Bangkok hosted the Asian Organic Gourmet Festival (AOGF) for the very first time last month, bringing together top chefs from around the world for four days of delicious indulgence. The event, which took place at 137 Pillars Suites & Residences on Sukhumvit Soi 39 from 22-25 March 2018, got off to an energetic start on Thursday morning with the vibrant Kitchen Band, musicians who use everyday kitchen utensils as instruments, setting the lively pace for the days that followed.
The AOGF featured a popular daily Farmers’ Market on the Jamjuree Lawn of the luxury hotel with many Thai producers, both small and large, showcasing their delicious produce. Saturday was Wellness Day when different gurus were brought in to share their unique knowledge and experience on how to lead a more balanced and happier life. There were also cooking demonstrations, and each day one of the invited chefs showed off their exceptional cooking skills in a lavish gala dinner attended by Thailand’s well-travelled gourmands and the who’s who of Thai high society.
Chef Colin Chung flew all the way from Fiji, Chef Tolgar Mireli flew in from Turkey, while Chef Javier Rodriguez flew over 17,000 kilometres from Argentina to attend AOGF 2018.
Chef Colin, who also used the event to launch his Kana Vinaka cookbook in the Thai market, said, “The AOGF was indeed a success in every way.Ê It was a pleasure to connect with so many like-minded and likeable professionals, sharing experiences, stories and techniques. I personally enjoyed sharing the cuisine of the South Pacific and Fiji, especially knowing how we have such similar fresh produce. The organisational skills of the 137 Pillars management, sales and promotion teams were outstanding and efficient, making the AOGF a smooth running and thoroughly enjoyable event.”
Each of the chefs used their experience from working in some of the world’s best restaurants to give diners a little taste of their homeland with the expertise and finesse of a master craftsman.
While each chef had their own Gala Dinner to impress guests, Sunday was the Finale Brunch where all three chefs joined hands with Chef Anchalee Pongrunsit, one of Thailand’s best home-grown culinary talents, and Chef Nanang Prasetya Aditama, one of the best young stars from Indonesia. Together they created an indulgent feast that was enjoyed by many from the local community, VIPs and guests from the luxurious suites and residences above. The Finale Brunch was made even more special by a band playing live music on the mezzanine level of the trendy Bangkok Trading Post Deli & Bar.
Mr Bjorn Richardson, General Manager of 137 Pillars Suites & Residences, said, ÒI cannot express just how proud I am of the entire team. Everyone played their part in laying the foundations for what is sure to become a must-attend annual event on the Thai social calendar. The Farmers’ Market was fun with a diverse range of produce, the Gala Dinners were booked up and the food and wine served so deliciously, the memory still brings a smile to my face. Wellness Day proved particularly popular, and the Finale Brunch was the perfect icing on the cake. Everything just came together as we had hoped.Ó
The AOGF was not all about organic food, exuberant dinners, fancy wines and parties, the event also managed to raise over THB 300,000 for the Beaumont Partnership Foundation, an organisation that works tirelessly to give underprivileged children in rural Thailand a quality education and with it the chance of a better life.
The Beaumont Partnership Foundation opened its first school in 2013 with K1, K2, K3, Primary 1 and Primary 2 students. The school, which is located in Chaiyaphum – roughly 340 km northeast of Bangkok, has grown rapidly and already has 230 students on its books. In May 2018, the school will open its first secondary class starting with the 7th grade.
The money donated to The Beaumont Partnership Foundation was raised through a variety of means including a luxury auction during Chef Javier Rodriguez’s Gala Dinner on Saturday night and a luxury raffle that ran over the entire four days. Some of the high-end items available in the raffle and auction included stays in luxury suites and villas around the world, a pair of business class tickets on Turkish Airlines to Paris plus two nights at The Peninsula Paris, a hot air balloon ride in Chiang Mai and much, much more.
Mr Chris Stafford, Chief Operating Officer of 137 Pillars Hotels & Resorts, said, ÒI must thank Turkish Airlines and the other generous sponsors for all their support. With their help, the AOGF 2018 has been a tremendous success. Not only have we all had lots of fun, but together we have raised awareness about the importance of organic food and supporting small local producers. We have also helped to raise a substantial amount of money for The Beaumont Partnership Foundation which will be used to give those less fortunate than ourselves a brighter and better future. While this was the very first Asian Organic Gourmet Festival to be held in Bangkok, it most certainly will not be the last and my team and I are already fine-tuning changes to make the AOGF 2019 an even greater success for all involved. Thank you!Ó