Move to a new country and you quickly become aware of the things that are of greatest importance to you. Family safety and security is an obvious number one; but a definite second for me was securing quality food for my family of five.
Nutritious western-style bread was one item that seemed to be particularly elusive in those early days. Being confronted with shelves full of anaemic-looking bread at our local supermarket, often wrapped in plastic (some loaves with crusts cut off), had the potential to make me feel defeated. Of course, we were all for diversifying our diet, to include lots of new local ingredients but foregoing wholesome bread didn’t seem an option.
Fortunately as time passed we discovered that in fact there are numerous quality bakeries throughout Jakarta, however, it wasn’t until I chanced upon BEAU bakery that our bread consumption returned to pre-Jakarta heights!
And this sparked the question, ‘Who is responsible for making bread this good?’ We set out to learn more about Pastry Chef Talita Setyadi (AKA BEAU Mastermind); meeting Talita at her HQ in Jl. Cikajang. It soon became apparent that there are more layers to this inspiring lady than your average entremet (keep reading if you don’t get this joke..!)
So it is with great pleasure that today we introduce you to Talita Setyadi.
*Kenalkan Talita Setyadi – BEAU Cafe
Where were you born?
Gunung Sahari, Jakarta
Where did you grow up?
Auckland, New Zealand. My family moved there when I was 9 years old during the 1998 Indonesian political upheaval and financial crisis. I lived in New Zealand until 2010 and after completing my Bachelor of Music, I moved directly to Paris.
Did you always want to be a pastry chef? (We’re guessing ‘no’ based on your response to our previous question!)
I’d always loved baking, I found that it was a relaxing activity during my studies in Jazz double bass at the University of Auckland. I would bring cupcakes and muffins to band rehearsals and found that my peers really loved the way they tasted. I received a lot of positive reinforcements to keep baking. I think that that reinforcement is important for people aspiring to be bakers. I know people who have come close to giving up on baking but then people have been there for them, suggesting how to improve, looking at places like Bakerycourses.in to find a good training course and so much more to help get them back motivated. I’m glad I had the support.
I then begun to bake macarons and cakes to sell at weekend farmers’ markets, and found that I received a lot of joy from my first forays into “enterprise”. From there I just kept following my bliss, and ended up in Le Cordon Bleu Paris where I was able to hone my skills and focus on pastry completely. I returned to Indonesia in mid 2013 after a brief stint in New York studying artisan bread and restaurant management. I started up BEAU at the end of 2014, beginning with one product; the “Bombo” – our Italian beignets.
We started by marketing these to then newly sprouting third-wave coffee shops, concurrently developing recipes for more products. Our repertoire has since expanded to over 100 different bread, pastries, cakes, cookies and eclairs, and now we supply to 80+ cafes, restaurants and hotels in the city, as well as operating a few of our own outlets. We bake all of these goods at our HQ in Jl. Cikajang. Our ovens are on 24/7.
I find that being a pastry chef / business owner, I’m able to be just as creatively minded as I have been during my studies in jazz composition and improvisation. Starting your own business is also about communication and self-expression – reflected in the company culture, products, spaces and communities you create. Now I see my business as my new “instrument” of which to be expressive and creative with.
Are you from a musical family?
Not really – but my Mum, Inge, is one hell of a karaoke singer! I actually fell into music at school through connecting with like-minded students.
Why the name ‘BEAU’?
During my studies at Le Cordon Bleu, I survived on very limited French! So when we used to take our pastries and cakes for grading, “beau” would sometimes be the only word I understood during the chef’s feedback. I started to associate the word with a “job well done”, and a “handsome” piece of art.
I also liked the way it looked visually as a short 4-letter word. It’s just perfect written on a little 2-cm round tag on our delicate entremets.
Who is the BEAU customer?
Friends that come into our cafes often remark on the diversity of our customers. Our customers range from mothers in yoga-wear sipping lattes, to millennials snapping their *“OOTDs” in our garden and bapak-bapak in batik cutting into croissants over serious conversations.
We also get quite a few expats from various countries such as Japan, Korea, the U.S., Australia and France. It’s always so interesting to talk to our customers and learn about their diverse backgrounds and what brought them to the cafe. We even have French families that come in for their daily baguettes! They say that the bread at BEAU is just as good as they are used to back home. That’s as great a compliment that a local bakery can ever hope for!
Can you describe your work day routine for us
I start the day with a morning yoga session in Dharmawangsa, just a 5-minute drive from our bakery in Cikajang. I find that it’s a great way to get centered before diving into work! I like to enter the HQ from our side door so I can walk through the cafe and check on the pastries, viennoiseries and the daily bakes, before chatting to the supervisors about the days’ activities.
I then make my way through the kitchen and check in with our various heads of departments in cuisine, bread, viennoiserie and patisserie. They usually have ready on my desk various pastries and products for tasting and seek feedback on these items. In my office I check in with our managers and sales staff. My days are usually filled with meetings, food testing, training chefs and recipe developments.
I also set some time during the week to visit our clients, and to catch up with different friends and mentors. I usually end the day with a pot of tea sitting underneath our mango tree, while mentally readying myself for the traffic home to North Jakarta!
