any other.
Chef Sky has spent the last six months in Jakarta, exploring the city and getting to know its people in order to make sure that what ends up on a diner’s table at Hakkasan Jakarta not only meets their expectations, but also astounds them. Good products, therefore, are essential to this process.
“I’ve been in Jakarta nearly six months, met a lot of people and went to the local markets. [I also] met with my Jakarta friends and get to know the people, what they like here, because we are also doing Hakkasan’s signature menu, and I have to find the perfect ingredients,” Chef Sky said.
During his time here, Chef Sky says he’s grown to like Nasi Padang and Indonesian seafood dishes. He likes staying in Southeast Asia, and has grown fond of Jakarta especially because it’s that much closer to his home in Malaysia.
The chef loves to work with a variety of ingredients, favorites of which happens to be dry goods and spices. Furthermore, he is passionate about finding local produce to create new and special dishes. Sauces in Cantonese cuisines use a lot of wine and champagne, he said, and that’s something he’s still learning and perfecting until now.
At Hakkasan Jakarta, diners are treated to the special “Only At Jakarta” menu. There’s a total of six dishes exclusive to this location, consisting of Crispy quail egg puff, Black swan puff with musang king durian, Double boiled chicken soup in coconut, Steamed grouper with kaffir sambal sauce, Mutiara lobster with glass noodle, and XO lamb chop with shiitake.
The Eat Vacation team tasted the egg puff, black swan puff and steamed grouper during our visit; and these dishes managed to truly dazzle our taste buds. In particular, the beautiful presentation of the Black swan puff with musang king durian makes it a complete treat to the dining experience.
For those who are visiting Hakkasan Jakarta soon, Chef Sky said trying Hakkasan’s signature dishes is a must, and recommended the Crispy duck salad, the Fried dim sum platter, as well as the Roasted silver cod with Champagne and honey.
Hakkasan Jakarta is open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. For reservations, call +622150808766, send a Whatsapp message to +6281292168001, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.