Held from 24 to 27 November, IdeaFest 2022 at Jakarta Convention Center (JCC) banded together some of the creative industry’s sharpest minds, including the much-anticipated appearance of Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami as its international speaker. From talk shows and conferences to bazaars, this year’s festival directed its focus on change, carrying the theme “Reality Re:defined” as a response to life returned following the pandemic.
Amongst the festival’s roster of events was the debut of MANUAL Food Market, bringing the excitement of food through the city’s culinary scene and communities. Approximately 27,000 visitors made their way to the market in the course of four days, a turnout that reflected much on the drawing power of the 21 curated tenants, from those serving local comfort dishes and plant-based meals to classics with a twist.
There was Oma Elly’s signature tiramisu along with its famous scoops of gelato; the popular Scarlett’s Café with its arsenal of pastries and best-selling poured tiramisu; a show of plant-based movement including nasi campur from Mad Grass, pizzas and satays from Green Family (Burgreens, Max’s Pizza and The Green Rebel) to vegan gelatos from Orvia; Indian soul food Accha whose popular biryani bowls and samosas hooked visitors; the pioneer of the city’s third-wave coffee Common Grounds as our exclusive coffee partner; and a special omakase experience pop-up that gathered Le Cordon Bleu alumni, such as pastry chef Ardika Dwitama of August and chocolatier Richie Pratadaja of Crio.
“The crowd, the rush—it was all so much fun. We restocked [our pastries] three to four times each day and sold out at 6 PM on our last day,” said Lalita Setiandi of LIT Bakehouse, one of the tenants from Glodok who makes delectable homemade croissants and doughnuts. “The market gave us a platform to showcase our products so we could reach a wider audience. We had the chance to meet friendly tenants and other F&B players as well.”
The lower lobby of Kasuari Lounge at JCC saw a similar dynamic one would find in street food bazaars or night markets—a spread of food tent-style booths, eager visitors brushing shoulders as they made their way through the crowd and a show of local character through the culinary offerings. Set up with long tables and kursi bakso-style stools, the dining area brimmed with visitors who engrossed themselves in the culinary experience and sampled a little of everything, leaving with a deeper or newfound appreciation for the city’s food players that are shaping the scene.
Much of the energy also came from the excitement of old friends catching up as conversations flowed between fellow F&B entrepreneurs and culinary school graduates to industry figures who had just made their way from one of IdeaFest’s talks.
“It was great to see everyone since this industry is indeed very small. As someone working in hospitality, we know taking the time to connect is very important,” revealed Ardika Dwitama, who made a lemongrass sorbet doused with strawberries and oat milk—or what he called “dessert from plants”—for the Le Cordon Bleu pop-up. “In the future, I think a nice addition would be to have some sort of a forum specifically for the F&B sector so that we could discuss more about the future of food in Indonesia and shape the industry further.”