Milestone stories

De Smaak van Doorzettingsvermogen

Date: 21-03-2024

Estimated reading time: 5-9min

"Do you want to make your dreams come true?

Dare to be yourself and be proud of who you are."

As a brand, nothing excites us more than capturing stories of people evolving throughout their lives. That's why we gather tales that celebrate life, offer inspiration, and shed light on the highs and lows of life.

This time, we interviewed Michelin Star Chef Jermain de Rozario. He embarked on an inspiring journey from youthful playfulness to a respected Michelin chef by pursuing his dream and embracing his true self. Breaking the taboos of the classic Michelin Star world, he proudly placed Indonesian cuisine on the map. He gives a unique voice to iconic Indonesian dishes like "Rendang" and boldly serves a "mayonnaise sauce bucket," challenging conventional culinary norms. He embraced life's challenges and developed a distinctive cooking style, that attracts many to his restaurant.

Jermain fearlessly breaks taboos and dares to be his true self We are inspired by this. That's why we visited him, allowing him to guide us through the milestones of his journey.

Jewelry often symbolizes personal stories, memories, and life milestones. What story do your Buddha to Buddha jewelry pieces tell?

"What a beautiful question! Recently, I went to America and proposed to my girlfriend, soon to be my wife. I did it with a special white gold Buddha to Buddha ring adorned with beautiful diamonds. I find it wonderful that we can determine the value we place on objects or a particular date in life. It changes your mindset. I have various Buddha to Buddha bracelets representing different milestones, but the bracelet and ring I wear now were on me when I proposed to my girlfriend. I often wear these two during important moments, like difficult conversations. Wearing these pieces, I carry the energy of a newly engaged man into a business meeting [he says smiling proudly]. It's something nobody knows, but I do. When I wear them, I believe I carry the energy of that moment in America, where I cooked for 40 people, including my wife, and proposed to her that evening. That makes the difficult conversation easier for me because I know I carry the energy of that milestone with me."

How do our jewelry pieces complement your personal style in the kitchen and beyond?

"There is certainly a match between my Buddha to Buddha jewelry, who I am as a person, and what we do here in the restaurant. The jewelry comes from the country of origin of my parents, which is also the style of my kitchen: Indonesian. We work, inspired by Indonesian influences, just like Buddha to Buddha. But what I feel personally about Buddha to Buddha, which I highly value about the brand, is that when I see a Buddha to Buddha bracelet, I immediately feel that it tells a story. That's because I believe they are made with a message behind them, but you can fill in that message yourself. When I see the various pieces of jewelry I have, I see different dishes that I make in my restaurant. When I make a dish I always think, 'What's the story behind it?'. I think that mystique surrounding the jewelry, which you can fill in yourself, is the connection with me, both privately and as a chef. I believe that not everything needs to be black and white and clear; there can always be something mysterious about it. For me, Buddha to Buddha has that mysterious quality. Each piece of jewelry tells its own unique story."

Your journey from youthful playfulness to a respected Michelin chef with your own style is inspiring. Can you tell us about the moment you consider your big breakthrough in the culinary world? 

"From my perspective and feeling, I feel like the big breakthrough is yet to come. You might say it's already there. We are of course very happy with the star, but we still need to be discovered. However, if I had to choose a milestone moment that we have already achieved, it would be a moment you wouldn't expect. That's our almost bankruptcy. That forced us to break free from what we call 'youthful playfulness' and clearly define a vision. As a rebel. I remain an eternal rebel, which I am very proud of. That fits well with your brand.

Getting the Michelin Star was, of course, also a significant milestone and a beautiful moment, but it wasn't the most important turning point. It was more of a confirmation of something I already knew. That's not arrogance, but more something I manifested. To achieve what you want, you have to truly believe in it first. I had already given myself that confirmation. That bankruptcy, on the other hand. Going through the pain and sadness, keeping yourself in the right mindset, and pulling yourself through it, partly by wearing jewelry that gives you strength, that was my biggest milestone."

You mentioned that achieving a Michelin star for your own restaurant was also a significant milestone for you. Can you tell us how achieving this milestone felt for you?

