AJB’s interview with Gwen Winarno : Founder of Pure Foods


Please meet Gwen Winarno, a healthy food and healthy Jakarta- lifestyle advocate!

In today’s AJB interview, Gwen shares her motivation for establishing Pure Foods Company, an organic catering and online grocer, and why she believes it really is possible to live a healthy lifestyle in Jakarta.

Read on for Gwen’s inspiring, healthy food journey …

Kenalkan Gwen Winarno:

Your full name please: 
Gwendoline Amanda Winarno

What do you like to be called?

Please tell us a little about your background – Where did you grow up and study?
I was born in Jakarta, and lived here until I was 13 years old. Then I moved to the US. For the first 4 years I was in Los Angeles, CA,  and the rest in Seattle, WA. I lived there until the end of 1998. So I lived in the US for about 10 years.

I graduated with a BA in Marketing from Seattle University, not by choice. My late father was quite conservative when it came to education. He wanted me to take Business, I wanted to dive into fashion straight away. So we compromised that I could take fashion after I got my BA. But after I was done with the BA and went back to Indonesia, I ended up getting married and so there was definitely a change of path after that. 

‘Me about one year old, getting a piggy back ride courtesy of my Papa’ Gwen
‘Play time with my mum’ Gwen

What did you want to be when you were a child?
While my school friends wanted to be a vet, doctor and architect, I wanted to be a French interpreter. It must be from the French films I watched growing up with my parents. I just imagined it being such a cool thing to do, while wearing a scarf & beret of cause …

How did you get into your current profession?
I’ve been challenged with an auto-immune disorder for more than 10 years now. After years of living with it and the ups and downs of it, I just needed to share my healing story with a hope to inspire others, that they too can heal themselves. We are living in a world where a lot of people are getting sick and mystery and chronic illneses are on the rise. But I’m a firm believer that with the right nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, people can heal, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Can you share with us the Pure Foods Company concept and story? 
Pure Foods Company started back in 2015 and it definitely came about from a personal need. My husband Yudha, and myself have busy schedules and by the time we get home from work we are too tired to prep and cook dinner. But we knew we wanted to eat healthy. Mind you back then, the healthy delivery options in Jakarta were pretty grim or non-existant, so we started Pure Foods Company with daily catering and also selling our fresh almond mylk. Our focus is on natural and/or organic whole food, real food. And for the basics, we only use coconut oil or olive oil, natural sea salt & coconut sugar/dates/raw honey, if any, for natural sweeteners.

Pure Foods Company Almond Milk. They come in recyclable glass bottles. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint we are doing a 10 to 1 program, where for every 10 330 ml empty bottles returned we give 1 bottle for free.
Pure Foods Company Cold Pressed Juice. The Green Mile (Kale, Ginger, Cucumber, Lemon, Orange, Bokcoy, Parsley, Apple, Cilantro)
Pure Foods Company Energy Balls
Pure Foods Bone Broth made with grass fed beef bones which are slow- simmered for 24 hrs

Do you believe there is an growing awareness of the importance of healthy eating in Jakarta? If so, why do you think this is the case? What are the challenges?

Absolutely! I think it goes back to the fact that more and more people are getting sick. All these mystery and silent, but chronic illnesses … this low, yet constant inflammation brewing in the body that develops into serious diseases due to poor choice in nutrition and a toxic lifestyle. I think living in Jakarta itself is already quite a challenge. Let’s face it, Jakarta is not an easy place to live in. Most people are living in constant fight or flight mode. So you really need to stop and re-evaluate our life, health and wellbeing. Where is it heading towards? Does it look bad? If it does, you need to seriously start making the necessary changes to reverse that process. And that starts now, like today, even as simple as drinking more water each day. As long as you do it, as long as you start, as long as you have the awareness. Even if things don’t look bad, you should still consider picking up this whole healthy living thing. Because you don’t get sick overnight either. Think about it.

We understand you are equally passionate about women’s empowerment and are a Holistic Health Coach. Can you share with us your interest and involvement in these areas.

