Building on its successful debut last December, the Kita Food Festival makes a welcome return from this month through November with a star-studded 2022 calendar. The festivities start with a weekend in Langkawi in September, before moving on to George Town, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in October, then culminating in two jam-packed weekends in Kuala Lumpur at end-November.
Lest you missed it last year, Kita puts forth a range of exceptional dining experiences, masterclasses, TED-like talks and forums with some of the world’s finest chefs, winemakers and food thinkers. It aims to spotlight Malaysia’s emerging place on the global restaurant scene while highlighting the value of culinary heritage and ethical producers, offering inspiration and skills for the younger generation of food producers, and building a platform for thought leadership and community.
Festival co-founder and head chef of Dewakan (crowned Best Restaurant in Malaysia by Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022) Darren Teoh says, “Kita’s goal has always been about building community. We set out to connect as many people as we could through this event: chefs, guests, vendors, restaurateurs and even those on the fringes of the industry. We believe that no one should be working in silos.
“We want to create something for our future and it takes a village to raise one. So, in this second year, we continue to work towards strengthening this small community that we are raising, to build better, wider relationships and to have fun doing what we do as a craft.”
For the 2022 edition, Kita will bring in the best chefs and culinary thinkers from South and Southeast Asia for a range of events featuring local chefs and restaurateurs. Guest chefs have been carefully chosen for their outlook and innovation or respect for sustainability, sourcing and championing the culinary heritage of their respective cultures.
SEPT 23-25: LANGKAWI
The festival will be launched on the tropical island of Langkawi, where chef Prateek Sadhu — previously of Mumbai’s famed Masque — and Dewakan’s Teoh will feature at The Datai Langkawi, one of the country’s foremost luxury resorts. There are three events in store.
Prateek will collaborate with Teoh, as well as The Datai senior chef de cuisine Chai Chun Boon, in a six-hand dinner, with each chef cooking two dishes from their respective cultures. The following night highlights fine dining by Prateek, who will display his unique take on Indian cuisine in a degustation menu at The Dining Room. The weekend will wrap up with an exclusive masterclass by Teoh, who will lead a small group of eight on a tour through the hotel’s permaculture gardens, harvesting leaves, flowers, buds and roots to be used in a hands-on cooking class at The Dapur, which will culminate with lunch at The Gulai House.
OCT 14-16: GEORGE TOWN, PENANG
Chef Johnson Wong will pair up with Andrew Martin from Bangkok’s one-Michelin-starred 80:20 at gēn on Friday (Oct 14). Next, Au Jardin’s chef-proprietor Kim Hock Su will team up with Aitor Jeronimo Orive of Singapore’s one-Michelin-starred Basque Kitchen by Aitor for a sumptuous spread that draws from both chefs’ expertise in analogous French and Basque cuisines.
The four will then work together, alongside a coterie of Penang’s finest chefs, including Mathijs Nanne of Suffolk House, Nurilkarim Razha of Jawi House, Tan Hong Tat (aka Wagyu) of Communal Table by gēn and CC Lee of JuJu Lounge & Restaurant for The Great Mezze, at George Town’s popular art gallery-cum-café-bar ChinaHouse. This casual Sunday mash-up will see teams of chefs serving a selection of hot and cold mezze from locally sourced producers against a buzzing backdrop of art, cocktails and a live band.
NOV 19-28: KUALA LUMPUR
The last two weekends in November present the most jam-packed schedule, including a series of dinners at some of the city’s foremost restaurants — among them Akar Dining, Dewakan, Ember, Entier, Hide, Joloko and Shhhbuuuleee. Chefs include Rishi Naleendra from two-Michelin-starred Cloudstreet, Ivan Brehm from one-Michelin-starred Nouri, Jeremy Gillon from one-Michelin-starred Restaurant JAG, Eelke Plasmeijer and Ray Adriansyah of Bali’s hyper local Locavore and Jordy Navarra of Manila’s Toyo Eatery (#94 on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants).
This article first appeared on Sept 5, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia. Make reservations here.