What is BEAU’s best seller – both sweet and savoury
Sweet: The Astrid – Our raspberry, yoghurt, white chocolate and pistachio entremet. The Astrid was the first entremet I created for BEAU which became the foundation of the concept and style for the rest of our cakes.
Savoury: Our Œufs Benedicts! Customers love these because of their unique look and gourmet toppings. We serve poached eggs on a thick slice of brioche, with house-cured salmon, prosciutto, wagyu pastrami or spinach before coating them with perfectly silky hollandaise sauce.
Your favourite BEAU creation to eat yourself?
Our sourdough bread. Just perfect heated up in the oven and slathered with butter and a sprinkle of sea salt.
Your favourite BEAU creation to make?
“The Tropics” entremet, because of its gorgeous bright orange colour, tropical flavours and intricate layers.
Current food trends in Jakarta..?
Purple potato everything!
Your best overseas experience
Growing up in Auckland, especially chilling at the beach after school with friends.
Who is your mentor?
My Dad Antonius Setyadi. He’s been there every step of the way. He gave me the confidence to start and the knowledge to keep going on the path. He is a self-made man. My Dad believes the impossible is possible and I feed off this. He has just obtained his Doctorate in Business and is a Professor (part time) at Brawijaya University in Malang.
Where do you go for great Indonesian food
Kaum Restaurant in Menteng because not only does it highlight the dishes but the ingredients too. They really give a platform for the providence of the ingredients.
What are some of your favourite Indonesian dishes?
Oh, there are so many! I love tahu isi (stuffed tofu), pastel, martabak manis (my favourite toppings: ovamaltine and nuts), soto betawi and bakmi.
You’re vegetarian. Tell us more…
This was a relatively recent decision prompted by involvement in yoga. As I was doing yoga, I found it calmed me and I stopped craving comfort food – for me, meat was a comfort food.
Places to eat good quality vegetarian food…
BEAU – The chefs can adjust any menu item to suit the customer
Sunter (an area in North Jakarta) has a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Namaste Indian Restaurant do excellent dhals.
What about gluten-free bread options in Jakarta?
At BEAU, we create a wheat-free seed brick loaf – by order only. Technically we cannot declare it ‘gluten-free’ as it is made in the same kitchen as wheat-based breads. To order our seed brick loaf, drop into BEAU or call/email us (details below). Later in 2017, we plan to have our online shop up and running so this will be another way to order your favourite products.
Where do you source some of your specialty ingredients?
Seeds: Club Sehat
Dairy-free cheese (Madree vegan cheese): Club Sehat PIK
Gluten-free flour, spices, indigenous rices: Javara Indigenous Indonesia
Tea or coffee? And where to get your preferred beverage..
Coffee! I heart the guys behind Common Grounds Coffee, we even have our own special blend by them at BEAU so I can drink it every day. And I particularly like Aceh Dolok Sanggul – it’s very robust and very aromatic.
I take my coffee different ways depending upon how I feel – but usually a long black or a flat white (always hot).
3 words to describe ‘Your Jakarta’
Raw, Real, Spirited
How do you relax?
Full body shiatsu massages! I totally recommend Segar Sehat. Conveniently, there’s an outlet near my house and one near my work!
Favourite place to visit in…
Jakarta: Is it ok to say BEAU? (Absolutely!)
Indonesia: Ubud because there’s a calm energy. I feel very grounded and spiritual when I’m there. There’s also a great selection of vegan/vegetarian and yoga options.
The World: Tokyo because there’s something for everyone. You can approach Japan from so many different angles and always have a great time. The Japanese have such integrity in everything they do.
Jazz musicians including Charles Mingus, Baptiste Trotignon, Esperanza Spalding, Matt Penman. They have a great way of being authentic and real.
Favourite book of all time
Song of Ice and Fire series – George R R Martin
Favourite apps/blogs/Insta feed
Pastry magic by @amauryguichon
Fashion styling and observations of @marshellajastine
Smile-inducing cartoons by @poorlydrawnlines
Cute fluffy puppies @jinju_bichonfrise
Dog or cat…
Million times a dog! I have a dog called Scottie. I’ve had her for 2 years – she’s a poodle/maltese mix.
Kecap manis or Marmite…
Nasi goreng or Mie goreng…
Nasi goreng with fried shallots
Pyjamas or ball gown …
Pyjamas for sure (matching only!)
What’s next? ….
We are expanding to a new city next year! Stay tuned!
Jl. Cikajang No 29
Phone: 021 2751 7454
BEAU Kem Chicks
Pacific Place, Level LG
Jl. Jend. Sudirman No.52-53
DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
Phone: 021 5140 0440
BEAU Grand Indonesia
East Mall Level 1
Central Department Store
Jl. NH. Thamrin No. 1
Phone: 021 2358 1885
* Kenalkan : Let me introduce..
* OOTD: “outfit of the day”.. I had to look that up!
Interested to read more People stories by ajb? Here are some suggestions:
Words: Jo Stevens Photography: a journey bespoke and Talita Setyadi