At a time when the 2018 Ubud Food Festival organisers, guests and fan folk have slipped into the game over food coma, stories sizzle about the events presented at this year’s gourmand fest.
The uber chic Amandari Ubud luxury hideaway staged an elegant dining affair that explored the culinary delights of the archipelago under the kitchen magic of Indonesian gastronomy icon Petty Elliot, Aman’s regional executive chef Shane Lewis and chef Syamsul Rizal from the beautiful new Amanjiwo in Java.
Once the stylish tone was set with champagne at sunset in the Amandari bar watching dusk descent on the Ayung Valley there was no going back on the bar set. The open air restaurant became the stage for five courses crafted from the best ingredients that Indonesia has to offer. This is no small thing given the wild diversity of the 17,000+ islands of the nation. Each dish was carefully paired with wines from France, Italy, Chile and Argentina.
Petty Elliot produced a lusciously spiced Mandadonese chicken with avocado salsa while Australian Shane Lewis delivered his signature Aman Babi – a delicately spiced cold smoked suckling pig with crunchy crackling served with sambal and fern tips. The famously self-taught Petty Elliot showcased her significant skills with an upscale version of the poplar dessert dish Kolak using smoked pineapple, caramelized banana and a deeply aromatic coconut ice cream. It was dusted with pandan power, drizzled with palm sugar syrup and finished with roasted cashews. Bliss.
It’s little wonder that some of Bali’s leading chefs, including Cuca Flavour’s Kevin Cherkas opted to stay at the divine valley resort for the entire run of South East Asia’s most important food festival.
As the UFF grows so does it’s reach and repertoire with talks on food driven start ups, lectures on documenting and preserving Indonesian ingredients and cooking techniques, film screenings, master classes, food tastings and cooking demonstrations, kid’s cooking events, panel discussions with industry leaders from writing cook books to farming and how to manage the local dependency on rice.
Indonesia’s craft beer of choice, Stark, smashed through bottles of its best brews selling thousands upon thousands of the tasty beer, while The Coffeenatics stand ripped through 20 kilos of coffee beans and more than 100 litres of milk to ensure festival fans got their daily caffeine hit.
Cooking collaborations with sell-out dining experiences at stunning jungle destinations – or down home locations that flaunt the likes of Michelin starred chef Rishi Naleendra and Ben Cross smoking ducks in a metal drum – were among the star attractions.