Dear fellow tasters,
Once every two years, Jakarta celebrates a month of good food, good drinks and good fun packaged by Ismaya Group in a Jakarta Culinary Festival also known as JCF. This year’s JCF was held from 4th to 31st October 2012 and although it has ended more than a month ago, I am going to share some of the highlights that I personally experienced throughout the festivities.
1. Will & Will – William Wongso & Will Meyrick Wine Accompaniment Dinner
2. The Grand Opening Expo Booths
The 4 days JCF 2012 Grand Opening Expo featured many booths from Jakartan restaurants, hotels and F&B suppliers. My favorite booth was Amuz Gourmet that served up free tasting sampler of serrano ham and smoked salmon with crostini, as well as delectable mignardises. I also loved visiting the Lickerish Delish booth with all those scrumptious gelato flavors: baileys, rum raisin, ferrero, cheese cake and many more. Other booths I checked out were Anatolia/Maroush restaurants with their lamb shawarma and William Wongso Series with the delicious beef rendang.
3. Schott Zwiesel & Dimatique Wine Lounge
During the Grand Opening Expo, Schott Zwiesel and Dimatique opened up this special wine lounge hosting wine classes and tastings with Indonesia’s own wine master Yohan Handoyo and an array of beautiful wines from across the globe. I had a major dose of the Cape Discovery wines which uses Margaret River grapes but fermented in a winery in Singaraja, Bali. I loved this part of the Expo, firstly because of the free flow wine, but moreover because of the wine knowledge that I could learn here. It was also a less crowded place compared to the other areas.
4. Rotaryana Celebrity Theatre and Culinary Stars Stage
For JCF 2012 Grand Opening Expo, two cooking stages were set up for cooking demonstrations by both international and Indonesia’s culinary talents. It was a wonderful experience seeing Chef Will Meyrick (Sarong and Mama San) and Chef Chris Salans (Mozaic Group) create their signature dishes. I even got to taste samplers of the cooking results: tuna tartar, pomelo salad, and Penang beef curry by Chef Will; kecombrang (ginger flower) sorbet, ginger flower soup, grilled watermelon and truffle, and tempe truffle crumble with wagyu beef by Chef Chris. Nevertheless, the best cooking demo for me was definitely the one by Indonesia’s culinary legend, Om William Wongso and Chef Andrian Ishak (Namaaz Dining). Both cooked up their own version of a North Sumatran fish dish of arsik ikan, Om Will with his traditional home-cooking style while Chef Andrian with his molecular gastronomy style, using unique ingredients such as the tongue-numbing andaliman peppers, kecombrang (ginger flower) and asam cekala (torch ginger fruit).
5. Indonesian Pavilion Cheap Eats
I suppose Indonesian cuisines were not forgotten in JCF 2012 with the Indonesian Pavilion Cheap Eats area where Jakartan best street foods and local delicacies are gathered in one place. I had a try of the sate padang (Padang style beef satay) Ajo Ramon, delicious Balinese rice set, and tasty Toraja rice set with black pork and super spicy ground katokkon chili.
6. Posing with Culinary Stars
This year’s JCF provided the perfect opportunity for taking a picture or two with international and Indonesia’s culinary stars and I had some photos taken which you can see in the gallery *grin*.
7. ‘Eat, Drink & Donate’ Charity Dinner
Jakarta Culinary Festival was closed by the ‘Eat, Drink & Donate’ Charity Dinner featuring 7 of Indonesia’s best chefs each presenting their signature dish. Read the details on the dinner here.
Done with highlights, come the lowlights. There are just a couple of things I would like to mention here.
The first was a terrible and somehow shameful JCF experience for me. On the second day of the festival, I intended to buy a 3-day pass, priced at 50k rupiahs as opposed to daily pass at 20k. I also wanted to use my BCA platinum credit card to get the privilege of pay one for two because I have a friend coming to the festival later. So, I went up to the ticket booth and guess what. The rude and ignorant ticket lady, who I presumed did not even pass her primary school math subject, tried to charge me 150k on my credit card. After a heated argument and my almost exploding in front of the ticket booth, I finally got my 3-day pass for 50k. The ‘good’ news was that on the last day, the entrance was free *sigh*.
The second was about the execution of the dinners that I was invited to. On the night of Will & Will dinner, when most guests were already seated in their tables, I was left standing waiting near the Pop Up Restaurant entrance by the JCF people. If it weren’t for Rian Farisa (Gastronomy Aficionado) and Jed Doble, Will Meyrick’s publisher, I probably would be standing there all night long! Furthermore, in Will & Will’s menu book, there were 24 items to be served and there were only 20 items that managed to appear on my table. Also, in the closing charity dinner, the granita and sorbet palate cleanser which were supposed to be served before the meat dish didn’t show up until dessert time.
Well, I do apologize for all the ranting here but I sincerely hope that the next Jakarta Culinary Festival will be much better and improved. Despite the lowlights, I deemed JCF 2012 quite a success and I absolutely enjoyed my version of its highlights.
See you in Jakarta Culinary Festival 2014!Jakarta Culinary Festival