Jakarta. Ten chefs from five Indonesian cities will compete on Aug. 11-13 to serve the best fish dish to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on the 72nd Independence Day next week.
The State Secretariat, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the Office of the Chief of Staff, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism collaborated to organize the "Taste of Indonesia" competition, as part of a month-long celebration commemorating Indonesia's independence struggle.
The competition will also serve as a campaign for increasing fish consumption in the country.
"Fishes contain many proteins and nourishing ingredients. But fish consumption in Indonesia is still low compared to many other countries, despite the fact that we have huge marine resources," said Anung Sugihartono, public health director at the Ministry of Health.
The government aims to increase fish consumption from 32 to 54 kilograms per person annually.
Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki highlighted the importance of increasing fish consumption at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (10/08).
"The president is concerned about stunting plaguing Indonesian children. Many suffer from malnutrition, even though our seas are so rich. We want to change attitudes, make people eat more fish," Teten said.
Director of quality development at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Innes Rachmania, said 80 percent of the ministry's budget is allocated to bringing fish products to people.
"It is our focus to bring fish closer to consumers, with good quality and affordable price," Innes said.
Out of the competition's ten finalists – who come from Batam, Gorontalo, Biak, Pontianak and Jakarta – the winner will cook for the president at the Jakarta Presidential Palace on Aug. 17.
Celebrity chef Vindex Tengker, who leads the team of judges, said that hygienic preparation will be an important factor in the final assessment, because cleanliness is often forgotten when meals are prepared in Indonesia.
"We are working to promote food safety [in the country]. We must look into how we can adjust attitudes toward food preparation, so that Indonesian food could fare better in the international market. Hygiene is an important issue here," Vindex told reporters.