31 October 2022
Kuching: The inaugural homegrown event - E.A.T: Taste of Borneo Conference 2022 (EAT), dedicated to culinary discourse was successfully held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching from 14 – 16 October 2022. The 3-day conference welcomed more than 200 delegates from around the Southeast Asia region.
The conference was officiated by Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts, Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah. In his opening speech, Dato Sri indicated the need to tackle Sarawak’s food security and food waste management as it is something that benefits the community, as well as the business and tourism industry. It is also in line with the three sets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) mission – SDG 2 Zero Hunger; SDG 12 Sustainable Consumption and Production and SDG 13 Climate Change Action, which this conference aims to achieve.
Following the MoU signed between Kuching Chefs Association (KCA), Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) and ARC Creators Sdn Bhd (ARC) on 25 January 2022, the alliance spent 9 months establishing clear goals and targets while crafting unique programs for this first homegrown event. This event was created in-line with KCA’s mission of promoting and advancing the culinary culture and offerings of Kuching and Sarawak as a whole.
EAT Conference was then curated to serve as a platform for stakeholders from across the food industry to discuss critical issues, exchange thoughts and network. It featured over 30 speakers with different areas of expertise and among them were Violet Oon, Singapore’s icon for Peranakan Cuisine; Datin Donna Drury Wee, Chairman of Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak where she highlighted the importance of preserving the culinary history of Sarawak’s essential food ingredients and its effort to advocate Kuching’s status as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) creative city of gastronomy; and Marco Sandri, Global Manager of The PLEDGE™ on Food Waste where he shared his insights on food waste reduction.
The event was a success with much positive feedback from the delegates with many hoping that the event will be held again next year and, in the years to come. To some, it was hailed as a ‘much needed event in Sarawak’ as it provided opportunities for the local F&B entrepreneurs to gain better understanding of their roles in gastronomy, as well as the exposure to what the rest of the world in doing.
Chef Abang Abdul Rahman, President of KCA said, “We are so proud that this collaboration between KCA, BCCK and ARC has enabled us to pull off successfully the first international gastronomy conference in Sarawak. We hope to garner more support and participation from the F&B industry in EAT Conference 2.0 in 2023.”
“The strategic alliance between KCA and ARC supports our vision to promote the growth of local business events and to place Sarawak in the global business events scene. We have been so privileged to have the continuous support from the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak, as well as BESarawak in supporting and believing in this event and our partnership. Without the strong support of all parties involved, especially our collaborators and our sponsors, this event would not have been such a huge success!”, said Mr Eric van Piggelen, CEO of BCCK.
He further added “With the success of E.A.T: Taste of Borneo 2022, and based on all the feedback from our partners and delegates, and the industry, we have begun work on E.A.T: Taste of Borneo 2023! Save that space and we look forward to an amazing experience next year.”
Mdm Fiona Marcus Raja, CEO of ARC also commented that “As the biggest consortium of PCOs in Sarawak, it is with great pride and joy that we at ARC, together with KCA and BCCK, have successfully organised the first EAT Borneo conference. We believe that trust is critical to ensure a successful collaboration, and we see that in this first homegrown gastronomy conference. With great synergy, we look forward to curating more homegrown events together.”