E: What does Kartini Day mean for you?
Petty Elliott: Kartini is an everlasting role model and truly inspirational. She empowered and encouraged women to fight for their right to study and for equal opportunities. This remains important today. Many young girls and women worldwide still don’t have equal rights or the opportunity to study and are expected to stay at home.
E: What are your hopes and advice for young women today?
P: That all young women have the chance to study, to follow their ambitions and have their own career. My own culinary education was totally outside the classroom and included hundreds of visits to traditional markets, farmers and food artisans. I have learned from local communities, top international restaurants, resorts and hotels around the world, which provided material for my magazine and newspaper columns, recipes and books over the last 16 years. Work hard, never stop learning, be tolerant and show your leadership. Most of all do, what makes you happy.
E: Do you think the culinary industry is a man’s world and can we do anything about it?
P: Yes, it is true. In the UK alone, only 17 percent of chef positions are held by women. Historically, women have cooked for the family at home, which has been seen as domestic work and not a real job. Ironically, many top chefs get inspiration from their grandmothers and mothers. But times are changing. More women are involved in the culinary world – in farming, the kitchen, as food writers. Some of the best artisanal chocolates, spices, sorghum and local cheeses in Indonesia are produced by women and I meet many more young female chefs in top restaurants in Bali, Jakarta, London and big cities around the world these days.
E: Do you have any advice for women wanting to get into the culinary industry?
P: Equip yourself with the relevant skills, including communication, attitude and professionalism. You need the collaborative spirit of a team player, while demonstrating the value of hard work. The most important thing is to love food, to be passionate in what you are doing and to enjoy the journey – good or bad.
E: What are your plans for 2020?
P: I will continue to promote Indonesian cuisine in England. I travel as a guest chef and food consultant, and run a bespoke private catering company. One of my upcoming events is a series of evening appearances and talks at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London, in conjunction with an Indonesian orchid festival. I will also be giving a cooking class at London Cookery School and will guest at the famous Le Cordon Bleu school in London this year. I am so excited!
Salmon Gravalax with dabu-dabu avocado
A refreshing, light and delicious starter or light meal in early spring
- 500g salmon fillet, sashimi quality
- 40g sea salt
- 15g sugar
- 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 50gr fresh dill, chopped finely
- 370g or 2 avocadoes, stoned, peeled and cubed
- 150g red tomatoes, cubed
- 75g shallots, chopped finely
- 5 red bird’s eye chillies, chopped finely
- 50ml lime juice
- 25ml extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to season
- Small bunch of Greek or Italian basil, or Indonesian (holy) basil, if possible, chopped finely
- 80g butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
- 270g ready-to-use filo pastry
1 tbsp mayonnaise
- At least 24 hours before serving, lay salmon in a long, narrow dish.
- Mix together salt, sugar, black pepper and dill.
- Press half of seasoning evenly onto fish, turn fish over and repeat with remaining seasoning. Cover dish with cling film, weigh down with a plate on top of the fish. Chill for 24 hours.
- After 24 hours, drain liquid from dish. Rinse off seasoning with ice-cold water and pat fish dry with kitchen towels.
- Using a long sharp knife, slice the salmon in thin, long pieces. Set aside and keep chilled.
- Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a six-hole muffin tin or cupcake tin well. Cut the filo pastry into squares big enough to fit into the muffin holes and hang over the sides a little.
- Brush each piece of filo with melted butter and stack four at odd angles and gently press into muffin holes.
- Place filo cases into the oven for 5-6 minutes, to crisp up and turn golden brown.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the muffin tray and set aside.
- To make the dabu-dabu, mix all the ingredients, season with salt, add a little simple syrup if you wish. Check seasoning.
- Prepare six serving plates. Put a large dot of mayonnaise in the middle of each plate, then place one case on top and press gently.
- Put around 2 tablespoons of dabu-dabu avocado into each case. Shape the sliced salmon into roses and place on top. Serve immediately.
Exquisite Taste March – May 2020