Reynold reveals new restaurant plans
His intricate dishes have been the source of unending wonder this season, with MasterChef viewers left drooling whenever Reynold Poernomo plates up one of his desserts.
According to the star chef, visitors to his Sydney dessert bar could soon be tasting said delicacies for themselves - from his "Down the Rabbit Hole" dish to his Cherry Ripe-inspired dessert.
The chef, who has been dubbed MasterChef's "Dessert King" was also quick to share that he's keen to expand on his savoury menu at Koi, given, as he's proven so far, he's far from a one-trick pony.
Speaking to news.com.au, the owner of Sydney's Koi Dessert Bar, with locations in Chippendale and Ryde (which doubles as a cooking school), and Chippendale cocktail bar Monkey's Corner, said post-pandemic, his focus was mainly on "rebuilding".
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"When it comes to plans, yes, there are plans to expand. But right now it's all about revival," he said.
"We have taken a huge hit from this pandemic, and the whole industry has actually. It's going to be a whole new world after this."
After closing the doors on his two restaurants following the government's strict no dine-in rules in March, the 26-year-old reopened Koi for takeaway and delivery ahead of the Easter long weekend.
It was a decision Reynold made to save his livelihood and support his staff.
"We thought about it like, 'Yeah we can't just sit around and do nothing. We need to do something,'" he said.
"(So) we reopened a few weeks ago from Thursday to Sunday, and we've been doing pick ups, takeaways and deliveries."
He added: "We've started to do a little bit of dining, but I need to build up my team again to open up dining properly."
As for what customers can expect when popping in to Koi, he said the menu offers 200 different cakes, as well as a savoury menu.
"The most popular is 'Moss in the Jar', which is one of our signatures, as well as 'Nomtella', a coffee based chocolate dessert, and probably the mango yuzu," he said.
The restaurant also offers the 'Bali Sunrise', a coconut dessert made in honour of his parents' former restaurant in Indonesia, which featured in this season's emotional family challenge.
"I remember during immigration having my parents taken away for a little bit. The restaurant closed down of course, my brother was getting food for me when I was hungry," Reynold, whose family left Indonesia for Australia when he was four, shared through tears after opening his Mystery Box to a photo of him as a young boy.
He chose to create a dessert inspired by a pandan, coconut and palm sugar drink called cendol.
"I have never, ever experienced anything quite like that," Mel later said of Reynold's magnificent dish.
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Who said we can't go to Bali! Come and visit Bali, through your tastebuds of course, with this tasty adventure called 'Bali Sunrise' featuring coconut, palm sugar, pandan, dark chocolate and Jack fruit 😍 Available on this week's delicious #KOIrantine home delivery menu, and pick-up too! | #KOIDessertBar #KOIHome
As for the season's "greatest dish ever", the Alice in Wonderland-inspired 'Down the Rabbit Hole' made with oozy caramel poured over to create a rabbit-hole effect, which left judges Melissa, Jock and Andy in awe, he said he was "still working on" adding it to the menu.
"I mean it's not easy to make, but I'm working on it," he said.
But, as this season has proven, spectacular desserts aren't all that exists in Reynold's arsenal.
Koi Dessert Bar's savoury offerings include grilled oysters with shallot soy and salmon roe, duck with jus, pumpkin, shiitake & eschalot and spanner crab with potato foam, salmon roe, puffed rice, and chive oil.
"I've actually been doing savoury for the past 5 years, but not many people know.
"Our brand is Koi Dessert Bar, but we actually have had dining as well, and that's something we want to focus on and get out there a bit more."
He went on: "I guess the one thing that I really wanted to show Australia coming on MasterChef was I'm not just the dessert guy, I can do all these other things and I have been doing them for years."
He added that without MasterChef: Back To Win, his restaurant business may have not been able to bounce back as well out of the pandemic.
He's particularly grateful given he almost didn't appear at all.
"For me to come back on MasterChef has been an honour and a privilege and great timing as well, it has helped our business incredibly and we'll actually be able to survive through this crazy storm."
He went on to explain: "I actually said yes, then the judges got changed, and I said no, then I had to say yes again because I thought OK, this is actually an opportunity that doesn't come around often.
"Initially I was really worried about being away from my family and having to go down to Melbourne for filming, but I'm so glad I did in the end," he said.
The fan favourite recently came under fire for shocking homophobic posts he made in 2014.
As reported by Daily Mail Australia, Reynold joined a discussion on a thread titled "First gay couple featured on the Disney Channel. Do you agree with them?".
Under the name "reyreyy", he commented: "I wish the world made a united decision where they will capture all gay people and put them on a remote island full of gays, that way straight ppl will be happy and the freaks can go on and f**k themselves."
On another thread titled: "Is homosexuality a mental illness?", he wrote: "Yes end of thread."
In a statement sent to news.com.au via Channel 10, Reynold said he was "deeply ashamed" of the comments he made six years ago.
"I would like to offer my sincere and deepest apologies for the comments that I made in 2014. I am ashamed of these comments and I regret them immensely," he said.
"At the time these comments were made, I was a very immature, close-minded and insular 20-year-old. I have grown and matured a lot in the last six years. I am not the person I was back then."
He went on to say he has "many friends and colleagues that are part of the LGBTIQ+ community".
"I wholeheartedly support them and care deeply for them. I am truly sorry and apologise for any offence or hurt I caused."
MasterChef: Back to Win continues tonight from 7.30 on Channel 1 0.
Originally published as Reynold reveals new restaurant plans