Growing up in Malaysia, Sky Wong—better known as Chef Sky—never thought he would end up as one of the best chefs in the industry. Since first stepping into the culinary world as a part-timer at the tender age of 14 in a local restaurant, Wong has gained many cooking experiences. It’s been a long journey that had its roots were in his mother’s Cantonese cooking throughout his childhood.
After finishing school, he worked several jobs, first as a cook with the Pan Pacific Singapore followed by a stint travelling the world as a chef with Star Cruises before finally ending up with the Hakkasan Group in 2012. There, he was employed first as a sous chef, which was followed by a promotion to Executive Sous Chef with Hakkasan Dubai. He was also extensively trained at Hakkasan London to deliver Cantonese cuisine with the most modern of presentations. Eventually, he was promoted to be Chef de Cuisine at the 12th Hakkasan in Jakarta in February 2019.
With so much experience in his pocket, Chef Sky has long been renowned as a cook who can bring unique qualities to a fine-dining restaurant, and thus it is with Hakkasan Jakarta. This is the first—and currently only—Hakkasan branch in Southeast Asia that combines signature Cantonese cuisines with cocktails and a variety of wines. It is located on the 25th floor of the Alila SCBD Jakarta hotel, and it is here where guests can enjoy Chef Sky’s signature menus while taking in stunning skyline urban vistas.
Before the restaurant opened, Chef Sky researched local flavours and ingredients and immersed himself the local market in order to match them with his signature Cantonese cuisine. The resulting dishes were created using the local ingredients he found, which are then cooked Cantonese style. Thanks to the power of teamwork and the many suggestions from his local staff and friends, he finally created Cantonese dishes that truly tantalise the taste buds of the people of Jakarta.
“If I brought 100 per cent Cantonese food to Jakarta, it would be hard for it to be accepted because most Indonesians like spicy food. So we improvised a little to make it more acceptable,” Chef Sky said. He added that Indonesian cuisine is not too different than that of Malaysia and Singapore—what sets them all apart are the sweet flavours and strong aromas derived from the spices used.
As a combination of all his experiences and ingredients for the local market, Chef Sky has developed a special set of menu called “Only At Jakarta” for, of course, Hakkasan Jakarta. These six exclusive dishes comprise Crispy Quail Egg Puffs, Black Swan Puff with Musang King Durian, Double Boiled Chicken Soup in Coconut, Steamed Grouper with Kaffir Sambal Sauce, Mutiara Lobster with Glass Noodles, and XO Lamb Chop with Shiitake. As for the overall concept, Hakkasan Jakarta is way more than just a restaurant, boasting a bar and DJ, with the result being that his guests range across all ages as well as social demographics.
The chef also revealed the favourite dish at Hakkasan Jakarta is the famous Indonesian dessert, Es Teler. That aside, he said, in closing: “Every chef should continue to innovate, no matter how high their status is in the kitchen is. With that, a chef’s quality will keep improving, no matter how long they work for.”