JAKARTA : Maison Weiner Cake Shop has gone through World War 2, the Dutch and Japanese occupations and political unrests in the capital since the birth of the nation, and yet its tiny shop in Kwitang, Central Jakarta, remains open for customers today.
The bakery has been selling fresh-baked choux pastries, croissants, sourdough breads and other classic European delicacies since 1936.
It’s now owned by the grandson, Heru Laksana, who maintains the taste from the old recipe of his grandmother.
The grandmother founded the shop 84 years ago when Indonesia was a Dutch colony.
“My grandmother used to help the Dutch bake their cakes. Maybe because it tasted good, the Dutch told her to open her own bakery,” Heru, 65, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.
“The brand was registered in 1936 and we have been using the same machine for decades now. It was bought at the Gambir Market, which now becomes the National Monument Park,” he said.
The family was very serious in the business, as Heru was groomed for a leadership role after two generations have passed.
He was sent to Germany after high school graduation in 1973 to learn the art of making European pastries. He spent 10 hours every day at a local bakery and returned to Indonesia as a konditor meister, the German terms for a highly skillful pastry cook.
It’s one thing to become a certified patissier, it’s another thing to run a sound pastry business.
Heru had no idea about running the business and needed his father’s assistance to run the shop and maintain relationship with customers.
One day, his grandmother presented the family’s recipe orally and Heru immediately wrote down every word from the 80-year-old for his future reference.
In 1981, Heru got the confidence to rebuild the cake shop by combining European baking method and the local recipe he inherited from his grandmother.
His approach in the family business is “bake like grandma did”.
“What I learned in Germany was not entirely practicable here. The temperature was not cold enough, chocolate was still scarce, refrigerator was not good, and the oven was manually operated — you must use your hand to check the temperature,” he said.
He somehow is in charge of the business longer than his father and grandmother have been.
“The ups and downs in the business were unpredictable. What makes us successful is the customers, we must be able to know what they want,” Heru said.
While the shop stands the test of time, its future remains a big question. Heru has not prepared a successor in the family.
BY :YUDHA BASKORO – THE JAKARTA GLOBE