Each month we feature an International Chef of Chef Works®. If you’re a fan of Chef Works gear and are interested in being featured, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictured above is our July International CoCW, Ivana Setiawan, photographed in her Women’s Springfield Chef Coat.
On paper, Chef Ivana Setiawan’s background reads more like she’s a CPA than an executive chef. She’s got an accounting degree from Swinburne University in Melbourne, Australia. She also has an advanced diploma in business hospitality from William Angliss in Melbourne. Somewhere in between, she also studied patisserie on the side.
But dreams aren’t built on paper.
“Some of my best memories are spending entire Sundays in the kitchen with my mom and my sister, making our own egg noodles from scratch and making doughnuts into ridiculous shapes,” said Setiawan, 30. “I loved the smells and the experiences. I remember every moment of it.”
Those memories remained strong, even as she pursued her business education. And for a while, even while working in an office, baking was all she could think about.
“But there were lots of pastry books around me,” explained Setiawan, 30. “I used to do my work super-fast in order to have more time to read them and then daydream about being able to bake in the afternoon.”
Setiawan grew up in a small city in Indonesia called Tulungagung in East Java. She went to high school in Surabaya before continuing her advanced education in Australia. She returned to Indonesia and only had a couple of options.
“I could either work in the family business or start my own,” she explained. “I worked in the family business for a while, but often escaped by baking cakes. I’d sell them by the slice to friends and relatives and used the money for ingredients for my next cake. Then I started receiving whole orders for cakes for birthdays and parties. It got to a point where I could buy my own industrial oven. I figured, why not? Let’s give it a shot.”
So she started Sweets O’ Treats in 2013 and it’s evolved into an online artisan patisserie store in Surabaya. Setiawan caters all kinds of parties and events with cakes and pastries – including birthdays, engagement parties, weddings and corporate events.
“My favorite part of my job is being creative and innovative and coming up with new menu ideas or designs,” she said. “Running your own business can be hard. Some clients want to pay less but expect more. You have to maintain your idealism while still being an entrepreneur.
“There is also balancing your time to run your business while still finding those opportunities to be creative and explore ideas.”
She draws inspiration from her parents, who started their own business from the ground up. She’s proudly following in their footsteps and is excited to see where Sweets O’ Treats will be 10 years from now.
“I love seeing a business grow,” she said. “I love the teamwork and the environment and working with the people around you. I love being innovative and look forward to taking my business to the next level.”