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Tomorrow, more than 100 chefs, culinary icons, restaurateurs, environmental advocates and social innovators will descend on the Ubud Food Festival (UFF) for three days of high-energy cooking demonstrations, competitions, collaborations and in-depth discussions.

With over 100 events at the Festival Hub and across Ubud and Bali, from long-table lunches and degustation dinners from the hands of the region’s most celebrated chefs, to forum topics ranging from regenerative agriculture and sustainable fisheries to Indonesian superfoods and culinary heritage, UFF is packed with both phenomenal food and food for thought.

At UFF17 audiences will experience the groundbreaking cuisine of husband and wife duo Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones of Bangkok’s Bo.lan (no. 19 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 list) when they commandeer the kitchen of Will Meyrick’s Hujan Locale – one of the first of many Special Events to sell out. They’ll reveal what built Bo.lan’s reputation as one of Bangkok’s most respected restaurants at the Kitchen Stage, and speak on health and the reality of working in top-rated restaurants at Think, Talk, Taste sessions. (ST had the pleasure of dining from the talents of these celebrated chefs last night at Mamasan and let me assure you this Thai dining experience is not to be missed.)

Chele González of Gallery VASK (the Philippines’ sole Asia50Best entrant at no. 35) will introduce audiences to his ‘anthropological cuisine’ at the Kitchen Stage, and join Locavore’s Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah for a collaborative dinner evoking the island soul of the world’s two greatest archipelagic nations.

After it skyrocketed from no. 49 to 22 on the Asia50Best list, the buzz surrounding Ubud’s Locavore is unavoidable. Though both their Special Events – the collaboration with González and a degustation lunch exploring Indonesia’s forgotten flavors alongside Slow Food Bali – sold out quickly, audiences can still catch the Locavore team in action across the Festival at the Kitchen Stage, the new stage Teater Kuliner, and at a mixology Masterclass.

At the center of it all is the star of Ubud Food Festival – Indonesian food. With 6,000 of its 17,500 islands inhabited, it’s a fact celebrated and tasted across the Festival that Indonesian cuisines are as diverse as the archipelago itself.

Audiences can sample the fiery cuisine of North Sulawesi from the hands of pioneering self-taught chef Petty Elliott; try a slice of sago pizza prepared by Charles Toto, the Jungle Chef from Papau; delight in classic dishes with the Queen of Indonesian Cuisine and author of 100+ cookbooks Ibu Sisca Soewitomo; discover Indonesia’s vast array of fermented foods with Ragil Imam Wibowo; and how to prepare jackfruit with Bali’s raw food specialists Made Janur and Made Runatha.

 

Showcasing the best of traditional and contemporary Indonesian cuisine and shining a spotlight on the nation’s booming food and beverage industry, UFF offers dozens of opportunities to learn from leading chefs, entrepreneurs and key industry members at its food forums and Masterclasses.

Chef owners of multiple Jakarta dining hotspots Karen Carlotta and Adhika Maxi will retrace their steps to success alongside Ayu Utami Linggih, the woman behind Indonesia’s finest artisanal cheese; UFF’s Founder & Director Janet DeNeefe will draw on her 30+ years in Bali to share insights on the island’s bountiful natural remedies; and culinary storytellers and social media mavericks Ade Putri Paramadita and Dade Akbar will reveal their top social media marketing tips.

It wouldn’t be a food festival without some fierce competition. At the Cocktail Shakedown, representatives from three of Ubud’s top mixologists will shake, stir, squeeze and pour their way to cocktail kudos. At the Sambal Smackdown World Title, audiences can decide whose sambal reigns supreme when reigning champion, Bali’s Made Sujaya, will be pitted against Jogjakarta’s Jon Priadi and international chefs Penelope Williams and Reynaldo deLuna II.

“Unlike Thailand’s pad thai or Vietnam’s phở, there isn’t Indonesian dish at the forefront of its culinary offerings. Our cuisines and cultures are too many and too diverse to decide on just one,” commented DeNeefe. “Perhaps the only food that could represent the nation is sambal! Despite this, Indonesia’s global culinary status is rising, and everyone at this year’s Ubud Food Festival is testament to that.

“From the hard-working farmers and growers to our much-loved culinary icons, from the mothers and fathers sharing treasured family recipes with their children to the rising stars plating up world class dishes, our Festival celebrates them all.”

Read all about this weekend’s Ubud Food Festival here….

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