How LAsian Kitchen came about.
My vision was to bring authentic southeast Asian cuisine to the states.
It started as a hobby.
I found myself very, very happy while eating the food, but the taste was very inconsistent at the restaurant. So I took it upon myself to try to recreate it at home and master a lot of the dishes. I figured because I already had a solid foundation in the flavors of Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia, I could do it. Little did I know then that it would not be that easy, because Indonesia consists of 17,500 islands and the cuisine is just as complicated as it sounds.
At the time, I started eating at this other Indonesian restaurant named Simpang Asia. I got really friendly with the chef in the hopes that she would share her cooking secrets, but she wouldn't tell me jack shit. She would say things like, "Even if you give me $100,000, I wouldn't tell you anything, but thank you for coming so much to my restaurant." One time, she invited me to a big party thrown by the Indonesian consulate. Most of the food was gone by the time I got there, but I was able to make a small plate of vegetables in the style of Bali and I was so blown away.
I went back home and tried to recreate that dish over and over and over again. When I was finally happy with what I created, I brought a plate to the chef at Simpang Asia, and she connected me to her Balinese friend who was an avid cook. She then recommended me to five other Indonesian cooks, and then to 20 other cooks, and so on and so on. Then they invited me to their family weddings and parties. My technique was to humble the cooks at each party by trying to recreate their dishes at home. They would get flattered by that, and they would eventually tell me some of their cooking secrets. This is how I learned to cook Indonesian food, one family party at a time. I dedicated myself to that for five years straight.
Every single recipe is in my head; I don't use any cookbooks. I become like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix and download dishes into my head after seeing a grandma cook it. Sometimes I even meditate to visualize techniques and recipes. At times I've even asked the gods, "Help me out on this." Because of all this, I know around 150 different Indonesian dishes to date.
“This is the best food I’ve ever had in my life. It is a whole lot of love wrapped in a banana leaf.”
“Yours is the most amazing food I’ve ever tasted. You are a talented artist.”
Billie ‘Docu FilmmakerSanta Monica
“Thank you so much! I cannot express how delicious your food is. Muchos gracias.”
Nicole B. ’makeup artist’Santa Monica
“I had Steve's Duck Penyet on Sunday after potluck. Itt was so good!! I had two of them. The ‘Gulai Kambing’ was amazing!"
Tisno O.Surabuya Java
Thats what Im talking about! Your ‘Ayam Betutu’ is so delicious. I feel like I am eating in Bali.
Desa N. 'opare'Bali
“Wow! It has a beautiful taste and a solid spice too. I love it - it is a iece of art. Thank you, Steve.”
Chris B., PhotographerSanta Monica