One of Southeast Asia’s leading culinary celebrations, the Ubud Food Festival (UFF), returns to Ubud from June 30 to 3 July. Over three action-packed days, our chefs will dish up their cutting-edge innovations and time-honored, well-tuned flavors while our food experts shine a light on the latest food technology, sustainable practices, and methods for soil conservation.
The program includes thought-provoking panel discussions, immersive masterclasses, workshops, food tours, long table lunches, dinners, jungle foraging, walking tours, and cocktail parties. At night you can unwind at the Festival hub while experiencing Bali’s best pop-up food stalls, film screenings, live music, and DJs.
The festival’s theme, ‘Soil’ (Tanah), is the foundation for a series of discussions honoring this most important living ecosystem that sustains our lives and connects us with our food systems, our heritage, and our traditions.
“As a source of life, soil always provides and this year we want to honour its fundamental importance. The land is a wise and spiritual mother that we often forget and while it continues to nourish us, it must also be protected.” said UFF Founder and Director, Janet DeNeefe.
Joining the festival is Filipino talent, Johanne Siy, named 2023 Asia’s Best Female Chef by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. Siy has worked in the world’s finest kitchens and heads Singapore’s award-winning Lolla. At Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, she will present her Asian inspired modern European cuisine with Filipino flavours.
Indonesian chef and cookbook author Petty Pandean-Elliott, known for her Manadonese cuisine and vibrant contemporary Indonesian flavours, will launch her new cookbook, The Indonesian Table, and present an ongoing feast at Amandari, Ubud’s iconic hotel.
The theme of my event is The Balinese Table, developed from my new book, The Indonesian Table, published by Phaidon in April this year, and of course, we will be featuring a number of recipes from the book,” said Petty Elliott.
“While I am Manadonese from North Sulawesi, I feel a deep connection and affinity with Balinese ingredients and dishes. Balinese and Manadonese food have so much in common with their use of ginger, galangal, turmeric, as well as, lemongrass, lime leaves, coconut, and of course, chilies. From my many visits to Bali in the last three decades, I have gained great respect for the local culture and consider myself fortunate to have made and kept good connections with leading Balinese chefs and food campaigners,” she added.
LG Han, chef, listed No.11 on 2023 Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and owner of award-winning three times Michelin-starred Labyrinth, is a Singaporean star chef joining UFF with a special event at Capella Ubud that will celebrate Bali’s local ingredients.
“I’m thrilled to be able to visit Ubud again; the place always has a special place in my heart, I’ve visited Ubud four or five times and I’m always impressed by its [food] produce and its culture. For me to be able to use local produce from Ubud to showcase Singaporean flavors for the first time is something really exciting. I want to use this opportunity to endorse Singaporean flavors for everyone to enjoy,” LG Han said.
Local chef, Hans Christian, from Jakarta’s August, recently awarded One To Watch by Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants will dazzle with his signature dishes at Mozaic and Filipino chefs Ross Magnaye from Serai, named Time Out Melbourne’s 2022 Restaurant of the Year, and Thirdy Dolatre and Nav Navoa of Manila’s HAPAG will present an exciting modern Filipino event at Indus. Syrco Bakker will be joining the festival fresh from Amsterdam, presenting his own brand of Indonesian classics.
Italian-born food scientist, Gabriele Castagnetti, will share insights about his kenari Maluku almond project, Nth Wonder gelato by FairFlavor, discussing his mission to promote plant-based products and assist farmers in Eastern Indonesia.
Among our heritage food presenters Dicky Senda from the Lakoat.Kujawas community in the Taiftob village, Mollo, Timor, who has developed an integrated community library, archives on local wisdom, a food laboratory, and a recipe book, will feature Mollo food in a long table lunch at Casa Luna, alongside Charles Toto, Jungle Chef, from Papua.
On the farming front, A.A.Gede Agung Wedhatama from Bali, leads the discussion on organic farming and soil conservation, while Tempe Movement’s Amadeus Driando shares his profound knowledge about tempe fermentation and food security.
And then there is Rahel Stephanie, the founder of Spoons—an Indonesian plant-based supper club in 2019, which organizes various sold-out events. She also focuses on cooking authentic Indonesian cuisine.
Stephanie said that in this year’s UFF, she would showcase the depth and complexity of flavors in Indonesian plant-based cuisine.
“I will highlight how plant-based cooking can be both satisfying and delicious. Through my practice, I aim at dispelling the misconception that plant-based foods lack in flavour, therefore having a less satisfying taste compared to other diet types. [My session will] showcase how a creative use of Indonesian spices and plant-based ingredients can result in truly delicious and fulfilling meals,” Stephanie said.
She added that she would also like to clarify the misrepresentation of the nutritional contents tempe – a world-famous Indonesian dish – in the international market during her appearance at the UFF. “In the west, the tempe is marketed as a superfood [high in nutrition] and meat substitute. Its humble ancient Javanese roots are far from this: it was eaten as a cheap source of protein by those who were not able to afford to buy meat.”