TURNING PASSION INTO BUSINESS
TURNING PASSION INTO BUSINESS
LEAD MAIN: Riyas Irmadona is not a professional baker, but she sure knows how to make delicious cakes, cookies and breads for her family in Luzern, Switzerland and pens five books that establish her reputation as an author.
In less than two years, five books filled with Riyas Irmadona’s mouth-watering recipes have been published by Indonesia’s publisher Gramedia.
The fifth book, Chocolate a la Dona’s Delight, just recently hit bookstores.
Dona has been living in Luzern since 2000 with her husband, American chef Andrew Clayton, and their children – Mutiara Putri Clayton and Iman Putra Clayton.
She loves making little treats for her families and occasionally for her friends. However, Dona says she does not sell her cakes.
The “love story” between Dona and baking started when she wanted to celebrate Mutiara’s first birthday in Luzern. Unlike today, when there are more options in terms of decorations on birthday cakes, back in 2001, choices were limited.
“I wanted to buy an elaborate birthday cake to celebrate my daughter’s first birthday, however, back in 2001, in terms of decorations, Swiss cakes were too simple for my liking,” she says.
“I think the reason is because making a decorative cake from scratch is a very labor intensive process, and labor cost has always been very high in Switzerland, thus they offered simple birthday cakes only. So, I decided to make my own decorative birthday cake.”
Making the birthday cake for her first child has awakened Dona’s passion for baking. From that moment on, she decided to start making cakes that suit her taste. “Even though nowadays I like European cakes, I disliked them at first,” says Dona.
European cakes, which generally use lots of whipped cream and are classed as sponge cakes, are acquired taste for Dona.
When she and her husband arrived in Switzerland in 2000, her palate was used to the rich American cakes and Indonesian bolu (butter cakes), which are heavier than the typical light, fluffy European cakes.
Dona had never dreamt of publishing any recipe books. Initially, she shared her recipes on her personal Facebook account, Riyas Irmadona.
Her blog of recipes, donasdelight.blogspot.com, which was made based on her mother-in-law’s suggestion, was launched in 2014. Later, donasdelight.com and Dona’s Delight public group on Facebook were created in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Dona has always loved sharing her recipes but taking time to write a recipe book was not yet on her mind.
However, as luck would have it, she was contacted by Gramedia publisher senior editor Intarina Hardiman, who was referred to her by Neni Wiwin, one of 46,687 followers of Dona’s Delight. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
In March 2017, Gramedia published Dona’s Delight: Kue Indonesia Populer (Dona’s Delight: Indonesian Popular Cakes); Dona’s Delight: Cake Favorit (Dona’s Delight: Favorite Cakes); and Dona’s Delight: Roti & Pastry (Dona’s Delight: Bread & Pastry) at once.
Dona’s fourth book entitled Dona’s Delight: Resep Cookies (Dona’s Delight: Cookies Recipes) and fifth book Chocolate a la Dona’s Delight were released in November 2017 and July 2018 respectively.
Each book is printed 2,000 copies per batch. Two of her books Cake Favorit and Roti & Pastry have been reprinted one time, while Resep Cookies is going to be reprinted soon.
“It was such a pleasant surprise, actually people do not have to buy my books, as recipes and videos are accessible for free on donasdelight.com,” she says.
When asked about the recipe of success of her books, Dona says many people told her that her recipes are the fool-proof ones. However, she begs to differ.
“In my opinion, there is no fool-proof recipe. When it comes to baking, there is always potential for something to goes wrong and no matter how good a recipe is, sometimes you will find your cake does not live up to your expectations,” says Dona.
Dona is a mainly self-taught baker. She learnt how to bake at Trisakti Tourism Academy in Jakarta, but has forgotten them all due to lack of practice.
Before getting married, she was florist manager at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Jakarta, where she met her husband who worked there as a chef.
In the past, when her husband ran a catering company and restaurant in Luzern, he entrusted Dona to use her own recipes and make delicacies for his private dining clientele. These days her husband works in a restaurant that has its own pastry chefs.
Tweaking recipes is Dona’s forte. Her recipes and baked items have won the hearts of many, including Bruno Heini, one of the two proprietors of Heini Conditorei in Switzerland, which is famous for its delicious cakes.
“I am really impressed by the quality of Dona’s products. She is enormously talented and has a huge passion for baking. Several times I experienced how Dona bought a good product somewhere. When she made it herself, her variation was even better than the original. She is not interested in baking something good; she is always looking for the even better one,” says Bruno Heini.
Dona does not mind that people use her recipes for commercial gain. Many people excitedly told Dona they had used her recipes, especially Donat Kampung Celup Cokelat, for commercial use.
Baking and writing recipes are Dona’s passion; earning money from her recipe books is icing on the cake.
The book at a glance
This 191-page book features 42 recipes in all – for cookies, cakes and breads.
Dona usually posts videos on donasdelight.com to show how the cakes are made and many recipes in the book include links to her videos.
Readers, especially home bakers, would easily feel connected to Dona as she herself is not a professional baker and she openly shares her failures and her lessons learned to prevent people from making the same mistakes, like the one where she said it took her three attempts to make Bunny Chocolates.
