- Flora Gandolfo
THREE DAYS, THREE CHEFS, THREE CULINARY CULTURES:
The Datai Langkawi hosts region's leading chefs for launch of the Kita Food Festival 2022
Malaysia’s iconic The Datai Langkawi consolidates its position as a leading culinary destination for the region by hosting an array of events to kick off the annual Kita Food Festival.
True to the driving objective of the festival, of bringing together the best chefs and culinary thinkers from South and Southeast Asia, three diverse chefs with varied cultural upbringings will come together at the resort from 23 – 25 September to launch Kita 2022, which will subsequently touch down in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.
Pictured (l-r): Chef Prateek Sadhu, founded Masque, Mumbai in 2016; Chef Chai Chun Boon, Senior Chef de Cuisine at The Datai Langkawi's The Dining Room; Chef Darren Teoh, Head Chef of Dewakan, Kuala Lumpur
Kashmir-born Chef Prateek Sadhu, previously of Mumbai’s famed restaurant Masque, owes his deep connection to food to his family. On his aunt’s farm, ingredients were cooked as soon as they were harvested, and later in Delhi, his mother’s Kashmiri home cooking inspired his vocation and led him to cook in some of the world’s finest kitchens. His cooking places an emphasis on locally sourced, wild-caught, and mindfully farmed ingredients. In 2016, Chef Prateek opened Mumbai’s first zero-waste restaurant, Masque, voted the Best in India in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, and he has built a reputation as the country’s most experimental chef.
Chef Darren Teoh, Head Chef of lauded Kuala Lumpur fine dining restaurant Dewakan, brings together two cultures in his carefully considered reinterpretations of modern peninsular Malaysian cuisine: Keralan Malayali origins on one side of his family and Hokkien Chinese on the other. He is an enthusiastic champion of truly local, endemic Malaysian ingredients.
Born and raised in Sarawak, senior Chef de Cuisine at The Datai Langkawi’s The Dining Room, Chef Chai Chun Boon passionately believes that good food is an emotional experience. He draws inspiration from his maternal grandmother's cooking and his Sarawakian heritage, bringing comfort flavours onto modern plates. His trademark farm-to-table approach showcases the natural bounty of the island whilst embracing the technical and experimental aspects of gastronomy.
On 23 September, all three chefs will join forces to deliver a ‘six-hand’ dinner, each cooking two dishes inspired by their culinary heritage and early memories of food. The dinner will take place at The Datai Langkawi’s Malay eatery, The Gulai House.
On 24 September, Chef Prateek Sadhu will present his modern take on Indian cuisine in a multi-course degustation dinner at the resort’s formal restaurant, The Dining Room.
On 25 September, the weekend will wrap up with a unique masterclass by Chef Darren Teoh, who will lead a small group of eight on a tour through The Datai Langkawi’s permaculture garden, harvesting leaves, flowers, buds and roots to be used in a hands-on cooking class at The Dapur Cookery School, culminating with lunch at The Gulai House.
Launched in December 2021 the Kita Food Festival is an annual event offering a range of exceptional dining experiences, masterclasses, TED-like talks, and forums with some of the world’s finest chefs, winemakers, and food thinkers. Kita 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.
After its events at The Datai Langkawi, the festival will move on to the UNESCO heritage city of George Town, Penang in October, and culminate in two jam-packed weekends in Kuala Lumpur at the end of November.
For more information on the dining experiences available at The Datai Langkawi, click here.
Notes to Editors:
For high-resolution photos of The Datai Langkawi, please click here.
ABOUT THE DATAI LANGKAWI
One of the world’s most stunning resorts, The Datai Langkawi, is situated on the northwest tip of the island of Langkawi in Malaysia. Located in an ancient rainforest rich in wildlife and overlooking the tranquil Datai Bay awarded by National Geographic one of the Top 10 Beaches worldwide, the iconic property enchants with mesmerising nature, visionary architecture, understated elegance and Malaysian hospitality. All the 121 rooms, villas and suites at The Datai Langkawi, including the five-bedroom The Datai Estate Villa, offer breath-taking views of the surrounding nature. Elevated among treetops, set in the very heart of the rainforest and located directly on the coastline, the dining outlets which include the award-winning The Gulai House, The Pavilion, The Dining Room and The Beach Club, pay homage to the exotic flavours and culinary traditions of the region and beyond. Bespoke facilities include The Nature Centre, an educational facility and home to resident naturalists and marine biologists, and The Spa featuring Ramuan treatments, its own Akar retail range and Voya facials. Leisure facilities include three pools, a state-of-the-art fitness centre at The Health Club; an array of wellness activities including silat and yoga, retail outlet The Boutique, a reserved space to showcase local arts and talents at The Atelier, as well as one of the most scenic golf courses in the world designed by golf legend Ernie Els, The Els Club Teluk Datai. The resort has founded The Datai Pledge in 2019 - a sustainability and conservation trust that supports Langkawi’s unique fauna, flora and communities. All proceeds from The Datai Pledge aid this work and contribute to local non-profit organisations.
The Datai Langkawi is managed by Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn Bhd, an investment holding company incorporated to develop, manage and operate hospitality and attraction destinations.
ABOUT THE KITA FOOD FESTIVAL
Kita Food Festival celebrates Malaysian indigenous ingredients and culinary culture, hosting events throughout the country to shine a spotlight on the country’s avant-garde food and beverage scene. In its inaugural year in 2021, more than 30 chefs and industry experts participated in 18 masterclasses and dinners, closing with the Big Sunday Barbecue, where an all-star contingent of chefs were split into groups, each creating chargrilled specialties which they served to an eager crowd of nearly 300 diners. Co-founder of the Kita Food Festival and head chef of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant Dewakan, Darren Teoh, says, “The goal of Kita has always been about building community. We set out to connect as many people as we can through this festival; chefs, guests, vendors, restaurateurs, and even those on the fringes of the industry. We believe that no one should operate in a silo. We want to build 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 relationships, to build wider relationships and to have fun doing what we do as a craft.". As part of Kita’s commitment to provide inspiration and skills expansion for the younger generation of chefs in Malaysia, the Festival’s Horizons programme sees a selection of promising junior chefs handpicked to be mentored by senior chefs throughout the duration of the festival.
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