Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Chef Siska Silitonga has been profiled in Bon Appetit Magazine and CNN for her Californian adaptations of Indonesian cuisine. As a child in Jakarta, Siska began her culinary journey as an assistant to her mother and mentor, a professional chef. In 2005, Siska moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since her arrival she has used both her talents and passion to not only raise awareness, but also appreciation and understanding, of Indonesian food and culture throughout the Bay Area as well as the culinary world.
Siska launched her professional culinary career through pop-up dinners and private events in the Bay Area. In 2019, Siska ran ChiliCali, an Indonesian food truck for Off the Grid at Google’s headquarters, testing her concept for modern Indonesian cuisine. Through Off the Grid, Siska fed over 300 Google staff members daily, allowing her the opportunity to further refine her Californian interpretations of her native cuisine. In an effort to bring the flavors of Indonesia to home cooks and Indonesian food enthusiasts worldwide, Siska developed a line of Indonesian cooking condiments under her ChiliCali brand. Her jarred sambal hot sauce was awarded the coveted Good Food award in that same year.
As a chef who is honored by her Indonesian heritage, Siska has spent years developing recipes, cooking, pickling, jarring and proudly producing anything that helps her to maintain her roots to her native Indonesia.
In 2021, Siska opened Warung Siska, in Redwood City, California with partners Ervan Lim and Anne Le Ziblatt. The vision for Warung Siska was inspired by Indonesia’s culture of “warung” restaurants. In Indonesia, these eateries are small, family-run roadside operations, offering a wide range of home cooked dishes at reasonable prices. Warung Siska features Siska’s Californian interpretations of her childhood favorites, set in a modern yet casually elegant setting.
In addition to her professional culinary ventures, Siska has taken an active, albeit informal, role as both a culinary and cultural ambassador of Indonesia.