I learned at a very early age that food brings people together. My proclivity for culinary entertainment and connecting people comes from growing up in my grandmother’s (Oma Keasberry) Indonesian restaurant in Amsterdam. While living in LA, embracing the American lifestyle, I bring my multicultural upbringing with Indonesian and Dutch ancestry. As a transnational I can easily shift between the cultures and cuisines I identify with. This makes me more adventurous with food and curious about trying different things. Here’s my story…
Oma Keasberry introduced and popularized Indonesian and Indo Dutch cuisine in Amsterdam with the opening of her restaurant Djokja, in the early 1950’s. She was also hugely successful as the author of her cookbook, which was published in 1976 and remained in print for over 20 years. In her book, she revealed the kitchen secrets she developed over the years. In the Netherlands, she is known as the authority on Indonesian & Indo-Dutch fare, and is among the top five most consulted sources for learning how to prepare these classic dishes.
I have called sunny LA my home since 2005. Not long after my arrival, I started craving my comfort food. You know, delicious food that brings feelings of happiness and sweet memories of the people you shared it with in the past. I realized little was known in America about the Indonesian and Dutch cuisine I grew up with. There are not that many Indonesian restaurants, let alone Dutch restaurants. In pursuit of the taste of home, I got triggered to cook more myself and build my repertoire by consulting the family recipes archive – my mother.
I was fortunate to spend most my younger years working in my grandmother’s restaurant, which I took over from my parents at the age of 18. One year later I graduated from the business school for hotel & restaurant management in Amsterdam. I savored many delicious Indo food dishes and learned the fine art of cooking from my mother (aka Oma Jessy), by spending time with her in the kitchen. She is also well known for her culinary talents. With her collaboration, I was able to preserve most of my family’s secret recipes.
This website and other initiatives are my contribution to promoting Indonesian, Dutch and Indo Dutch Heritage Cuisine – considered to be part of one of the oldest fusion cuisines in the world. This east and west approach offers infinite combinations and allows for the evolution to continue. In my kitchen, I offer a wide selection of home-style cooked dishes (not found in any restaurant) as well as fine dining, banquet-style dishes, such as the renowned rijsttafel that we served in our restaurant and at fancy catered events.
In order for our culture to survive we need to live it and pass the customs down to the younger generation. One way of doing it is to celebrate the food traditions during events, like the largest and oldest annual Eurasian festival in the world: Tong Tong Fair in the Hague, The Netherlands. From 2011 through 2013, Oma Keasberry, our family restaurant and my cookbook were featured at the exhibit on The history of Dutch Indies cuisine. I was also giving a cooking demonstration with my niece.
For quite some time there was a demand for a reprint of my Oma Keasberry’s popular cookbook in the Netherlands. That inspired me to follow in her foot steps and come up with a whole new book with family recipes of 3 generations. This new book with pictures, family story and historical information was published in the Netherlands 2012. The second book was the first on The New Indo Dutch Cuisine – published in 2014. My third book was the first cookbook on Indo Dutch Heritage Cuisine in the English language – published in 2016. Check videos. Check testimonials. Check media. Order here.
My goal is to make Indonesian and Dutch cuisine accessible to you. Most of my activities are geared toward promoting these still little known cuisines and getting them the accolades they so richly deserve. I try to do this by sharing easy recipes in my blog, my cookbooks and during cooking classes. I also offer guides and recommendations about where to source ingredients, what restaurants to try and places to visit. Sign up for an Online Cooking Class here. Stay informed about new classes by signing up to my newsletter The Cook Whisperer here.
Join me on my mission; to preserve our culinary heritage and to entice America to explore the fascinating cuisines of Indonesia and the Netherlands. I would like to invite you to follow me on facebook, instagram and youtube. Like the Indo Dutch Cookbook facebook group. Listen to my new podcast The Rice Table. You can also join my e-mail newsletter, where I send periodic tips and updates. Just enter your e-mail here and click “Subscribe”.