All of her recipes do not use any chemical emulsifier. Among those recipes, there are gluten-free Maizena Brownies and Vegan Chocolate Cake, and the recipes vary from easy-to-make Easy White Chocolate Mouse with Raspberry to the rather complicated and time-consuming Chocolate Babka.
Dona likes to adapt recipes to make them suit her taste and in accordance with Islamic laws. Her Banana Tiramisu, for instance, which she adapted from Giorgio Locatelli’s recipe, excludes Marsala wine and gelatine as they are against Islamic laws. She wrote how she nailed how to make that dessert successfully without gelatine.
Moreover, due to fear of salmonella, she does not use raw eggs. The yolks are whisked with sugar in a double boiler to gradually cook them.
“Dona’s books feature tempting photographs and easy-to-follow instructions. I am not a professional baker, however, based on my experience, I would say that if you follow her recipes step by step, then you are guaranteed to succeed in making your own delicious cakes and cookies,” says Rachmad Sukmowidjojo, a banker.
Each recipe comes with a story on how it played into Dona’s life, and in many recipes she includes snippets of information about the cakes and glimpses of her life in Luzern.
- ν Susanna Tjokro
And this is all about me.. write by Andrew Clayton
riyas irmadona (dona) was born in jakarta, indonesia in 1972. She went to SMA 47 Jakarta Selatan high school, and after she decided on a career in hospitality, attended Trisakti Tourism Academi Jakarta ( Akademi Pariwisata Trisakti /APT)after receiving her diploma, dona had the fortune to get a position as a management trainee in the flower shop at the mandarin oriental jakarta. With hard work and diligence, she quickly attained the position of flower shop manager for the entire hotel, where she met chef andrew, her husband to be. Dona and andrew moved to singapore, cyprus, and finaly switzerland, where they have resided with their two children since 2000. Dona developed a serious interest in baking when mutiara and iman were born, making birthday cakes for their parties. other kids’ moms noticed dona’s flair immediately, and the requests started coming in. When andrew opened a catering company and restaurant in 2007, he started using dona’s cakes, pies, cookies, dessert ideas and recipes for the business, both at the restaurant and at high-end exclusive caterings. Since then, dona’s passion to create delights has multiplied as she seeks out inspiration from everything and everyone in the world around her. Dona’s public notoriety has blossomed from a simple facebook page that grew suddenly to over 15,000 fans and followers- to a much requested blog, dona’s delights, and then to a website that she created. Her fans are always requesting more and this has led her down the path to the publishing world, with Gramedia as a publisher they publis her 3 books at once, Dona’s delight Cake Favorit, Roti & Pastry and Kue Indonesia Populer. Now she is active in facebook doing live video while baking in our small kitchen at home.
written by Andrew Clayton.
Riyas irmadona (dona) lahir di jakarta, indonesia pada tahun 1972. Dia pergi ke SMA 47 Jakarta Selatan, dan setelah dia memutuskan untuk berkarir di bidang perhotelan, mengikuti Akademi Pariwisata Trisakti Jakarta (Akademi Pariwisata Trisakti / APT) setelah menerima ijazahnya. , Dona memiliki keberuntungan untuk mendapatkan posisi sebagai trainee manajemen di toko bunga di mandarin oriental jakarta. Dengan kerja keras dan ketekunan, dia dengan cepat meraih posisi manajer toko bunga untuk seluruh hotel, di mana dia bertemu dengan chef andrew, suaminya. Dona dan andrew pindah ke singapura, siprus, dan Swiss terakhir, di mana mereka tinggal bersama kedua anak mereka sejak tahun 2000. Dona mengembangkan minat serius untuk baking saat mutiara dan iman lahir, membuat kue ulang tahun untuk pesta mereka. Ibu anak-anak lain melihat bakat dona dan permintaan mulai masuk. Ketika andrew membuka perusahaan katering dan restoran pada tahun 2007, dia mulai menggunakan kue dona, kue pai, kue kering, resep makanan penutup dan resep untuk bisnis ini, baik di restoran maupun di restoran. Pada layanan eksklusif kelas atas. Sejak saat itu, semangat dona untuk menciptakan kesenangan telah berlipat ganda saat ia mencari inspirasi dari segala hal dan setiap orang di dunia ini. Ketenaran publik Dona telah berkembang dari halaman facebook sederhana yang tiba-tiba berkembang menjadi lebih dari 15.000 penggemar dan pengikut – ke blog yang banyak diminta, kesenangan dona, dan kemudian ke situs web yang dia ciptakan. Penggemarnya selalu meminta lebih dan ini telah membawanya ke jalan setapak menuju dunia penerbitan, dengan Gramedia sebagai penerbit mereka segera membagikan 3 bukunya, Dona’s Delight Cake Favorit, Roti & Pastry dan Kue Indonesia Populer. Sekarang dia aktif di facebook melakukan live video saat memanggang di dapur kecil kita di rumah.
di terjemahkan oleh Mina Mefida