Despite his young age, Adhika Maxi has taken a large stride in culinary world.
Having a friendly talk with the 24-year-old chef at a coffee shop in Jakarta’s prime shopping mall truly creates a unique impression. Preferred to be called Max, the charming fellow admits enjoying his daily routine organising private dining for socialites, bon vivants and businesspeople.
It’s a great achievement for such a young chef, indeed. Hadn’t he had the passion for food and cooking, he wouldn’t have accomplished it. In fact, his passion for food and cooking stretches back to his childhood where he used to observe his grandmother cook family meals.
Earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from Curtain University, Perth, Australia, Max recalls his college time during which he used to work part-time in a number of restaurants. “I always love working in a kitchen and I really enjoy it. My college time in Australia was the onset of my culinary job where I worked as a dishwasher and food-runner.”
Having the strong belief that he could make his way to become a celebrated chef, Max decided not to further his education his father expected, which was going to a graduate school. Instead, Max took another path in the pursuit of professional cooking career
But Max surely made the right choice. His studying at the French Culinary Institute in New York during 2007 – 2009 opened the opportunity gate of becoming a celebrated chef wider.
Upon his graduation, Max worked at Restaurant Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental New York under the guidance of Chef Nori Sugie. It was a good start for the young Max, indeed. “I learned a lot from Nori at Asiate, particularly in preparing Japanese cuisine using classic French techniques,” says Max, who later took on more responsibility when working at Maze, Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous eatery. “Guided by Chef Andy Cook, I learned much about American cuisine at Maze.”
Not only did his experiences at Asiate and Maze help hone his culinary savvy, but no less important, Max was able to climb higher to reach the opportunity of becoming a chef de partie under the supervision of Chef Josh Emmett at the Michelin 2-Star Gordon Ramsay at the London Hotel, also in New York.
In early 2009, Max spent several months in Japan to dig more knowledge about the culture of Japanese food at Izakayas and ramen houses in Tokyo and Osaka.
Another noteworthy achievement that has taken Max to a success is Bachelor’s Banquet, the cookbook Max and his Singapore born friend, Nicholas Lin wrote.
Mind telling more about Bachelor’s Banquet?
It’s our first cookbook, which is the fruition of our long dream. Nick and I shared our passion for food during our stay in New York and we liked to share the passion with others. Bachelor’s Banquet that we wrote in New York is a means of sharing our expertise with the readers. The book features 80 recipes that include visual guides on basic techniques of cooking using Asian and European ingredients. Among the cooking lists in the book are Raw Oysters with Pickled Shimeji, White Marinara Black Pasta, Tuna Negiri and Lemon Chicken with Corn Relish, to name a few; all of which will take the readers to expand their sense of taste. It’s a progressive cuisine!
What made you choose Bachelor’s Banquet as the name of the cookbook?
Both Nick and I are bachelors and we would like to differ the notion of French author Jean de La Bruyère saying, “A bachelor’s life is a fine breakfast, a flat lunch and a miserable dinner.” It is not true, though. The recipes in Bachelor’s Banquet are simple to make, guiding every bachelor to cook good food.
Of course. Life is so exciting and you have to make the best out of it. To me, dining out is not just about eating food, but it’s how I appreciate the art of living.
What is your favourite eatery?
I usually treasure French food more when it comes to dining out, though I also like other cuisines. Emily French Restaurant in South Jakarta is the best place for savouring your palate and they have a superb list of fine wines, too. I like Jaan in Singapore. This restaurant serves refine and cutting edge French-Asian food. I especially admire its chef, Andre Ching. He is the Asia’s best young chef. As for New York, Corton is on my top list. The restaurant’s chef, Liebrandt really knows how to cook genuine French meals that arouse your appetite.
How about your favourite food?
I always like French food. You should try Trout Confit by Chef Andre Ching of Jaan. The taste does tickle your palate. But I also like Asian food and of course Indonesian cuisine like Soto Betawi and Sate Kambing.
Are you a wine drinker?
Yes, but I don’t like drinking alone. Wine is a social drink that needs to be shared. I personally prefer red wine. Italian Chianti and German Riesling are among my favourites.
Let’s talk a bit about types of music you are keen on.
Music is an inseparable part of my life. I listen to rock music. Among my favourite bands are The Smith, The Strokes and The Kills. Rock music, especially of the alternative genre, has inspired the way I dress and cook. This kind of music gives an adrenaline rush when cooking.
By Aulia R. Sungkar. Published in PMR Magazine, January 2010.