Leading the pastry kitchen team for the opulent grand café ALICE at The Langham, Jakarta, Executive Pastry Chef Serhat Mizrakli shares his inspirations and memorable moments with Exquisite Media. By Runi Indrani
E: Can you tell us about your journey in the culinary world so far?
A: I’m an executive pastry chef with 15 years of experience in several countries, including Dubai, Vietnam and South Korea, and currently, I’m here as the executive pastry chef for The Langham, Jakarta in Indonesia.
E: What drew you to work
A: First of all, what made me interested to come here is that The Langham is an ultra-luxury hotel brand in the hospitality industry. At the same time, I like the natural wealth of Indonesia, such as the green forests, mountains and islands. These are the reasons why I decided to come to Indonesia.
E: What is the most memorable moment in your career?
A: One of the most important ones that I never forget is that when I was 27 years old, I was invited to be one of the judges for one of the biggest international pastry competitions in Seoul, South Korea. At the same time, I was leading a workshop class of over 200 pastry chefs on a Michelin-starred dessert training.
E: Can you tell us more about ALICE?
A: We serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at ALICE. In addition, we serve afternoon tea, which is my baby – I love it! I love to create dessert items for afternoon tea. Plus, we have the cake counter, where we serve fresh, homemade pastries and bakeries every morning, and also freshly made cakes every day.
E: Tell us more about the legendary Langham Afternoon Tea. Will you be serving a different set at ALICE?
A: The Langham Afternoon Tea has been around since 1865 at The Langham, London. What we want to do is launch the afternoon tea culture in Jakarta, with The Langham Afternoon Tea and ALICE Afternoon Tea. The first one is inspired by the classic, British tradition, while the second one is inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland book, which I like to read. I also watched the Alice movie to help me create this ALICE Afternoon Tea creation.
E: What do you think sets you apart from your counterparts?
A: What makes me different from the others is, from morning until I leave, I work with my team, I always engage with the customers by visiting their tables and asking for their feedback. I use their feedback to improve and keep challenging myself and my desserts.
E: Do you have a favourite
A: On my day off I like to get inspiration from local flavours, from what the local people are doing, and then I play around with the recipes. Personally, I love my mother’s baklava, which she always makes without adding sugar, glucose, or syrup. I also like my fiancée’s apple crumble tart that she makes at home.
E: What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career in pastry?
A: I think the most important thing is to believe. Where you want to see yourself, you have to set a goal, whether it’s in two years, or five years. My goal was always to be the youngest executive pastry chef. Thank God, I achieved this one when I was 26 years old. When I see young talented chefs and pastry chefs, I want to tell them that, they can work hard and get tired but nothing will happen. You have to work hard, believe in yourself, and make a goal to be successful.
E: Where would you go for pastries other than ALICE?
A: Not because I’m working at ALICE, but for me even on my day off I love ALICE. Because when you enter, you can smell the amazing scent of the pastries and enjoy the ambience. You can also go outdoors to enjoy coffee in the fresh air. So even on my day off, I love to go to ALICE.