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BIKO Chefs Ventured To Ubud Food Festival 2024

BIKO Chefs Ventured To Ubud Food Festival 2024

31 May 2024 / Writer: Debora Yuza | Co-editors: Stefany Chandra & Sabilla Salsabilla
In this year's Ubud Food Festival, BIKO talented chefs Rui Yamagishi (chef-owner of Acta Brasserie & Fūjin Izakaya) and Freddie Salim (chef-owner of Silk Bistro) were set to showcase their know-how in the three-day event. Debora Yuza from BIKO Marketing Division also went as their liaison and wrote down a travel journal. We thought it'd be nice to share her personal observation with an avid reader like you.

Day of Arrival (Thursday, 30 May) — Cooking Up a Storm

I joined Rui at Rayjin Ubud the first thing, where he was already knee-deep in preparation for the event. Despite a minor mishap—getting stabbed by a fish fin—he managed to check all the prep list, one of which was securing a beautiful red snapper. Meanwhile, Freddie attended the Press Call at Indus Restaurant along with the Ubud Food Festival (UFF) founders and media. They met up later that night for the Gala Opening, sampling local flavors and mingling with both familiar and new faces of the industry.

I thought being a chef is all about tackling the kitchen, but tonight I was proven wrong. Creating genuine connections and contributing in the community are also part of it. On today's observation, I've learned that being a chef is more than serving a dish on a plate. It's to serve your heart and soul too.

Day 1 (Friday, 31 May) — The Night of Japanese Flare

Big night for Rui! Together with Chef Yuda Permana from Yuki Bali, the duo created an exquisite 8-course dinner at Rayjin Ubud. Tables were fully booked, meaning I was not the only one anticipating this collab, and it did not disappoint. Rui's passion for seafood was shown through his Bincho-kissed Hamachi and Market Fish with Tomato & Wakame Sauce. Sometimes I forget that he was born and raised here in Bali, near the sea and the goodness that comes with it. Tonight's dishes reminded me of that.

This is his forte. This is the taste of his hometown.

Day 2 (Saturday, 1 June) — Rui's Demo & Freddie's 10-hand Dinner

Today, together with some friends from Rayjin, Rui demonstrated how to make his special Market Fish with Tomato & Wakame Sauce at Taman Kuliner. It was not only splendid in taste, but also turned out to be a well-thought-out dish using a minimum-waste cooking approach, turning humble tomatoes into three different components. Being his first-ever live cooking demo, Rui mentioned that this experience unlocked a new core memory for him, one that he'll always cherish and honor.

Meanwhile, Freddie was ready to delight diners later that night at Nusantara by Locavore with a 10-hand collaboration with Narendra Archie Prameswara, Ryan Thejasukmana, Putu Dodik Sumarjana and Lisa Sibagariang. The theme for this communal feast was pulang kampung, featuring beloved Indonesian dishes that were chef's childhood favorites, like Tahu Kipas and Ayam Goreng Telur. I got the front-row seat to witness each chef's story: what they liked about it, what they were reminded of when tasting it again and again.

Like jumping into a time machine, the session transported each one of us to the memories of our best days. As I engaged in the lively conversations that night, I wondered why my heart felt so warm. Was it the food? Was it the people? I went back carrying that warm feeling.

Day 3 (Sunday, 2 June) — The Mind of The (Young) Chefs

Today was the last day of the event. Freddie wrapped up with a panel discussion alongside Ryan Thejasukmana, Dick Derian and Narendra Archie Prameswara, sharing insights on the culinary industry's highs and lows. He highlighted being disciplined, approachable and putting in the work as his magic formula for achieving self-fulfillment as a chef. Despite the long hours and sacrifices, there's optimism for a more stable and nurturing future in the field. The panel ended on a high note and BIKO team was ready to go back home, bringing every piece of UFF experience to share with the rest of the team.

Watching Rui and Freddie thrive in this environment was incredibly inspiring. Both admitted that joining this beautiful event reassured them of why they fell in love with cooking in the first place: it's the joy of sharing it with others. As for me, I was humbled. Meeting those with shared interests reminded me that there's no full stop in the hospitality industry. You'll keep learning and meeting people whose works and dedication inspire you, keeping your fire burning. I guess I already knew it, but this time even more sure than before: I am here for the long run.

Bali, 2024


Photos are courtesy of Made Wisuda, Prema Ananda and Balik Bali Photography.