Oscar Wijaya Head Chef of Ju-Ma-Na Restaurant

You must have worked in several restaurants abroad, why did you decide to go back to Indonesia and work in Bali?

I miss the ambience here, as working in the kitchen sometimes become quite hard and every time I go back to Indonesia, I spoke with few chefs and visit some kitchen and I see the people here are so easy going, friendly and very talented. I didn’t say working in other country is not nice, but I think blood is thicker than water. I’ve missed Indonesian food, my friends and especially my family.

Why Bali? Simply just because Bali offers me a huge opportunity to work and grow my capability in culinary. Ju-Ma-Na is a perfect place for me as lots of my experience and my passion is French cuisine.

How long have you been cooking professionally?

8 years. Graduated from STP Bandung in 2011 and continuing in SHATEC Singapore to get to know more about culinary.

How did you get to where you are now?

I started my career in Singapore ( Hotel Shangrilla, Blu Restaurant ), Dubai ( Intercontinental Dubai, Reflet By Pierre Gagnaire ), Macau ( Grand Lisboa, Robuchon au Dome, City of Dream, The Tasting Room), Qatar ( Idam by Alan Ducasse ), and after several years of experience I decided to go back to Indonesia and here I am now at Banyan Tree Ungasan, Bali ( Ju-Ma-Na )

What are your favorite local ingredients to work with?

Jeruk Limo for dressing because it add more exotic taste to my delicacies, Black garlic tasted like truffle for sauce. It blends with our Wagyu menus.

If you aren’t in the kitchen, where can people find you?

Exploring new restaurants around Bali.

If you had a chance to do a collaboration with a famous celebrity/Michelin star chef, who would you choose and why?

Thomas Keller from The French Laundry in Yountville, California since I was in the college I always adore his book and creation. If I have the chance to meet him in person, I’d surely ask him to show me his skills about French cuisine.

Tell us about the best meal you’ve ever had in your life?

My hometown’s culinary. I come from Palembang which really famous for its Fishcake ( we called it pempek ).

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a career as a Chef?

As chef you should have the passion and patient. Because in the chef life, you could spend your whole day in the kitchen exploring the new technique to make your creations more well-known. And also try lots of different kind of food to richer your taste buds.

How do you want to be remembered? 

As a humble one who likes to listen to any advice to improve my skills. Also I want to be remembered as an easy going person.

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