Chef’s Insight

Rinrin Marinka

Every artist is unique. We ask the same questions every month for unique insights into the varied experiences of Indonesia’s leading chefs.


Rinrin Marinka is passionate about sharing Indonesian food, culture and art with the world. After studying French
cuisine and patisserie at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu in Sydney, she returned to Indonesia to explore innovative ways to bring East and West together in her cooking. In 2011 she released her first cookbook called Fantastic Cooking, and now you can catch her on Wonderful Indonesia Flavours on the Asian Food Channel and the Travel Channel, as she delves into the varied flavours and vibrant culture of the archipelago nation with Australian chefs Tobie Puttock and Darren Robertson.

What is your earliest memory of cooking?

I was seven years old making bolu kukus, a kind of Indonesian steamed cupcakes; I still remember the sweet smell of the steam as the cupcakes rose.

What smell in the kitchen do you love?

The aroma of the kitchen as a whole! The distinct smell of herbs and spices blending into the dishes.

If you weren’t a chef, what other profession would you like to attempt?

I majored in art and design as well as fashion design, so if I could attempt a different profession… I would be a painter. I find painting to be very therapeutic.

What is your go-to ingredient?

Sugar and sesame oil – two key ingredients in Indonesian cuisine.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Batagor, which is actually one of the dishes featured in the programme, but I recreated it with a bit of Western influence by making an Asian version of a scotch egg.

What turns you on creatively?

The inspiration for a recipe can come from anything – seeing colours, smelling aromas, chatting with strangers, friends or family – so I think creating something comes from a combination of your five senses.

What is your favourite Indonesian dish?

Ketoprak! It is an Indonesian vegetarian dish from Jakarta consisting of tofu, vegetables, rice cake and rice vermicelli doused in peanut sauce. It’s simple and healthy.