Unless you’re a chef, or maybe married to one, it isn’t often food alone that dictates your holiday destination. However, the rising gourmand culture around the world, especially in Indonesia, seriously begs the question, “but why not?”. From 14 to 16 October, The Ultimate Foodies Getaway (UFG) completed its debut experience in Bali, bringing two lucky winners around the island of the gods on an extensive, 3-day culinary adventure they will never forget.
The winners of this epic experience were chosen through a month-long photography campaign; from 1 September to 1 October, over 600 food photos were submitted to the UFG website, with huge enthusiasm coming from Jakartans. Food stylist and writer Natasha Victoria Lucas, through her tantalizing photograph of pancakes, won one slot on UFG through a panel of judges. Nashrullah Taufik won the public vote, garnering 3,672 votes for his juicy burger photograph online.
The two Jakarta-based winners, each bringing a friend, were flown over on Garuda on Friday, 14 October, to start a weekend of food-focused adventure. The UFG team, media, sponsors, partners and the winners gathered at Breeze, the beachfront restaurant of the Samaya Seminyak Resort, along with Celebrity Chef Marinka and popular bloggers Anakjajan. With a glass of Moët & Chandon in hand and the Bali sunset as the perfect backdrop, Natasha and Nashrulla received a warm welcome to kick off their weekend experience.
It was straight in for the foodies and their guests, as that same night all embarked on their Seminyak-based Bali Food Safari - a mystery dining tour that brings guests to hand-selected restaurants, known for their quality and originality, to experience tasters of the menu at each venue. The Ultimate Foodie Getaway is centred around the Bali Food Safari experience that showcases the best dining spots in Seminyak, Ubud and Jimbaran.
On Day 2, the foodies, Chef Marinka and Anakjajan headed north to the jungles, settling in the serene Kayumanis Ubud, Private Villas and Spa. It was the perfect setting to indulge in some culture, as the participants delved into the process of making ‘jamu’ (a traditional Indonesian herbal remedy) and ‘sambal’ (Indonesian chilli sauce). That evening, the group embarked on yet another Bali Food Safari, discovering the delectable bites of four noteworthy Ubud restaurants.
Day 3 brought more surprises as the band of epicureans headed south again to the fishing village of Jimbaran. The first stop was Opia, a brand-new restaurant overlooking the Jimbaran bukit where they were welcomed by the young and talented Chef Nicolas Lazzaroni. Here, in Opia’s fresh new kitchen, Chef Nicolas and Chef Marinka went head-to-head in a high-pressure, 90-minute cook off. Each chef had two of the foodies on their team, thus combining the competition with a real-life cooking class. Through this the foodies could experience first hand the work, detail and passion professional chefs put into creating dishes behind the scenes. Of course, the hard work wasn’t all for nothing as everyone dived in to enjoy their own culinary creations.
It was the last night of The Ultimate Foodie Getaway and the perfect venue was chosen for the moment. Perched on the dramatic Ungasan cliffs, everyone gathered at the famed Ju-Ma-Na Restaurant of The Banyan Tree. The evening began with a wine masterclass by Moet Hennesy, set to the backdrop of Bali’s sunset and crashing waves below and epitomised what a foodie getaway in Bali was all about. After a farewell meal with partners and guests of UFG at Ju-Ma-Na, the winners embarked on their final Bali Food Safari, reveling in the culinary delights that Jimbaran had to offer and the memories of the perfect foodie weekend.
There we have it, a holiday centred around the dining table! “The whole experience had everything a luxury foodie could dream of!”, said Chef Marinka. UFG Founder Simon Ward agrees, “Well, who wouldn’t enjoy a weekend experiencing 12 venues, 36 dishes, a Champagne masterclass and an exclusive cooking class with a celebrity chef? Top that off with 5-star accommodation and flights, it’s a dream come true for real food lovers out there”.
Of course, the Ultimate Foodie Getaway is about more than just dining out. For those experiencing it, it cultivates a larger appreciation for what’s on the table and brings them closer to the men and women behind the stove. It also highlights the quality that Bali’s food and beverage scene offers the world. “Indonesia has an incredible food culture, it really is at the heart of life. Both Bali and Jakarta offer world class dining experiences on top of its beauty and diversity”, continues Simon. It is campaigns such as this that help to put Indonesian on the map for global travellers and gastronomes.
The Ultimate Foodies Getaway experience and competition is likely to be back, offering this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to another round of keen foodies in Indonesia in beyond. The UFG would not have been possible without the support of its partners and sponsors.