{Re} Food Forum

Created by Bo Songvisa and Dylan Jones of Bo.lan with writer and farmer Leisa Tyler, {Re} is a Food Forum exploring waste, farming and sustainability in the food industry in Asia that will be held in Bangkok on 18 - 19 March, 2018.

January 16, 2018
The word {Re} means “in consideration of”. It is also a prelude to the words reuse, recycle, refuse, revise, reconsider, reinvent, renew etcetera.

 What we have witnessed in the last years in Bangkok and throughout Asia is a shift in the perception of how food is prepared and consumed, where it comes from, and where the waste from our consumption goes – there is a movement of those that care. And that movement is the starting point of {Re} Food Forum.  In consideration of waste, farming and sustainability, perhaps there can be a re-think, re-vision. For many living in the city, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the waste that we produce daily from the food that we consume, to the supply chain that delivers our food and sustainability as a whole. After all, one might not see it as really one’s business, if he or she is not involved in the food industry. However, we all love food, and the last time we checked . . . food is a big deal and in the great city of Bangkok, food is a really really big deal.

Welcome {Re} Food Forum the brainchild of Chefs Bo and Dylan, together with writher/farmer Leisa Tyler, a 2 day symposium in Bangkok that will bring together 40 of the leading minds and original thinkers of the sustainable food industry. 

"It is about considering all aspects of food production, from environment and sustainable farming techniques, to packaging, waste and the use of indigenous ingredients"

The Forum line-up and its topics was just announced on their website but in short, broken into a series of key topics, each day will involve up to 40 speakers, including scientists, chefs, farmers, food historians and social entrepreneurs giving concise 10-20-minute TED like talks.

Bo Songvisa, Dylan Jones and Leisa Tyler. Photo courtesy of {Re} Food Forum.
Some familiar names are Jarrett Wrisley of Soulfood Mahanakorn, Lee Ayu of Akha Ama Coffee, Chef Num of Samuay and Sons and Lalana Srikram, co-founder of Raitong Organics will be present.  The list spans the world and includes Magnus Nilsson of Faviken in Sweden (you may recognise him from the Nordic episode of Netflix’ Chef’s Table series) whose cuisine is deeply entrenched in the Nordic tradition and sourcing from the Swedish terroir, Douglas MacMaster on creating the world’s zero carbon restaurant, Silo in the UK; Helianti Hilman, founder of endemic Indonesian foodstuff company, Javara, on creating a market for high value endemic produce and using market forces to help preserve cultural identity; Dan Hunter, the acclaimed chef of restaurant, Brae, in rural Victoria on land-care philosophies and farm to table; Shinobu Namae from two-star Michelin restaurant L’Effervescence in Tokyo on upscaling waste into food; Eelke Plasmeijer from Locavore in Ubud, Bali that has taken local sourcing to another level.
To put this inaugural forum into context, it was Bo and Dylan during the early days of Bo.lan whom started a small Farmer’s Market in their restaurant, every month. Friends, protagonists of an organic movement that was in its nascent stage met to shop, eat, and really just hang out.  Joe Sloane’s sausages were only to be found there, wedged between Conkey’s bread served with an array of Joe's handmade sauces. Raitong Organics offered delicious organic vegetables and fragrant organic Gaba rice. A small movement was present.  In our last Chewing the Fat with Chef Dylan we learnt about sustainable shrimp-fishing and how difficult it really is.  It's as Chef Dylan put it in his interview, it's about the future of food. 
Clockwise from top left: Magnus Nilsson, Helianti Hilman, Dan Hunter, Shinobu Namae, Eelke Plasmeijer, Lee Ayu Cheupa, Lalana Srikram and Bryan Hugill

A Food Forum founded by two of the best chefs in the city would not be a food forum without amazing food. Lunches served at {Re} will be cooked by a coterie of local and international chefs using “ugly veg”; produce that due to its shape or size, is typically thrown away by supermarkets. One of the lunches wil be by “those fucking chefs”, a collective of chefs that go the length to serve us the most exquisite food and are able to tell us not only what they are cooking but exactly where it is from and why. 

“We hope that through the {Re} Food Forum, we can inspire people involved in food production to start making the changes needed for a better and more sustainable industry”, says Chef Dylan. “We hope we can prompt initiatives and show how the food systems, whilst part of the problem- can also be part of the solution."

Alongside the two-day Food Forum, {Re} will hold a series of collaborative dinners and masterclasses with visiting chefs. All exterior events will be run on {Re}’s core principles, including limiting waste using only sustainable and locally grown produce and working with Asian endemic ingredients, many which due to the onset of commercial farming, are on the verge of disappearing.

{Re} is being run non-for-profit through the foundation, BIOTHAI Thailand. Any proceeds will be donated to sustainable agricultural and food related charities and programmes in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Tickets to the symposium are on sale now on the {Re} Website and will be  take place on March 18 and 19th at The Grand Hyatt Erawan.

More details of the masterclasses and dinners to follow.