Chef Passion Media

Mental Revolution 1: Instant Gratification

Chef Rahmat Kusnedi believes that it takes more than honesty, discipline, and creativity to become an established pastry chef

Rahmat Kusnedi’s career might invite admiration, inspiration, also envy from any pastry chefs. He has worked abroad in France, America, Renaissance Cruise Line, before he went back to Indonesia to work in the hotels such as Sari Pan Pacific, Four Seasons, Borobudur, and then moved to the industry in Bread Life. 

Now, he’s the Managing Director of Physalis’s, a company which supplies bakery & pastry products, also the President of Indonesia Pastry Alliance (IPA).

According to Rahmat, it takes more than ability to make great products to get in his position now. “In the world of pastry, basically you need only three things to be an established pastry chef: honesty, discipline, and creativity,” he said. However, he’s currently concerned about his successors’ mental state that, in his words, needs “mental revolution”. In general, there are three major issues which often seen in future pastry chefs: they want instant gratification, lack of managerial skills, and keeping hard feelings.

Instant Gratification
“Along with the development of internet and social media, it’s very easy to get information on how to make some certain products in Youtube. However, it creates this instant gratification mental attitude. After graduated, they want good job where they can command staffs  with big salary. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but they also need to have standard skills and experience, it takes time,” he said. This “instant” attitude of the kitchen staffs’ has lead to some serious problems, it leaves some hotels without a pastry chef in command.

Rahmat explained briefly how we ended up with this situation. “Historically, in the late 80’s to the beginning of 2000’s, the position of pastry chefs are mostly dominated by expatriates. 2000 is a transition period where hotels started to hire locals as pastry chef, I was one of this generation,” Rahmat recalled. However, some of his successor doesn’t share the same hard working mental attitude. “Those who work in pastry kitchen in 2005-2010, should replace our position. But it doesn’t happen now.”

The situation has gotten worse, thanks to the rise of Middle East in hotel industry. Dubai and Abu Dhabi needs many workforces and it was an exodus for local kitchen staffs. “They got good salary there, they may get $ 3.000 a month while the local hotels might only offer a third of it. Unfortunately, somehow it ruined their mental attitude as they’ve become profit oriented,” he said. At the moment, it is no wonder that finding a good quality local pastry chef is difficult for hotels.

However, some people are willing to sacrifice those benefits in order to return to their homeland and hone their skills, Rahmat is one of them, “back in the 2000’s I got $ 2.000 (a dollar worth around Rp 14.000 at that time), and when I got back in Indonesia, the company offered me Rp 2,5 million as a sous chef, only a level below pastry chef. Because I have passion in pastry, I took it. I upgraded my skills and do what I have to do to become a pastry chef, and in a year I was promoted.“

Mental Revolution 2: Managerial Skills

Mental Revolution 3: Hard Feelings