Our #UFF18 theme ‘Generasi Inovasi’ celebrates innovation across the entire spectrum of Indonesia’s culinary industry. In this new series we speak to some of the nation’s most outstanding innovators to discover the exciting ideas they’re bringing to the table. Next up we speak to innovative young chef I Putu Dodik Sumarjana. Part of the original Locavore team and now a chef at Nusantara, Putu is proud to show what can be achieved with local ingredients and he regularly invents new dishes.
As a chef who regularly invents new dishes, what does ‘inovasi’ mean to you?
Innovation for me is a thought, process, idea or challenge to make a particular food better or perfect, without leaving behind the original.
What do you think have been the most innovative food developments in Indonesia in recent times?
I think the most innovative food developments recently are traditional Indonesian foods which are becoming international dishes, without decreasing or losing the original ingredients and flavors.
If we study traditional foods well, we obtain important basic knowledge, cooking techniques, the origins of ingredients and many other things. With a deeper understanding of these areas of cooking, we can innovate much more creatively.
What do you think is the most important food issue for today’s generation, and how could this be overcome through innovation?
Foodies, chefs or even children these days are competing to innovate and create new foods, but they are forgetting traditional ingredients and authentic flavors. In my eyes, only a few of today’s generation want to study traditional Indonesian cuisine, and I think many of them believe that traditional dishes are easy and not too important.
However, if we study traditional foods well, we obtain important basic knowledge, cooking techniques, the origins of ingredients and many other things. With a deeper understanding of these areas of cooking, we can innovate much more creatively, developing new dishes without forgetting the authenticity of the dish.
What is the most innovative dish you’ve eaten recently, and the most innovative dish you’ve invented recently?
The most innovative dish I’ve tried recently was at Locavore – ayam pop Padang. It was magically transformed into a Western dish, without losing the original ingredients and flavors.
At a special event at Nusantara in late December last year, I served dishes which are a significant part of Balinese ceremonies. I tried innovating with one of the components. I made rengginang or jaje begina (a thick cracker made from sun-dried glutinous rice), which usually has a plain or sweet flavor, with Balinese spices, without changing its basic form and ingredients.
Based on the Generasi Inovasi theme, what are you most looking forward to at Ubud Food Festival 2018?
I hope at UFF18 there will be even more innovative foods which still retain their original flavor, and more people from the current generation who are more serious about preserving the traditional foods of Indonesia.