Meet Our Team: Cindy Kusuma, Floor Manager at The Archive
This week our very own Cindy was featured in the Waiheke Weekender! Read the full feature below…
I was born in Palembang, South Sumatra, Indonesia. I studied Hospitality Management in a college in Auckland, before moved to Waiheke Island and started work at The Archive Bar and Restaurant, Mudbrick. I was fortunate enough to witness how The Archive has evolved, since the first day we opened, to be one of the busiest and most popular spots to visit on the island. We are indeed, blessed with one of the most beautiful sunset spots. Three years on, I’m still enjoying my time working here as one of the Floor Managers, everyone is very friendly and caring, it makes me feel like I am at home.
One of the many reasons why I moved to Waiheke Island, is the experience of an island life. I was born and grew up in one of the biggest cities in Indonesia, with the population of almost 250 times of Waiheke Island’s in summer. I found the peaceful, laidback and outdoor lifestyle as a magnet that kept me here. I enjoyed having a BBQ with friends on a sunny day, had some fresh local oysters and just relaxing with good company. Or just simply cooking dinner together and having a chat with a glass of wine when it’s pouring rain in winter.
I love food, a lot, I have since I was a child. I am an only child but I grew up very closely with my huge extended family. I went to my uncles’ and aunts’ houses a lot, after school, to join their family for dinner. So I love home cooked food. Though my hometown is hailed for it’s fish cakes throughout Indonesia, my personal favourite childhood food is, and always will be Sate Padang (originally from West Sumatra, 648km away from home). There are many variations to the dish, but the one that is served at all of my family gatherings is goat’s meat and tongue cut in to cubes, skewered and charcoal grilled then served with spicy thick yellow sauce based on rice flour mixed with beef broth and lots of spices.
I love fresh seafood, especially crab, prawns and oysters. Most of the time though, I just have pasta for dinner. Being a Chinese descendant born in Indonesia who loves Mediterranean food and learn most about fresh produce in New Zealand, I do tend to mix up my cooking style. Logan Coath, The Archive Head Chef, has influenced and inspired me most, cooking a flavourful simple dish from a local, sustainable and honest produce. His passion and knowledge has drawn me to understand each product and its’ background in more depth.
Earliest cooking memory: a simple Indonesian egg fried rice
I wouldn’t be without: chilli
Most unusual ingredient I’ve cooked with: rabbit meat
Favourite ingredient: any fresh produces
Best local ingredient: oysters, to enjoy it natural or venison to cook
Best-ever foodie tip: choose the freshest ingredients you can get, so you don’t need to put too much seasoning to make it delicious
Biggest culinary disaster: baking! I’m the worst at following a recipe
Current favourite dinner out: The Archive and Casita Miro or Amano and Baduzzi in Auckland
Best dining experience in a foreign country: home-cooked spicy king crab curry in Togean Island, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Favourite fast food: hot wings
If I could pass on one thing about food it would be: be passionate about it and prepare it with all of your heart. If you enjoy what you do, something great comes out of it