In the moment of International Women's Day, we invite you to get acquainted with Batsheba Satyaalangghya from Khas Rotiselai. On this special occasion, we discussed how Khas Rotiselai was formed, the concept of an organic-conscious kitchen, and how they contribute to society.
Q: For the first introduction, can you share your background?
A: My name is Batsheba Satyaalangghya, I was born and grew up in Jakarta. This is my 22nd year in Bandung. If you count that, I went to Bandung in 2000 to study at the Faculty of Fine Art ITB, majoring in Ceramics Art back then. After graduating, I first opened the business in 2005, it was a ceramics studio. Then, I went to Europe for 4 years to do Master Post Graduate, majoring in Fashion Bussiness, and then came back working in my ceramic studio that I built several years before I went to Madrid, but slowly in 2014, I started to open Khas Rotiselai in Dago, next to Warung Laos. There was a small house there that year, and that year it was not yet a trend to build a coffee shop or a place to eat. I thought it was suitable to open a bakery because at that time I already made bread. I already had an organic bakery market at that time, and yes it still runs to this day.
Q : Your background is in the Department of Ceramics, so what leads you to open Khas Rotiselai?
A : Since childhood, I have had an interest in cooking. Every time I visit a relative’s house, I am always interested in the kitchen. I like to see what they’re making, so sometimes I ask for the recipe. In my opinion, food should be made by hand, made at home because humans naturally can cook, only their skills are different. Next, while I lived in Madrid for 4 years. I understand more and more that in every house I visit they have the same food but with a different taste. Well, after returning home I concluded that yes, there is no food that is lacking or that is not delicious. But more than that, each person or house has its own needs and influences in cooking.
Q: How did you start with Khas Rotiselai? Then why did you choose the organic market segment?
A: We started in 2014, it just so happened that the momentum was right, so it wasn’t something that had been planned long ago. As for why we chose organic, for me personally at first I just wanted to be responsible for myself regarding what food I eat, but over time it turned into a broader sense of responsibility. Because food is very influential on health, for example, everyone thinks it’s normal, only for women, especially for me because I have a lineage of hormonal imbalance which also affects our hormones. Actually, it’s really standard, yes, flavor enhancers and artificial sweeteners, but in the long run, it can be very damaging. Because I already know that wisdom, I feel responsible for what I make and what I sell.
Q: If you look at the Instagram bio, Khas Rotiselai claims that it is a “Conscious Organic Kitchen”. What does it mean? Can you explain that to us so people can understand and what do you want to convey to the people of Bandung about this?
A : Conscious Organic Kitchen, so we want to live and make a dish where all the ingredients we know come from and how the process is, so we can be sure that the food we serve is good for those who enjoy it. The point is we are aware of what we serve. Incidentally, my partner here also lived in Japan for 5 years, he was working in a restaurant as a cook. So we combined the two stories of our lives in Japan and Spain. We consciously judge a meal from the perspective of the two countries and we combine them all. We believe that our life must have a function and be useful in society. So we fulfill that function by providing the wisdom we have about food. We really think about what food comes out of our kitchen, so that the food doesn’t have a bad effect in the long run.
Q: Very interesting. If there are people who are allergic to certain ingredients, can Khas Rotiselai accommodate this?
A: We at Khas Rotiselai are very aware that everyone has different dietary needs. For example, if a customer ordered an apple pie but didn’t want to use cornstarch, we would gladly make it. We will not consider the request excessive, because we know that everyone is different. Just make them part of the community. Then, there is also a story, we are close to the cycling community, how many hundred km can they ride a bicycle, and after cycling, for example, they ask, “I need food that is high in protein, but I don’t like meat,” so we were very happy. I was given the challenge, so I learned a lot and I think that’s our function in society.
Q : For menus like that, do we order custom, or they are already available on the regular menu?
A: It must be custom because if it is on the daily menu, they will also be bothered and confused because there is a need to pick. If we do it, the taste will be too much too, because the portion can be 3 times that of regular food, because food for sporty people usually combines several foods. So for custom orders like this, you must make a reservation beforehand.
Q : How do you see an industry like this in Bandung today?
A : I think it’s still lacking, especially since Bandung is known as a culinary paradise, but the people’s desire to eat healthy food is still lacking at this time. However, compared to 10 years ago, now it has started to grow. Especially as people get older, people start to know why they need healthy food and they start chatting with us about it, coming over and telling us what’s going on in their bodies. For us personally, it is very fulfilling. Yes, even though there are people who are aware of it, some are still cheating on unhealthy food. But actually, that’s their choice.
Q: Right. But if you think about it, it’s also unique, yes you have a pretty strong ceramic background and are now making a baking shop.
A: Actually, when it comes to ceramic art and baking, the two are related because they are both made from flour, added with water, and then put at a hot temperature. So my own hands are used to shaping, making, and baking. The process is similar. In terms of art, cooking is also an activity that requires creativity in processing flavors to become food that is good for our bodies. So yes, it’s the same.
Q: Yes, So what’s next, what’s the future plan?
A : For me personally, we will just live according to the door that is opened, I can’t say what it is because we just saw this pandemic, everything could happen, but really just do what we have to the fullest, I really believe in good things will lead me that way, so I live today to the fullest because life is unpredictable, we never know.