KUCHING (Oct 14): The inaugural home-grown Engage and Taste (E.A.T) Borneo Conference 2022 kicks off its three-day (Oct 14 – 16) culinary discourse today.
Held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, it serves as a platform for stakeholders from across the food system to discuss critical issues, exchange thoughts and network around food.
For programme co-curators, Raine Melissa Riman and Ronald Lim, the conference is also curated in accordance with Sarawak’s long-term goal of developing into a net food exporter and marketing premium, specialised and health food items to the international market.
They also said in regards to the intersection of climate, conflict and cost, in line with the state’s Sustainable Development Goal agenda.
“We embrace the potentials, diversity and inclusion of thoughts to develop a thorough understanding and solution to critical issues around the food table, to achieve a socially responsible development path.
“The conference foundation is to address food security issues in Sarawak, with us being geographically disconnected from the main chain and supply access,” they said in a statement.
They believe every change begins with a conversation.
The conference will feature over 30 speakers with different expertise within the food industry, both locally and internationally.
Today, the speakers will talk about what their approaches to food are, allowing Kuching to work together with them in increasing exchanges, tourism, knowledge, projects and initiatives.
Among them are Violet Oon, Singapore’s icon for Peranakan cuisine and Sarawak’s very own food scientist Dr Irine Runnie Henry Ginjom of Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus as the keynote speakers.
Day one’s list of topic will include a presentation on the future of food security, rise of food insecurity, the race to zero waste, alternative meals and also food technology innovation.
Phuture Food co-founder cum chief marketing officer Anabelle Co-Martinent, will also give a talk on the aspect of ‘Planet Positive Future’.
Anabelle will be discussing the prospects and rising demand for alternative meals such as plant-based protein during her presentation as plant-based eating is on the rise, having reached $7 billion, with sales growth of 27 per cent in 2020.
Later in the day, chairman of Culinary Heritage and Arts Society Sarawak Datin Dona Drury Wee, and co-founder of Cheese Magazine Anna Sulan Masing will be co-panelling with Raine on the discussion of ‘Reimagining the Sarawak Identity Through Food’.
They will explore how cultural identity could promote product development and innovation by weaving both modern and traditional culinary into one.
From there, they also hope for participants to appreciate Sarawak’s unique taste and flavour, that is interwoven within the people’s cosmology, and the nature that surrounds them.
Further research and development of heirloom indigenous plants as a staple food source will offer locals an approach to a more varied and diverse diet for health, and many more.
E.A.T will also showcase social enterprises that support the production of heirloom produce like Langit Collective and urban farming innovators, Airgro and BoomGrow.
Day two of the conference will focus on the future development of the food industry, touching on its course of evolution and the significance of big data and technological advancement in gastronomy among others.
The final day of the conference will look into Kuching’s membership of UCCN, not only as a developing city of world gastronomy but as an ice-breaking session for the global network of cities to celebrate food culture together.
The conference will be officiated by Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
The conference is jointly organised by Kuching Chefs Association (KCA), ARC Creators (ARC) and BCCK with support from the Ministry of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Sarawak and Business Event Sarawak (BESarawak).
For more information on the conference and post-conference initiative, visit https://eatconference.com/.
The Borneo Post is the official media partner for ‘E.A.T: Taste of Borneo Conference 2022’.