Life and Style with KK Food Festival and famous Chefs

Kota Kinabalu Food Festival

The annual Kota Kinabalu Food Festival (KKFF) returns for its second year after making its successful debut in 2011. This delectable celebration of all things to do with wining and dining is set to take place on the 3rd to 18th March 2012. The KK Food Fest’s participants include restaurants, lounges and bars attached to hotels, standalone food and beverage outlets, qualified chain eateries, gourmet food products and wine suppliers.

The Objectives

  • To cultivate the culture of appreciating good food and wine.
  • To encourage the development of creativity in our local dining scene.
  • To generate awareness and promote the local food and beverage industry.
  • To provide a platform for networking and interaction amongst industry players.

The Concept

The KK Food Fest is a two-week showcase of food and beverage establishments in and around Kota Kinabalu. Organised by Malaysia’s first premier online lifestyle magazine,, the crux of the KK Food Fest is to discover and promote varied dining options in our city, catering not only to dedicated gourmands, but also to those of us who are very simply foodies at heart.

Festival Venue

Unlike a conventional food exhibition, which takes place in a single venue for just one day, the KKFF stretches over two weeks. The event essentially happens in all the participating restaurants all at once. This concept allows people plenty of time to experience the various dining choices available in our city.

Festival Menu

The KK Food Fest encourages delicious experimentation by way of a specially designed “Festival Menu” available only throughout the duration of the festival. Diners will be able to enjoy unique offerings from participating establishments in this event.

Join KKFF Today

Your restaurant / company / institution can be a part of this much talked about event by the following ways:

Festival Restaurant

If you own a restaurant / café / bistro or any establishment that sells food, you can become one of our Festival Restaurants.

Fringe Partner

If you are a food manufacturer / supplier / institution or any establishment whose prime activity is related to food, you can become a fringe partner by organizing event or activities during the festival period.


One of the main tools to survive the festival is to grab hold of a copy of KKFF 2012 Festival Magazine. The Festival Magazine contains a directory and information about all Festival Restaurants and Menus. There is also a form in it which entitles festival goers to participate in the “DINE & WIN” Contest.

Take this opportunity to expose your brand to a captive audience by advertising in the much sought after Festival Magazine.


If your product is somehow related to food in everyday life, the best way to engage with your target audience is to become a sponsor to the event! Not only can you be closely associated to one of the most anticipated event in town, you can also reinforce your brand presence to those who actively follows the event.

Key Components of KK Food Fest

The Opening Bazaar

All participating restaurants are invited to set up a tasting stall during the Opening Bazaar to mark the official launch of the festival. Government officials, VIPs, food and beverage industry professionals, media and members of the public will be invited.

The Two-Week Festival

From 3rd to 18th March 2012, participating food and beverage outlets will offer their “Festival Menu” to their customers, to ensure that members of the public will be provided with a unique and memorable dining experience

Fringe Events

Running alongside KK Food Festival is a series of exciting fringe events that will take place in various locations in the city. Usually organised in a more intimate environment, interested parties can take part in the activities to enhance their food and beverage knowledge and experience.

“Stamp and Win” Contest

Festival-goers are encouraged to take part in the “Stamp and Win” contest. The mechanics are simple: collect stamps after dining in any of the participating restaurants or attending a fringe event. The stamps can be affixed onto the Festival Magazine, copies of which will be distributed during the event or may be downloaded from the official website. Attractive prizes will be awarded to qualified winners.

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award serves as an important benchmark for the continuous improvement of the quality of products as well as services in the food and beverage industry. The winner will be determined by a panel of judges and collective votes from the general public.

Closing Cocktail and Award Presentation

Towards the end of the festival, a by-invitation-only closing cocktail will be hosted to mark the official closure of the event as well as to present the award to the winners of the People’s Choice Award. The closing cocktail is also an exclusive time for networking amongst the players in the food and beverage industry.

Festival Magazine

The annual KK Food Fest Official Festival Magazine will be launched two weeks prior to the event. The Festival Magazine, together with the official website which contains detailed information about the festival and its participating restaurants, serve as pivotal instruments towards the success of the event.

Chef Jack Yoss

Recently appointed as Chef de Cuisine of Indonesia’s first W property – W Retreat & Spa Bali-Seminyak, Chef Jack Yoss is an accomplished global chef who has served alongside some of the biggest names in the culinary world.

Yoss has had an incredibly diverse and exciting culinary career, marked by experiences and fortuitous relationships with some of the world’s most renowned and beloved chefs. He first embarked on his career in Las Vegas, eventually landing a coveted job as a saucier at Wolfgang Puck’s exclusive Chinois Restaurant in Caesar’s Palace.

