Indonesian Chefs, Produce In the Spotlight at UFF 2017


From the moment the gates opened to the final mouthful, the third annual Ubud Food Festival (UFF) was enjoyed by thousands of people, including the FoodieS team.

UFF’s played house to more than 100 events and more than 9,000 discerning foodies from May 12 to 14 at its colorful multi-venue space set against the backdrop of Ubud’s iconic Campuhan Ridge.

The incredible diversity of Indonesia’s cuisines, outstanding Indonesian chefs and entrepreneurs, and the bright future of the nation’s culinary industry took center stage.

At the Festival Hub and in venues around Ubud and the island, over 100 speakers from across the archipelago and the Southeast Asian region plated up hundreds of different dishes, and delved deep into the region’s – and the world’s – food landscape.

In what will become a permanent fixture for UFF, the all-Indonesian free cooking demonstration stage Teater Kuliner attracted standing- room-only audiences at almost every session. Its popularity encapsulates the festival’s mission of showcasing Indonesia’s diverse cuisines, brilliant chefs and extraordinary local produce.


Indonesian heroes and rising stars delighted fans with contemporary interpretations of much-loved classics. Urban culinary artisan Fernando “Nando” Sindu showcased karedok, which is Sundanese raw vegetables in a chunky baby galangal and peanut sauce, and lontong sayur, a rice cake dish with veggies in a light curry broth. To elevate the dishes, Nando put cashews instead peanut in the karedok and used prawn and zucchini for the lontong sayur.

Charles Toto, the jungle chef from Papua, challenged his eager audience to try live sago worms foraged from the Papuan highlands, and sample a slice of sago pizza.


Indonesian chefs were also in the spotlight at the Kitchen Stage. Petty Elliot tantalized foodies with sweet teeth with her perfect coconut pudding, as did self-taught TV supercook Bara Pattiradjawane with wingko babat, a traditional Javanese cake.

International chefs treated audiences to fresh Southeast Asian flavors featuring Bali’s bounty of local produce, such as Chele González’s Filipino-style squid, and Tasia and Gracia Seger’s childhood favorite, fried fish with green papaya salad.


Chele told a story about searching for the deepest roots of Philippine cuisine, including a search for herbs that only certain tribes know about, the purple colored yam, the seeds of giant cucumbers, and a playful dish inspired by Philippine street foods.

With panels on sustainable regenerative agriculture, local and global ecological challenges and food trends and media, the festival’s free Think, Talk, Taste series generated serious discussions.


Community-driven solutions to environmental problems, and the crucial need to support producers to become ‘farmerpreneurs’ were canvased, while panelists often emphasized consumers’ responsibility to create change.

“The power is with the consumer. The consumer drives the market. If you want seafood to be sustainable, you must be the one to demand it,” said Fair Trade Manager of Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia Foundation, Yasmine Simbolon, in her panel session on supporting sustainable seafood.


The panelists also discussed how real foodies were living in an era where food business and creation are racing to present the audience with their best dishes. Jed Doble, Tzu-I Chuang Mullinax, and Fadly Rahman shared their knowledge about how to understand food more deeply and how to present food in various medias.

Creating new linkages between local chefs and those from across Southeast Asia, UFF’s Special Events featured dynamic collaborations at some of Bali’s top venues. The Locavore team plated up alongside Chele González to celebrate Indonesia and the Philippines’ food scenes; Nando Sindu and Erwan Wijaya created contemporary Indonesian cuisine; and The Night Rooster’s Raka Ambarawan introduced mixologists to Indonesia’s rare exotic fruits.


“Our mission goes much deeper than sharing Indonesian food – we’re putting the spotlight on the archipelago’s talented and hardworking chefs, cooks, farmers, entrepreneurs, food writers, photographers and restaurateurs,” shared UFF founder and director Janet DeNeefe.

Twitter: @ubudfoodfest
Instagram: @ubudfoodfest

Written by FoodieS Photographs by Yosua Yanuard July 11, 2017.