Janet de Neefe has done it again. The founder of Ubud’s very popular Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) is now instigating Bali’s first Food Festival. A devil for punishment, Janet sees festivals as the way to keep interest burning in a destination and to promote it to a great audience.
Early June, from the 5th until the 7th, will see Ubud come alive with “a three day culinary adventure,” which will include food seminars, cooking demonstrations, specially hosted feasts at various venues around town and a luscious night market or pasarmalam which promises to be filled with delicious surprises…
Janet sees the Festival as a way to promote Indonesian food, far beyond the usual “nasigoreng” or even “babiguling”. Food featured will range from Sumatra to Ambon which will highlight regional differences, with a wide range of textures, spicing and flavours. She waxes lyrical about the famous TV Star Chef from Ambon in Maluku, Bara Pattiradjawane, who is famous for his specialty family savoury sago fish porridge – AmbonesePapeda and the traditional accompaniment of IkanKuahKuning – (turmeric braised fish with almonds) – something we obviously need to taste before we go wild about it! As a judge for Junior Masterchef Indonesia, he obviously knows his food!
Western superchefs based in Bali such as the very well known Will Meyrick of Sarong, Mamasan and now, Hujan Locale fame, ElkePlasmeijer of Locavore fame, Penny Williams of Bali Asli and Will Goldfarb of Room for Dessert as well as the Godfather of fancy food (sorry fine dining) in Ubud – Chris Salaans of Mozaic, will all be contributing with workshops and cooking demos and lots of fine food and words. In addition, the team from Alchemy, Slow Food, Pod Chocolate, food bloggers will all be here!
Destined to become a popular annual event, the festival will spread over three days. It will be a celebration of food, especially Indonesian food though several celebrated foreign chefs will be coming to the party, adding their own ingredients and coming up with some western specialities as well. Ryan Clift of Singapore’s Tippling Club is just one of these VIP visitors, who will be present at a soiree at the gorgeous Bridges, by Campuhan. Dave Pynt from Singapore’s Burnt Ends who brings barbeque to a whole new level will also be cooking up a storm with the irresistible sounding Bourbon Glazed pork Tomahawk. Yum! Cannot wait to try!
While the festival is basically a celebration of food, there are plenty of other learning opportunities, focusing on issues like seed sovereignity and food as medicine, food blogging, food photography (often using an iphone). Films and workshops wil play an integral part in the festival which promises to be well rounded, stimulating, enlivening and delicious! The way the festival is formatted, Janet hopes to interest both hard core foodies and those with a more intellectual interest!
Text By Ayu Sekar