Crowne Plaza Queenstown has appointed its current sous-chef Budi Kurniawan to the position of head chef to lead the award-winning kitchen team into the summer season.
Originally from the south coast of Central Java, Indonesia, Chef Kurniawan’s passion for food started at a young age.
Living by the sea his first job in the industry was as a 14 year old fish monger working for his mother’s business providing fish to local supermarkets.
His passion for food continued and he embarked on his professional career initially at Nikko Hotel in Bali before swapping the beach paradise for the bustling metropolitan city of Jakarta to work for the Shangri La Hotel.
He moved to Wellington in 2005 working for Intercontinental Wellington and after a stint at local dining institutions Shed 5 and Bangalore Polo Club, he joined Crowne Plaza Queenstown as a Sous Chef in 2012.
Chef Kurniawan said he was “really excited to be taking the helm” and incorporating his Indonesian flair into the locally-inspired menu.
“I grew up with food from a very young age and it’s always been my passion,” he said.
“Aged nine I made my first ever dish “Cara Bikang”, a traditional meal made from rice flour, tapioca flour and coconut milk. It’s like combination of pancake and muffin and tastes amazing.
“From that moment on I was hooked. My mom also had a small catering business and she taught me to make many different dishes which fuelled my interest even more,” said Chef Kurniawan.
“At threesixty we pride ourselves on delivering some of the best food and wine Central Otago has to offer, all set in a friendly, warm environment.”
“It’s an exceptional honour to lead the team moving forward and we’ve had great fun coming up with our new summer menu together.
“I’m excited to put my own personal twist on things, drawing on my Indonesian culture for ideas and using the best of New Zealand produce,” he said.
“My personal favourite New Zealand ingredients are lamb and fresh fish. I can’t get enough of it and they’re a highlight of the summer menu.
An array of mouth-watering dishes using fresh, local produce feature on threesixty’s new summer menu including the Asian-inspired fish ceviche - fresh New Zealand market fish marinated in lime juice, honey, soy, coconut milk, ginger and red onion served on a bed of cured cucumber.
Other summer highlights from Chef Kurniawan are pork belly with a mango, paw paw and garlic peanut crumb salad and the roasted Otago merino lamb rump served on a bed of warm couscous with sautéed fresh garden peas and broad beans drizzled with a sundried tomato jus.
Crowne Plaza Queenstown General Manager Reinier Eulink said Chef Kurniawan’s appointment was testimony to “his hard work, dedication and exceptional skills in the kitchen”.
“Budi joined Crowne Plaza Queenstown as our sous chef 19 months ago supporting our departing executive chef Ricky Isnanto,” he said.
“He’s continued to build his capability in delivering excellent quality dishes with consistently positive guest feedback.
“He’s been instrumental in growing a great kitchen team and ensuring we always meet and maintain the highest standards of dining, service and hygiene.
“On more than one occasion he’s successfully managed the kitchen operations and his promotion to head chef is well deserved,” said Mr Eulink.