SanDai: Chef-driven, ingredient-driven, celebrating seasonal and local produce. Contemporary.
Traditionally inspired from dishes, ingredients & techniques spanning the Malay archipelago, especially Singapore & Indonesia. Regionally created from Northern California’s palette of producers, produce, and presentation. Essentially: expressing these tropical, cosmopolitan island flavor profiles through the abundance of what thrives in Northern California’s Mediterranean climate and terrain.
Nusantara cuisines could be characterized as intense, rich, spiced (more than spicy). Steeped in time and layers of complexity, both in the kitchen and in the long history of diverse peoples in this part of the world. Chef Nora draws from this wealth of culinary knowledge, plus contrasting Northern Californian influences, which some could say to be the polar opposite: that deconstructed-composed, whole-ingredients-laid-bare simplicity, the lightness that has evolved in California eating through the few decades of this relatively young place. Another way to put it, traditional in flavors, contemporary presentation.
Chef Nora Haron was born and raised in Singapore, and is of Indonesian-Indian descent. Both Chef Nora’s Javanese mother and grandmother are the biggest influences in shaping her culinary point of view today. Her grandfather’s family on her mother’s side was from the Kerala state in South India and her grandmother’s family was from West Java, Indonesia. Her father’s side of the family are of mainly Indonesian background, with some South Asian background as well.
Chef Nora’s passion for diverse-influences cooking ignited while helping her mom prep meals in their Singaporean home and tasting her way through the enticing neighborhood ristorantes of Lucca, Italy. Upon returning to California, Haron attended the San Francisco Baking Institute. Burnishing her skill set, most recently as Head Kitchen Manager and Culinary Operations Manager for Blue Bottle Coffee, and previously, Director of Food Operations for Farley’s, as well as Executive Chef at Monkey Forest Road and Crema.
Advocating for super-local, sustainable, organic, and exotic ingredients, Haron is a vanguard in the kitchen and a revered baker of artisanal, house-made breads and pastries. She was Executive Chef at Drip Line Oakland, a café and gathering place in the heart of West Oakland, and recently Executive Chef and Partner at Local Kitchen in SoMa SF, Rincon Hill.
Chef Nora was the Founder and Executive Chef of the popular Pandemic Pop Up IndoMex, in Oakland, CA.
Chef Nora is currently the Director of Culinary for Killiney Kopitiam, USA and Executive Chef of SanDai Restaurant + Kopi Bar.