Puck was an early fan of Yoss, and taught him about balancing flavors to create Chinois’ signature delicious and delectable sauces. Yoss then moved on to San Francisco – the home of innovative upscale cuisine – where he made a name for himself at Puck’s famed Postrio restaurant, working his way up from pastry cook to Chef de Cuisine.

Yoss also met and began collaborations with the famed Chef Jacques Pepin, who mentored Yoss and nominated him for Food and Wine’s “Best New Chef’s In America” in 2004.

Yoss donned his kitchen whites at prestigious restaurants such as Nine Thirty at W Los Angeles and joined the Celebrity Chef Tour, earning him the rare opportunity to cook at the prestigious James Beard House, New York.

After his tenure as Executive Chef at Ten-01 Restaurant in Portland’s hip Pearl District, Chef Yoss embarked a culinary expedition that took him from Alaska to Bali, with stops in Italy, Belgium, France, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan, amongst others.

L&S;: You’ve been on quite an adventure ‘one country at a time’. What motivated you to broaden your horizons?
JY: “One country at a time”…that seems like so long ago. My major motivation was to learn again. I had been an executive chef for seven years and felt that I was getting stuck in a routine, not really learning anymore. I wanted to reenergize myself and soak in as much of worlds cuisine and culture as I could afford on my limited savings.

Another important factor was to see and taste the food from its source. In America you can get anything imported but to taste say, Epoisses or Charcuterie in a small village outside of Limoge, France is completely different than in the comforts of your home or restaurant. That coupled with tours of the farms and in some cases getting to work at them was a priceless experience. My travels definitely changed and shaped the way that I think about and cook food. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

L&S;: You’re often referred to as ‘the travelling chef’. What have been some travel and food highlights for you so far?
JY: Too many to name but here are a few:

  • Having foie gras and truffles from a street side vendor in Perigeux, France
  • Working in Chateaus and farms in Limoges, France. This was a real eye opener as it was grueling work, waking up at six a.m. to cook breakfast for the guests, then working the fields all day finishing with making dinner for the guests. Sixteen hour days on a farm is much harder than a kitchen. It taught me even more respect for the vegetables that we use.
  • Visiting a Foie Gras producer in Bordeaux
  • Consulting in Osaka and Tokyo. The Japanese are very precise in their cooking and the skill level is very high. It stood out as one of my great moments because I speak no Japanese and the cooks no English yet we still had the kitchen language and had no problem communicating through food.
  • Eating street food all across Asia. We were traveling with a strict budget so even if we wanted to could not afford traditional restaurants. It was a good thing though because I learned so much from watching the street hawkers cook and chatting with them. To me they are the true chefs of the world
  • The La Boqueria market in Barcelona was a chefs dream. The amount and quality of the vegetables, cheeses, spices and of course Jamon and charcuterie was stunning to say the least. I was able to shop there every day before doing my guest chef dinners at the W Hotel.

L&S;: Has living in Bali allowed you to experiment with certain ingredients you wouldn’t normally use in your cooking?
JY: In America I did not use the tropical fruits that we have here. I always try to cook with locally sourced vegetables as I can wherever I am working so I am pretty excited about all of the new fruits that are predominant here. As well we have a farmer in Bedugul that has imported seeds and is growing product strictly for us.

What most other hotels and restaurants are buying from Australia and France we are sourcing right here in Bali. That is very exciting as they are helping us and in turn it is providing jobs and even more agricultural awareness in Bedugul. My hope for this farm and community is to grow into a point where no restaurants or hotels need to outsource vegetables. It is a win win situation for all.

L&S;: Kitchen essentials any cook should have:
JY: A sharp knife. You can have all the gadgets in the world but in the end a sharp knife is the most important tool for precision cooking. My personal favorite knives are Misono from Japan but I would not recommend them to everyone. It is very important when buying a knife that you hold it and test the weight in your hands for at least ten minutes.

As you cannot use them in the store when buying them this will give you the best idea whether or not the knife is suitable for your hand size and that the weight is also proportionate. Every person holds knives differently and has different grips and textures to themselves which makes a huge difference when purchasing a knife.

When purchasing your knife also buy a wet stone for sharpening and get the store to give you lessons which most will. If you buy it on-line look on YouTube for a sharpening technique clip. Having a sharp knife will make your time in the kitchen quite a bit more enjoyable and it will show through in your end product.

L&S;: What dishes would you recommend for first timer visitors to South East Asia:
JY: The most important thing to recommend to first time visitors would be to eat the street food. Street hawkers generally only produce one or two dishes that they have been making all their lives. These recipes and stalls are passed down from generation to generation and it shows in the product. I try to eat street food as much as possible.

