Highly updated with the world’s most current food trends, there is always a demand for anything fresh in Jakarta’s culinary scene. Currently, gourmet caterers are on the rise as patrons seek an edge with food as the center of attention for their events. The NJONJA was established in early 2016 by three co-founders and quickly became a powerhouse in Jakarta after working with BMW, MINI, Porsche and Indonesia’s biggest international motor shows, GIIAS and IIMS. These engagement were tickets to appointments and The NJONJA has developed thousands of recipes to fulfill their clients’ specific requests.
When it comes to the events, gourmet caterers are destined to face volatile and challenging environments almost all the time. “It’s like opening new restaurant every day!”, exclaims co-founder Alda Boentaran. First things first, coordinate with the host or the appointed event organiser regarding the layout design of the event. “It is important for us to be involved at every meeting and to establish good communications. For example, we will ask the host to erect the tent only when our kitchen equipment have gone in first as per the layout. Otherwise they may have to tear down the tent because the entrance may be too small for our equipment”, she explained.
Where government officials are involved, she said that caterers need to know the rundown of the schedule to avoid getting entangled during the hours when protocols forbid everybody to get in and out of the premise. Next is the availability of water, electricity, and gas. The NJONJA was once commissioned for a huge event far on the eastern part of Indonesia where such privileges are often rare. “The solution was to plan far ahead and bring everything from Jakarta by ship one month before. As for the ingredients, we assigned our people to scout nearby cities for fresh produce and then ship it to the venue”, recounted Alda.
Anticipation is the key when it comes to outdoor events. Regular customers who hold parties far from Jakarta are often encouraged by Alda to also purchase their own kitchen equipment. This helps the whole cooking and service process, as well as reducing logistical risks. Even with proper planning, a nearby event can also prove to be a problem. For example, the notorious traffic between Jakarta and Bandung. To navigate this issue, they sent equipment, produce and the team during midnight to Bandung so that they can set-up without stress on event day.
Lastly, it is important also to convey the practical approach to the clients about the dynamics of catering business. There are times when clients emphasise too much on aesthetics and demand food to accommodate the whole setup. “However, this might compromise food quality due to humidity, heat and whatnot. It is our task to help balance what the clients want and the realistic approach regarding the food,” says Alda. A smooth flow of logistics, cooking process, and service that complements the quality of food and ultimately, zero food waste. That, to her, is a sign of a successful catering project.
Story by: Rian Farisa • Photos by: The NJONJA