From Busker to Restaurant Owner

Sunday, May 08, 2016 Sharon Halim 0 Comments

Siswanto Wiropuspito was born in Solo, Indonesia. In Melbourne he is simply known as “Pa’e”. Back then, he was a street busker in Blok M in Jakarta. Later he moved to Bali. He took any job that was offered in order to survive. He met his wife Cathy at one of the restaurants where he worked as a musician. They moved to Australia and he now runs one of the most successful Indonesian restaurants in Melbourne called Blok M.

The father of three decided to jump into the culinary world when he was given the opportunity to open a restaurant with his friend. "It was in 1991 and there was little Indonesian food available at that time, so my friends and I missed a home cooked meal from our home country. We were lucky enough to be able to open our first restaurant in Chapel Street, Prahran in 1991", said Pa’e while holding his favourite music instrument, Benjo.

When he and her sister were interviewed on 8th May 2016, he admitted he had very little preparation and no knowledge at all about food at that time. He called his sister in Indonesia for recipes and cooking technique every time he wanted to have new dishes in his restaurant. However with determination and the willingness to learn from people, he has grown to be a mature chef.

His happiest moments are when he is able to play music and have a good conversation over good food with many people who come to his restaurant. He could have a long night of conversation with his customers until midnight after 10 hours of working. He could do that every day. "There was no sad moment during my years in running the restaurant, I try to enjoy every moment of my life" said Pa’e with a big smile on his face. 

With 25 years of experience in the food industry, he gladly shared his wisdom with the Yummed Team and our readers. "Great food will always bring people back" - that’s what he believes to be his key to his success. He always tries his best to cook the most delicious food for every one of his customers.

In the first two years, he was struggling to promote his first restaurant and the need to keep investing additional capital that was necessary for survival. However, he says that it's all worth it now. "Be patient and do not give up because it takes time before you can reap what you sow." It took Pa’e two years before his restaurant became famous and successful, his sister added.

He also seems very enthusiastic when he was asked about Yummed. He said that "It's a great concept and I hope it works well for people trying to get started. Opening a restaurant is a huge investment since the rent and other expenses are always rising".