Bali: Babi Guling and Bebek Betutu. Both are dishes native to Bali and amazing in terms of texture, flavor and aroma. It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Thailand: Find a night market that is predominately filled with locals and eat everything. Some of the best food I have had in the world has cost me about fifty cents in these pop up food havens. If one dish though: green papaya salad from a street vendor.

Malaysia: In Kuala Lumpur I spent most of my time on Jalon Alor. Almost everything I had there was amazing. When I think about it the first dish to come to mind is the slow grilled chicken wings with honey and lime. So tender they mimic confit with a sweet, tart and smoky flavor, they are addicting.

Langkawi and Penang: Both of these islands have great hawker food although Penang is the best for Hawker stalls anywhere. On both islands I had the best fried chicken of my life, by a long shot.

Tokyo, Japan: You must visit Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo. Get there about six in the morning, check out all the fish and get in line for one of the tiny sushi restaurants. Even at six in the morning you could end up waiting outside for an hour in line but the fish is spectacular and worth every second.

After getting your fill of sushi stop by one of the knife stalls and check them out. They have many obscure knives at great prices you can’t get anywhere but there.

Erna Mahyuni

When other little girls were dreaming about ponies, Erna Mahyuni was reading Tolstoy and figuring out the IBM PC. She eventually grew up to become a tech journalist, merging her two biggest interests – tech and writing. Along the way, she found the time to dabble in the performing arts. Erna is currently having too much fun being a columnist for The Malaysian Insider.

L&S;: What sparked your interest in the writing fraternity?
EM: Writing is just an extension of my love for the written word. Both my parents loved books and though we didn’t have much growing up, we had books and the wonderful Sabah State Library. I’ve been writing stories on a computer since I was seven years old and well, I’m still doing it now.

Sometimes you have to follow your star and listen to what moves you most – in my case, it’s the intricacies of language and putting words together. With the right words you could inspire a nation, build a fantasy world that will outlive you or comfort the lost.

Words have power but it takes years and years to harness that power, something writers never stop working at. I like that in writing you can’t ever put down your pen and say you had learned all you needed to know.

L&S;: How would you best describe the theme of your columns?
EM: I wouldn’t say there’s a theme, really. Whatever comes out is the product of my mad mind. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheekness and I try not to be too serious because columnists who take themselves (besides everything else) too seriously are a dime a dozen.
I’d like to hope those reading my columns will be at the very least entertained and if I give them something to think about, that’s a bonus.
In the end, if I think something matters enough to write about, I’ll write about it. It doesn’t have to be current, it could be just an everyday thing like parents who won’t keep their kids from being nuisances in public spaces.

L&S;: What inspires you in your writing?
EM: Life in general, really. Anything from current affairs to what my cat is doing right now could be fodder for a column. My best columns seem to be the ones where something compels me so much to write that I can’t not write about it.

The piece that will probably follow me to the grave is the op-ed I wrote for Malaysiakini about the Allah Issue. Something someone here said about it angered me so much I had to say something. I wasn’t so much angry at the person – she was just ignorant – but that there was so much ignorance about how the ‘other side’ lived.

When it comes to writing about East Malaysia, it’s hard for me to be fair and unbiased as there is a lot of hurt and anger I feel about how things should be and the way there are now.

L&S;: What are your thoughts on the online media in Malaysia in general? How has it developed so far and what do you see happening to it in the next 2 to 3 years?
EM: I think the online media has been great. It was high time the reigning media bosses got a kick in the rear for being too complacent. Online media has changed the game and forced its competition to prove themselves relevant.

What I don’t particularly enjoy is the notion that when you’re online, you can be sloppy with language. Across the board, writing standards have fallen because too many people join the industry thinking “If I blog, I’m already qualified to be a writer.”

L&S;: Advice for budding writers?

EM: Read. Vary your reading material. Read plays, poems, literature, manga, foreign news, local news. And live. Too many people assume writers just cook stuff up in their heads from nothing. Ernest Hemingway lived a heck of a life and that’s why you feel that in his writing. A writer must learn his craft – grammar, spelling, basic editing and once you’ve got that down, it’ll just be trusting yourself to write what you need to write.




On Key
Related Posts
Le Hotel Kota Kinabalu

Our hotel rates are now the lowest in Warisan Square mall (Waterfront). A city hotel conveniently located at the Waterfront (Warisan Square), Kota Kinabalu, Sabah


Located in one of the most exciting commercial section of the city, the Grand Pacific Hotel is strategically located for business and leisure. Nestled in

Strawberry Park Resort Cameron Highlands

Welcome to Strawberry Park Resort Secluded from the urban traffic, the Strawberry Park Resort Cameron Highlands, Pahang, in Peninsular Malaysia in sits amidst a distinctive

Open chat
Ask us in Whatsapp