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Christmas with the Poernomos.

16 December 2021

Join ‘dessert king’ Reynold Poernomo and his family for a special festive celebration
– yes, there will be cake.

Explore


Christmas with the Poernomos.

16 December 2021

Join ‘dessert king’ Reynold Poernomo and his family for a special festive celebration
– yes, there will be cake.

Reynold Poernomo with his family

The festive season is always a particularly busy period for hospitality families like the Poernomos. Pictured (left to right): Ike, Reynold, Rica (holding baby Amelia) and Ronald. Image: Nikki To.

Festive celebrations for a hospitality family are tricky at the best of times. Throw in a return to business post-COVID lockdown, a newly reopened dessert bar and three generations of family members with busy schedules, and the Poernomo clan can barely find time to meet, let alone plan their Christmas Day celebration.

It’s a perennial problem for people in the restaurant business, but the Poernomos always find a way to come together and connect after a tough year.

Matriarch Ike Poernomo has been working in the hospitality industry for most of her life; first in Indonesia and then Australia after the family emigrated more than 20 years ago.

Sons Ronald, Arnold and Reynold have followed their mother’s footsteps, jointly opening KOI (Kids Of Ike) Dessert Bar in 2016 in Sydney’s Chippendale. Together, they make alchemic magic in the KOI kitchen with their innovative masterpieces using seasonal ingredients and homegrown edible flowers, eschewing processed sugar to tempt tastebuds and relying instead on lesser-known ingredients to surprise and delight – yuzu curd, anyone?

Reynold Poernomo burnt honey basque cheesecake

Reynold’s classic burnt Basque cheesecake is taken to new heights with a burnt honey glaze. Image: Nikki To.

Youngest son Reynold, recently added author to his CV with the release of The Dessert Game, a collection of his favourite recipes that budding bakers and pastry chefs can attempt at home. The book features instructions to recreate some of the more elaborate dishes that earned him the nickname ‘Australia’s Dessert King’, as well as plenty of the classics: a fudgy brownie, a moist butter cake and a simple but show-stopping Basque cheesecake taken to new heights with a burnt honey glaze.

At Christmas, the Poernomo table groans with the spoils from KOI Dessert Bar, but before that comes the traditional Indonesian dishes that have sustained them over the years through their hard work and long hours to make their family business a success.

So, who’s taking pride of place at the Poernomo Christmas table? Ike, of course, who balances her work in the kitchen with helping Ronald and his wife Rica look after their baby daughter Amelia and older sister Alicia (who counts Uncle Reynold as one of her heroes). Reynold’s other brother Arnold will be there, as well as Reynold’s partner Jess, who’s the willing taste-tester of Reynold’s early creations before they take a starring role on the shelves at KOI Dessert Bar locations.

The Poernomo table setting is elegant, the food is polished yet authentic, and the mood is celebratory – what more is there to honour, beyond family togetherness and good health after the year that was 2021? Here’s cheers to that.

By Sophie Knox