Indonesia-born executive chef Dadang (“DJ”) Djajadiredja (CEC, CFBE, CHE) has acquired three American Culinary Federation certifications throughout a 35-year career. He has led culinary teams at country clubs, cruise ships, hotels, and culinary schools from New York to Texas, and we are very happy to have him as a chef-educator at the UT Culinary & Catering Program.
Read more about Chef DJ’s “Pastries & Quickbreads” course and other kitchen classroom lessons our students enjoy.
Chef DJ took the time to share with us why he does what he does and his advice on what students can do to make the most of their culinary education.
Q: What made you want to become a Chef?
A: I became a chef because I like to eat and experiment with different ingredients to create a new dish.
Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?
A: My favorite part about teaching is to see the students successfully learning the subject and be able to witness how they perform what they have learned from me. That gives me a sense of pride in knowing that I am a successful teacher.
Q: In your opinion, what is the most important part about food, cooking, etc?
A: The food we eat is to nourish our body. It is important to know how to cook it correctly in order to get the maximum benefit from the food that we consume. Cooking is an integral part of food preparation. It is an art, and it will give pleasure to the people who love to enjoy the dining experience and satisfaction to the chef as the mission is accomplished.
Q: When running a food business, what is the key to success?
A: Knowing your customer’s need is the key to success in any business, besides knowing the knowledge that relates to it, such as target marketing, financial planning, and public relations.
Q: If there is one thing you’d want your student chefs to remember, what it would be?
A: It doesn’t matter how good you are as a chef, if you cannot generate a profit, your job will not last.
Q: What would you say to someone who’s thinking about enrolling in the program?
A: The program is very compact. You will learn a lot from the different chefs that have proven experience in food business and have successfully created many dishes. I think the program is the best program that you can find in this area that can give you hands-on learning. The course is good for those students who would like to join the restaurant or catering business right away after the completion of the course.