On Thursday evening, 12th of February, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati foundation which runs the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, the Bali Emerging Writers Festival, and now a new, food festival to boot, hosted a media partnership gathering at Indus in Ubud. Rio Helmi talked to UWRF’s Coroporate Partnership Coordinator Triny Tresnawulan.

What is the official name for the upcoming food festival, and what kind of scale are we talking here? International? Regional? Local? (We saw a few local cuisine luminaries around last night). Flying in chefs from around the world, or is it mainly to spotlight what is in Ubud/Bali already?

Ubud Food Festival is the official name. It will spotlight Indonesian cuisine, produce and heritage, but it will also aim to create more conversation about Indonesian food as an integral part of the Southeast Asian food map. Chefs, producers and foodies from our neighbouring countries will be welcomed onto the stage alongside local luminaries, as you mentioned.

Janet DeNeefe refers to the food festival as being a sister event to UWRF which is already running the Bali Emerging Writer’s Festival. So just to get this straight, all three of these events come under the auspices of the same foundation Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati?

That’s correct – the not-for-profit foundation Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati will deliver all three projects in 2015, as part of its mission to showcase Indonesia to the world through its art, cuisine and people. The Yayasan will launch a website by early April to better reflect its projects, and also so people know how to get involved and to support the foundation (yayasansaraswati.org)

Will the management configuration of UWRF be the same configuration for the food festival? How do you cope what with BEWF being just around the corner, and June around the next corner? How many new staff members have you had to recruit specifically for this festival? How many will be full time? 

The UWRF team will support the delivery of the UFF. The only difference is that for UFF the Yayasan Foundation has acquired the services of Festival Manager Claire Norton, who will work full time in the lead up to the Festival. The UWRF staff will work with her.

How many main events are planned for the food festival? Will it be configured like UWRF with main events and other things like workshops etc.? Does cuisine lend itself to that kind of format?

There will be a range of ticketed and free events spanning cooking demonstrations, masterclasses, panel discussions, night markets, farmers markets, food tours, wine tastings, film screenings, and more. The program is ever-evolving, but at this stage there are over 50 events planned already. There will be more exciting announcements via our social media in the lead-up to an early April program and ticket release.

I know it’s rude to talk about money, but out of curiosity…. Who are the main sponsors on board already for the food festival?

We see this festival as something more intimate. As food is more relevant to most Indonesian people rather than literature, we are hoping for more support from Indonesian corporate sponsors – it should be easier if it’s about food rather than literature! Food is something ‘groovy’ – plus we are promoting Indonesian heritage, a part of Indonesian culture that is not that well known overseas.

Ubud Food Festival has already generated a great deal of interest in terms of partnership opportunities. If organizations or businesses would like to explore a partnership with the Festival, please get in touch with partnership@ubudwritersfestival.com .


photo: Triny Tresnawulan speaking at the partnership gathering at Indus. ©Rio Helmi