NOW Jakarta! recently met the cookbook author and Oxone Brand Ambassador Wina Bissett at Poliform, Jakarta’s newest luxury furniture outlet in Kemang. Radiating in a brightly coloured yet simple dress and always with a genuine smile on her face, Wina was in the mood to talk about the upcoming launch of her new book and studio, as well as her next career moves. “I want to be more playful now,” she said, as she started our cosy afternoon chat.

Tell us about your fourth book.
My fourth book is entitled Masakan Keluarga Wina Bissett (Wina Bissett’s Family Home Cooking). Part of it is about my husband’s family home cooking, which originates from my Armenian mother-in-law. The first part of the book is about my home cooking, the second part various cookies, and the third part is about Indonesian cuisine with plenty of recipes from Solo, Central Java, and Jakarta – the placeswhere I came from and where I grew up. The fourth part is home cooking that pays homage to my extended family as well as my close friends. 

What are your expectations from the book?
Actually, the book can be seen as a biography, and each recipe has a story to tell. For instance, there’s a story about my favourite restaurant and about some related inspirational dishes. There’s also a story about my father’s favourite French toast and another about the cinnamon bun that my husband likes most. All of the recipes have stories to tell and I hope that those who read the book not only learn the recipes but also understand the history of the cuisines involved.

How would you compare it with your previous books?
Just as I did before, this time I’m also doing it independently. I’m not partnering with any publisher. I produced the book on my own with the support of a proof reader and a good marketing team. The thing that makes this book so special is the creative process behind it, which included photo sessions in Scotland as well as Indonesia. As a result, this book has stunning images that I hope people will like. The book is so personal and I know how to sell it. It isn’t a mass-selling product, but rather, it needs specific handling and high-involved marketing. This book comes with an artistic design, making it perfect as a gift.

How long did it take you to complete it?
Well, this has been the longest production process I’ve ever had to undergo, from 2014 to 2017. I had planned on this book to be my second, but I have had to skip that plan aside, because I was approached by a publisher at that time. I’m just waiting for my studio to be ready so it can be concurrently launched. The book is actually ready to be marketed.

Can you tell us about your studio?
My three-storey studio is going to be my office, venue for cooking classes and rented space for video shooting, as well asa venue to create materials for a YouTube channel.

What is your next plan?
To be honest, I want to work more overseas because I like to make friends from around the globe and
I want to promote my country. I truly love Indonesia. It’s really important to make friends, especially for us in the culinary world, so we can support each other. Moreover, the F&B industry is growing rapidly, which is good, and I want to keep it that way to bring Indonesian cuisine on the world’s map.

How are you spending Christmas this year?
This year I will celebrate Christmas in Barcelona with my husband’s family. All the family members will come. We’ll go to church together in the morning and have Christmas dinner later in the evening with delightful meals such as turkey, lasagna, potato gratin, Brussels sprouts and puddings. As the host this year, I will be cooking for all of them. There’s also the Bissetts’ tradition of giving presents.

What are your wishes for Christmas and hopes for the new year?
I want to motivate others with my experiences in life. I wasn’t born with the skills to cook, but I’ve gone through a lot of learning process to be who I am today.

How would you describe yourself?
I’m cheerful, fun, extrovert and not conservative. I’m not afraid of facing my life. Now I’m quite flexible and really playful (laughing).
I want to be more of myself. Just read my book, that really reflects who I am now.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.