Fusing Flavors with Hennessy V.S.O.P

Chef Reynold Poernomo shares his unique insight into elevating Indonesian flavors through meal pairing with Hennessy V.S.O.P

Things are heating up at Chef Reynold Poernomo’s kitchen. Not too long ago, he announced on his Instagram account that he’s collaborating with Hennessy—particularly for the Hennessy V.S.O.P—in bringing his Indonesian heritage to life. The collaboration will naturally center around the idea of meal pairings using the famed cognac with Indonesian dishes.

“My personal goal is to share not just my story but to show that Hennessy V.S.O.P is a versatile drink that can be paired with a fragrant and spicy cuisine like Indonesian,” explains Chef Poernomo. “Sure, typically it goes well with desserts or French cuisine, but why not explore further? I want people to break the rules and try new things.”

For this collaboration, Chef Poernomo has created several contemporary interpretations of popular Indonesian dishes—namely Ayam Gulai and Roasted Pumpkin Rendang—to showcase just how versatile Hennessy V.S.O.P can be. “Partnering with Hennessy V.S.O.P is an incredible opportunity to showcase that even drinks like cognac, being so sophisticated, can also be quite versatile,” Poernomo points out. “The tasting notes from what I can gather is that it has a sweetness to it like vanilla and earthy tones from the oak, but also lingers with a touch of citrus and spices. It has layers of flavors, almost like an experience or a journey.”

More importantly for us, however, Chef Poernomo has also prepared an array of his own tips for those who want to try elevate various dishes with Hennessy V.S.O.P at home. “First of all, it’s not as difficult as you think. If you have a keen nose and palate—even if it’s not what others around you think it is—go note down what you think it reminds you of, and work a dish around those flavor profiles to become flavor pairings,” he elaborates. “After that, try to know the cognac and get to know your palate, use your senses of smell and taste to break down the flavors of the cognac. Pairing a meal with cognac or any beverage isn’t about replicating the flavor notes into a dish, it’s about what flavors will go well with it. An example would be, if you were to taste cinnamon and cloves, I would pair it with a dish that has apples or pears in it.”

Furthermore, Poernomo also notes that gamey meats like duck or earthy flavors that have hints of caramel will also pair well with Hennessy V.S.O.P. “Even rich and fattier meats like wagyu or pork will go well. Otherwise for vegetarians or vegans, exotic mushrooms like Shiitake and King Brown would pair perfectly,” he explains further.

That last tip, interestingly, loops back to Poernomo’s original observation about how the famed cognac is more than versatile enough to become an accompaniment for a wide range of culinary delicacies. Wondering what delicious pairing you can do at home? Hennessy V.S.O.P is available here, so go try for yourself.