“I was too proud to learn about Indonesian food. But then, I was told by my late mom and my wife that no matter how great of a cook I am, if I don’t have the ability to cook the food of my origins, it will all be a waste,” stated Fernando Sindu, the chef on board at CORK & SCREW Country Club, which, contradictorily, serves elevated Indonesian food as their strong point.
Residing inside the Senayan National Golf Club, the CORK & SCREW Country Club presents an oasis-like atmosphere that easily attracts for a ritzy getaway without leaving the city. But the establishment braces more than looks, for the food they offer, fusion Asian and Indonesian food, are equally meritable in taste and in looks; all of which are creations of Chef Fernando, or simply Nando.
With a degree in computer science, Chef Nando knew that his time dealing with the tech world wouldn’t last too long. “I started cooking as young as nine years old, and I’ve always loved it.” His perseverance to go against expectations to pursue his passion eventually paid off when he graduated from The Culinary Institute of America. The first stone was set.
But Chef Nando believes that it’s never about which school one attends, but it’s the grasp of knowledge that’s been acquired during the time that matters, because in the end, the drive and passion to learn is key to acing this profession. As such, Chef Nando is decorated in experience, but if he had to name the one thing that amplified his drive, it’s not the Michelin-starred restaurants where he worked, like Le Bernardin and Boqueria in New York City. It’s Chef Jason Hua from The Dutch restaurant in NYC who mentored him early in the journey.
For because of his teaching, Chef Nando acquired a newfound wisdom in working with food: that food should be treated with respect and that every process behind a plate served on the table is something that is worthy to be treasured. He dedicated to follow Chef Jason everyday, including prepping the food 7 hours prior to his service time. “I woke up at 6 o’clock every morning, went to the market with my mentor, came back to my home for a cup of coffee, back to the restaurant and start prepping, that much of time spent all just for learning.”
In possession of eagerness as his inspiring virtue, Chef Nando’s take on Indonesian food gradually shifted. With every punchy tasting note and complexities, our local cuisine is his new muse with countless of street food stalls as his source of learning. With a few restaurants under his belt, his vision for CORK & SCREW Country Club is to do Indonesian cuisine justice with splashes of fusion to keep it exciting. To wit, Chef Nando shared a dish that embodies what he’s been up to; creating off-cross culture dishes while maintaining various notes and textures in it. From Makassar-originated Tuna Gogu to Japanese gyoza skin for the taco shells, it’s all about fusing harmonized flavors.
Crispy Tuna Tacos
This recipe is divided into the shell and the taco filling, and yields a total of ten tacos, perfect for appetizers at home parties. Or for yourself, there’s no judging.
10 Gyoza wrappers
2 Ripe avocado
2 Hard boiled eggs
400gr Fresh Tuna (get good quality fish)
100gr Teriyaki sauce
20gr Tobiko fish roe
50gr Ikura (salmon roe)
20gr Wakame/Seaweed salad
50ml Lime juice
20gr Rice crispies (Chef Nando recommends to deepfry single grains of cooked rice til’ crisp. However, store-bought unflavoured rice crispies can be a more practical alternative.)
- For the shell, fry the gyoza wrappers in a mold to shape it into a taco shell. Fret not, you can devise your own mold by DIY-ing it with aluminum foil.
- Meanwhile, smash the avocado and season with salt, pepper and half of the lime juice. Drizzle olive oil and mix until it’s well combined. Basic guacamole.
- For the egg salad, dice the boiled egg in a separate container and mix with mayonnaise. Add mustard to taste.
- Dice tuna fillet into 1/2 cm cubes. Chef Nando recommends not to cut corners with the quality of the fish, it’s worth it.
- Mix in the teriyaki sauce, tobiko, olive oil and the rest of the lime juice to the tuna. Season with black pepper, salt and little bit of sugar if needed. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
Assemble the taco:
- In the fried gyoza shell, add the tuna mixture and layer it with the egg salad and guacamole.
- Sparingly top it with wakame.
- Add dots of mayonnaise for tang and savour, three is enough.
- Finally, garnish the taco with ikura, crispy rice and micro greens as the final touch.