Jakarta. Japan's ABC Cooking Studio launched their latest branch in Jakarta – their eighth overall in Southeast Asia – at Central Park Mall on May 14. The studio was first established in 1985 in the Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan and is popular among food enthusiasts who want to learn how to cook Japanese dishes from scratch.
Wannabe cooks of all ages are welcome to join ABC Cooking Studio, from children wanting to be the next junior Master Chefs to seasoned home cooks who want to learn new tricks.
ABC offers one-time trial lessons and full lessons that will take over a year to complete. There are five basic cooking skill sets to choose from: bread-making, cake-making, Japanese cooking, wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets) and a special course for children.
Trial lessons cost Rp 450,000 ($32) per person to teach you how to make simple dishes like chicken ham, mayonnaise bread, cinnamon roll, Japanese-style Hamburg steak and chocolate cake.
You can get a Rp 200,000 discount on each lesson if you like the studio's Facebook page.
The lessons will be modified according to what seasonal ingredients are available.
The full courses are only available for members and feature more intricate recipes. The price for each course differs according to its duration. Each course can take up to 16 months. If you manage to finish the full course, you will be given a certificate by the studio.
Since Indonesia is a Muslim-majority country, the studio in Jakarta only uses halal ingredients, though ABC is currently still working on getting the official halal certificate.
Amanda Chong, the director of ABC Cooking Studio Worldwide, said even the trial lessons will give you a full picture of what being a member of the studio will feel like.
Amanda said the studio's concept of membership is different to most gym memberships.
"With us, membership is for life," Amanda said. This means there is no expiration date and you can go to any of the eight ABC branches in Southeast Asia to get a complimentary one-day lesson.
Members will be taught how to make their own udon noodles and learn how to master tender, crispy and juicy chicken katsu (fried chicken cutlet) using imported Japanese ingredients, or make the classic rolled omelet, or train their hands in molding fragrant sakura mochi (sticky rice cake) or bake green tea bread with black sesame cream.
Each lesson at ABC lasts for four hours, which includes taking instructions, cooking, dining and cleanup.
Printed recipes with detailed instructions and colored photos will be provided after every lesson to help recreate each dish at home.
The ABC studio in Jakarta has a very casual and friendly atmosphere, with no one getting a preferential VIP treatment.
The cooking space where all lessons are conducted has a big glass window and is brightly lit, so people outside can watch the kitchen action.
Each cooking lesson is conducted in a group of four with a trained instructor by your side to make sure you get everything down pat.
The cooking stations are relatively close to each other and most times different lessons are happening at the same time. Things can get a little crowded but it also allows students to talk to each other, make new friends and exchange cooking tips.
Aside from teaching how to make traditional Japanese dishes, ABC instructors are also versed in the arts of world cuisine. Many of the cakes taught in their course are French cakes, but ABC will teach you how to make them in the Japanese way.
"Macarons don't come from Japan but the Japanese make them better than the French," Amanda said.
ABC will also try to adjust the flavors of the dishes they teach to suit local taste, once the instructors have made themselves familiar with it.
"I've noticed that Indonesians really like cheese, so we'll probably do dishes with cheese in the future," Amanda said.
Address: Central Park Mall (Lower Ground level, in front of BCA bank), West Jakarta.
Contact: 08551084199 or 081288992823