I see more and more people getting sick and when that happens, they are lost and they don’t know what to do. So my wish is to open their eyes, mind & heart to the possibility of healing. That we CAN heal ourselves. Our body is so clever, that given half the chance, it will and it can heal itself. 

When it comes to the topic of women’s empowerment, self-love is key. I myself grew up with a lot of self-hate. And not only until the past couple of years did I get this concept. But I think a lot of women share the same sentiment. And this is actually the root of many problems and issues women are facing. Be it health, relationship, problem at work, etc. Most of them can be traced back to self-hate. Feeling of not being good enough often becomes our motto. So self-love is something that’s essential and needs to be nurtured in women, starting at a very young age. Nurturing self-love is naturally part of Holistic Health. 

Other than coaching one-on-one clients, I also do workshops and give out health talks at various events.

‘I really feel ‘off’ when I don’t make time to meditate. So everyday I make a point to do it even if its just for 5 minutes’. Gwen

Who do you find inspiring and why?
I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere. But I am generally drawn to the whole health & wellbeing movement and anyone genuinely involved in it.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?
I love to dance. One of my stress busters is coming home a bit early so there’s no one home, I would blast some old school hip hop and just dance!! (because literally, no one’s watching) this is such an awesome stress relieving thing for me. 

What annoys you?
People who don’t know how to queue. Ughhhhh!!

What delights you?
Good people. Not to be confused with nice people.

About your Jakarta:

3 words to describe your Jakarta?
Birthplace, Home, Teacher

What are your favourite Apps?
Kindle, is Netflix an App?

What’s your favourite Indonesian book?
I’m biased but I love my Dad’s writing. He used to write this column called “Kiat” for Tempo Magazine, it’s basically a short & smart business column, and until this very day I still get people coming up to me telling me how much they learn from reading those columns. My dad was a true renaissance man.

‘Forever my Hero, my Papa, Bondan Winarno’ Gwen

What’s your favourite Indonesian Movie? / Band ? / Singer ?
I love keroncong. Don’t ask me a specific name of singer, but I just love keroncong. You can’t help but smile (or move) when you hear keroncong.

Where’s your favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
My husband and I always end up at Le Quartier, somehow

Tea, Coffee or Juice? And where?
Tea, at home. I brew my own herbal teas or I have my stashes of Mariage Freres teas.

Where do you go to relax in Jakarta?

What’s Jakarta’s best kept secret?
Home. My husband and I are such homebodies, we make our living space super comfortable so we love staying in.

Finish these sentences:

Every visitor to Jakarta should eat….. so many, but martabak is a must, I love martabak

Every visitor to Jakarta should visit….. ok, it’s outside of jakarta, but Kebun Raya Bogor is quite a gem if you’re looking for “park” feeling. Go there during weekday. Bring your own picnic spread! 

Every visitor to Jakarta should experience….. things can get super hectic in the city, but try having a drink or dinner at one of the rooftop places or skycrapers here, the city in the evening, bird’s eye view, is quite amazing. 

What’s your favourite place to visit in Indonesia? Or place you would like to visit?
Well, Bali is our second home, so I guess Bali would be it. I love beaches in general, so would love to explore more beach destinations in Indonesia.

Liz, Gwen and Jo chatting about healthy living in Jakarta (Image credit: a journey bespoke)

How can our readers follow you and your catering and online grocery store, Pure Foods Company?

Instagram: Pure Foods Company
Pure Foods Catering: Whatsapp : 0856 8800 300
Pure Foods Catering : Email : purefoods.co.id@gmail.com

If you enjoyed today’s post we think you will also like:

Meet Ibu Helianti Hilman of artisanal food company – Javara Indigenous Indonesia
Healthy Eating in Jakarta with Giulia Sartori of MIA CHIA Snacks
Mandira’s Garden : An urban organic garden and cafe in Jakarta

Words: Gwen Winarno & Liz McClean Photography: Gwen Winarno, Pure Foods Company Jakarta and a journey bespoke

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