Agricultural Technology professor from UGM, Prof. Dr. Ir. Murdijati Gardjito, has been granted the Lifetime Achievement Award during the Ubud Food Festival held from 26-28 April in Bali for her role in sustaining Indonesian traditional food and promoting it to the world.
“I’ve earned this award for being Indonesia’s culinary proponent to the world,” she explained. She became the fifth person to receive the award after previous awards to several big names in Indonesian culinary world.
Murdijati has written over 60 books on Indonesian culinary delights, sustenance, and food management as well as local product empowerment. She expressed her pride that Indonesia is the world’s largest gastronomic kitchen, believing that the country has great food potential. Her mission is to promote Indonesian food and culture to the world.
She viewed that traditional food had been marginalised by modern food that had entered the country through globalisation. She regretted the lack of interest among the young generation in their traditional food, opting for modern food that is usually more interestingly packaged and commercial. This concern prompted her to write the books and became speakers in culinary events, particularly after her retirement as academician.
“I hope everyone realise that by conserving Indonesian food, we can educate the Indonesian people to be excellent and with a character because they already had excellent food,” she said.
Ubud Food Festival is a leading food festival in Indonesia presenting over 100 speakers from among chefs, cookbook writers, experts, activists, and national dan international culinary players. During the festival, visitors were entertained with Indonesian unique and typical foods.
Murdijati also gave a speech during a seminar in the event, themed Food for Thought: Waste Not Want Not that discussed food waste problems. According to Economist Intelligence Unit, Indonesia ranks second as food waste producers. She said many Indonesian traditional foods were made of unused ingredients. Despite its low economic value, many of them had actually high food benefits. “Much of the potential has been gone even before being served and this is one of the problems in the country’s culinary development,” she said.
She hoped through the food festival many people would realise the importance of sustaining Indonesian food, including the local wisdom, and developing local potential through creative ideas that may attract national and international diners.
“The young generation has to be creative and try to develop the traditional foods by rooting on our own culture, using domestically grown ingredients,” she said.