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Reynold Poernomo's fans mostly come from two tribes: Those who have followed him since his run on MasterChef 2015, and those who have stumbled upon the now-famed KOI Dessert Bar in Sydney's Chippendale, which he runs alongside his mum and two brothers. Either way, they stay loyal devotees, and foodies or not, can harbour an appreciation for just how intricate and delicious the creations are. Today, KOI has expanded to include the KOI Dessert Kitchen — part cafe and part classroom — with a third venue on the way. "It'll be called NOI," Reynold says. "And this [is going to] be my true dream restaurant."
A hat-trick of successful venues is no mean feat, especially at the ripe young age of 23. Below, an insight into how he works.
How I Work: Reynold Poernomo
What do you enjoy the most about what you do?
Being in the kitchen and constantly being allowed to be creative. Most of the time work doesn't really feel like "work", and that in itself, is already an enjoyment.
What do you attribute to your success?
I wouldn't necessarily call myself successful just yet, however, from my achievements thus far, I would give credit to my mum and my brothers that have constantly guided me along the way. And of course, MasterChef.
What's your #1 tip for staying motivated?
I would have to say my number one tip for staying motivated is the fact that my goal is to retire in my 30s. With that being said, my type of retirement is to not stop working, but being able to be a creative director in the food and beverage business.
What's been the biggest hurdle you've faced in your career so far and how did you overcome it?
I would have to say my biggest hurdle has been taking credit for all the work behind KOI. None of this would be possible without my mum and brothers.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Don't rush things.
What's your true passion?
Cooking really is my true passion. It’s an incredible feeling to wake up every day and get to do what you love. But if I had to say something other than cooking, it'd be fitness.
What's your favourite workout?
I don't have a favourite workout, but I do have a favourite exercise: The dead-lift.
What's the first thing you do in the morning, and last thing you do before bed?
I always start my mornings with a double shot latte and enjoy a light snack before bed.
How do you handle criticism?
Sometimes I take it too much to heart, but it pushes me to work harder.
How do you manage stress?
For the past year, I've done Muay Thai consistently, so it does help a lot to keep the pressure off. (Even though I get my ass kicked every now and then during sparring.)