"It felt like a liberation. People often ask if it adds more pressure, but for me, it was really a weight off my shoulders. I was already convinced that we had it in us, but receiving that confirmation was nice. Suddenly, I gained the respect that I believe every entrepreneur deserves. Suddenly, I really had a voice. For me, it was more than just winning a star; it was truly finding my voice. I'm very grateful to Michelin for that, but especially to the teams with whom I achieved it. Because ultimately, we manifest it together. It was the ultimate feeling of connection."

How does it feel to wear jewelry that symbolizes reaching such milestones?

"Marking milestones with jewelry is special to me. I remember 10 years ago, looking at Buddha to Buddha showcases and only being able to dream of such jewelry. Now, I am incredibly proud to be an ambassador for this brand and wear jewelry that is beautiful but that I could never have afforded before. Jewelry that marks the special moments in my life. I can't really describe that feeling in words."

How does it feel to express yourself through your culinary art?

"I look at a lot of coaches, singers, rappers, actors, and writers who express their feelings through their art. Finally, I have found a way to put my sadness, joy, and love into the food I make. It's very nice to cook your emotions away. That's 100% what we do here. We don't cook from a recipe; everything is based on feeling. I can't describe the feelings I put into my food with a pen. Just as I can't describe in words how it feels for me to wear these pieces of jewelry that symbolize strength and connection with my wife. All I want to say is: whatever you do, put your emotions into everything you create."

To what extent is jewelry, such as your Buddha to Buddha jewelry, a source of inspiration or strength during moments when you have to perform in your kitchen?

"During tougher moments, I like having the jewelry ready for me. In the kitchen, for example, I always take off my jewelry because I work with meat and fish, and you don't want cross-contamination. But my Buddha to Buddha ring and bracelet are there, ready for me. Every evening, I walk past the tables in my restaurant to greet the guests. Let's be honest, then I take off my dirty apron, put on a clean one, maybe a little cologne, and I hear the jewelry calling out to me, 'Put me on!' And as soon as I slide the ring onto my finger and close the lock of the bracelet, I feel more confident walking into the restaurant. It's a certain allure. I'm not talking about luxury or 'look at me with my beautiful jewelry,' but when you wear Buddha to Buddha jewelry as you truly are... I can hardly explain it... It's like with these two pieces I wear [points to his Ben Black Rhodium bracelet and ring]. They fit so well with who I am as a person and the clothes I wear. In those moments when I walk to the tables in my restaurant, it's a pleasure to greet my guests with my jewelry and truly be myself."

Cooking is a form of art. Many artists have rituals or traditions before they perform. Do you have certain traditions or things you do for luck or inspiration before starting a busy evening in your restaurant?

"Many artists and creative people have their routines, and I certainly have them too. I have a lot of them actually. For example, in the summer when I notice it's an important evening and there's a certain buzz. This doesn't necessarily have to do with handling pressure, but more with the mental aspect. You do this every day and talk to people every day. Often, the same questions come your way, which is not a problem but is a fact. And to make sure you don't fall into a kind of phase where everything goes on autopilot, but you still remain your true self, I have a ritual. I go to the park, take off my shoes and socks to connect with the earth, and really get into the moment. Then I sit on a bench, close my eyes, and meditate for 10 minutes until I feel completely zen. Nothing in my head. Just silence. Feeling connected to everything around me. Then I open my eyes and go back to my day. One of my mottos is 'When you wake up, dictate the day, and don't let the day dictate you.' Every day, things come your way that you can't plan. In a world that is out of balance, you shouldn't seek balance; you should surrender to life. That's not always easy, but it's actually something that gets me through every day. I draw a lot of inspiration from that. Bring it on, I'm ready."

What would you like to say to other people who have a big dream they want to pursue?

"To pursue your big dream, and I speak from my own truth, I would say: 'dare to be.' That's where it always starts. Dare to dream, but also dare to be. In a time when everyone has an opinion and everyone interferes with each other, dare to be yourself. Let that unique DNA you have speak, rather than conforming to what others do. Don't try to be the same as others. Don't try to be like me, but dare to be yourself. That's the challenge of life. The more you get to the core and the more you become yourself, the more success comes with it. I'm experiencing it myself now [looks through his Michelin star restaurant] and I finally dare to be. That's my advice. Want to make your dreams come true? Dare to be yourself and be proud of who you are."

"Dare to be."

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