The latest edition of Jakarta Culinary Feastival (JCF) attracted more than 70,000 foodies in a four-day event in early November at Senayan City. Since the event was first held in 2009, the festival has matured over the years and served as a platform to promote local brands. It has also helped find Indonesia’s future talents though its Chef Hunt competition.

the winner of the first Chef Hunt  at Jakarta Culinary Feastival, Hari Fauzan had to make a dish using mystery ingreditent during competition. Photo by Raditya Fadilla, JCF/NOWJAKARTA

Organised by the Ismaya Group, a total of 72 tenants were spread out in two locations, tents aptly named “Fork” and “Spoon” that featured different zones such as Restaurant Area, and Main Bar, Coffee Room, Dessert Garden, Market Place, and GO-FOOD Festival. Indeed, it covered all industry specialties showing strong support for local creative personalities and business players who promoted their products that give a fresh perspective to the local food and beverage scene. Foodies also had the chance to savour and experience a wide variety of culinary delights.

During this year’s festival, JCF promoted the learning experience by organising a knowledge- sharing event. Senior Chef Sisca Soewitomo, who joined the opening, started the festival with her cooking demo by encouraging the audience to cook and experiment. She stated that cooking was easy and fun and an activity that could help deliver a sense of community and togetherness. It was followed by a  number of coffee workshops, cocktail classes, pastry classes, kids’ cooking classes and talk shows, including a special Chef’s Table Experience.

Culinary Star Sisca Soewitomo during cooking demo at 2018 Jakarta Culinary Feastival.
Indonesia top Chef Ragil Imam Wibowo took the stage at 2018 Jakarta Culinary Feastival.

Local and international culinary stars and experts participated and shared their stories. Renowned Indonesian mixologist Agung Prabowo,who is now based in Hong Kong, was at the event for a special cocktail presentation. Harison Chandra, the coffee master who has contributed many homegrown coffee innovation hosted a comprehensive masterclass session on coffee culture in Indonesia. MasterChef Australia 2017 runner-up Ben Ungermann collaborated with Chef Revo and Chef Thitid “Ton” Tassanakajoh to share their collective experience and to motivate the next generation of Indonesian chefs.

Meanwhile, Chef Chris Salans from Bali’s Mozaic Restaurant, took the stage and talked about modern Indonesian Cuisine, Casual vs Fine Dining;  Chef Ragil Imam Wibowo joined the presentation about Indonesian gastronomy today. Following the trend of healthy eating, JCF 2018 promoted food sustainability and a positive lifestyle through food, via a session with with Talita Setyadi,  Ratna Kartadjoemena and other experts.

Experiencing culinary activities.
Food photography become a new thing in the culture of social media.

JCF 2018 also hosted the Chef Hunt competition to find Indonesia’s future talents. After passing a series of tests, Hari Fauzan was named as the winner of the first Chef Hunt competition, beating his competitor Saphira Evani. At the Grand Final round, Fauzan and Evani were challenged to make a dish using ingredients from a box of ‘mystery ingredients’.

Judges Chef Odie Djamil and Hamish Lindsay awarded him the prize, a partial scholarship from Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Australia to develop his skills. This is slated to be an annual event, going forward, to help choose young talents who dream of being a chef.

Rintang Azhar

Rintang Azhar

Rintang is a previous staff writer for NOW! with experience in hard news and lifestyle journalism. He specialises in art, design, culture, fashion, environmental, and urban issues.