Timor-Leste's Youth Food Innovators


Some of you have continued to donate, so we will have an update soon on which Timorese food innovators we will support next.

To follow the story of Safira and Lucia and their participation in the Ubud Food Festival, follow us on facebook here:


Watch this video from Lucia!
{10 days to go!}

Chef Lucia Fernandes, 21yrs and Food Researcher Safira Carvalho, 20,
 are two of Timor-Leste's young, inspiring, food innovators.


Both grew up in the rural mountains of Timor-Leste during a time of conflict. They are now promoting their own distinctive style of seasonal, healthy Timorese cuisine to local communities and international guests. 

Lucia and Safira are part of a first generation of Timor-Leste's new food leaders to be mentored through the team from Timor-Leste Food Lab. Together they manage and design the seasonal menu for Agora Food Studio. On a daily basis, they commit themselves to thinking differently: to not be restricted by standard menus and restaurant formats; to be guided by the equatorial seasons and the knowledge from their ancestors; to become plant-forward food champions who celebrate the seasonality of flavours; and, to advocate for native and heritage ingredients.
As our food researcher, Safira then documents these ingredients, techniques and traditional stories on an open-source platform. In doing so, we hope to encourage dialogue and collaboration that weaves into the richness of the equatorial culinary landscape.


Lucia and Safira's time is now to share Timorese food stories, ingredients and techniques with the world and learn from the best in Asia. Their dream is to participate in the 2018 Ubud Food Festival, held  in Bali, in neighbouring Indonesia from 12-15 April. This year's festival theme is "Generasi Inovasi" which puts the spotlight on those who are bringing the culinary industry into a new paradigm that values sustainability and local ingredients.

The Festival's masterclasses, food tours and cultural events over 4 days are built around the incredible and undervalued gastro-diversity of the Indonesian archipelago, of which Timor-Leste is a little known part. UFF is an ideal location for their first foray into the broader culinary world. The chance to travel and link with like-minded food innovators would open eyes their eyes to what is happening in the region. It would also give Lucia and Safira a new appreciation for the rich produce and indigenous knowledge that exists in their own country. 

Given their family and study commitments, Lucia (in her first job) and Safira (currently also a student) are unable to fund themselves at this point in their careers. We are asking our patrons to cover some of the costs of their travel, accommodation and attendance to the Festival, as well as to visit sustainable food businesses in Bali after the festival concludes.


We are a social enterprise and plant-forward restaurant based in Dili, Timor-Leste, located 8.8 degrees south of the equator.  This half-island nation is part of a greater archipelagic region with profound food diversity and bio-cultural history that we hope to research, experiment, taste and document, and then share to a wider audience. Every day is an exploration.

We currently mentor 16 Timorese youths to shape the future of food and agriculture in the Asia-Pacific region. With your support we can continue to connect them with other food innovators and thought-leaders across disciplines and geographies; with cooks and chefs from diverse culinary traditions; with farmers, producers, baristas and storytellers; with emerging innovative entrepreneurs whose core business demands a sustainable planet. View  Our 2017 Impact here .

- Return flights for both Lucia and Safira;
- Accommodation for Lucia and Safira, including a week after the festival for Lucia to stagiare at top restaurants; 
- Tickets to attend workshops, dinner events and masterclasses at the Ubud Food Festival
-  Cost of daily transportation and food


 See top
  • Nikki Poteri-Collie 
    • $100 
    • 34 mos
  • Meena and James Benjamin 
    • $50 
    • 34 mos
  • Rani Lewis-Jones 
    • $200 
    • 34 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
  • Kieran Kilmartin 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
See all


Mark Peter Notaras 
Denistone West NSW
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