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Message from Continental Director South Europe
Monday, 25 August 2008
Dear friends and colleagues,
After the 33rd WACS Congress in Dubai, Southeast Europe has gained new members. Now united with the former eleven countries included in this area are Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro. Not forgetting the new WACS Extraordinary Members in our area: Rimini Fiery Spa Maribe and the Ekin Group from Istanbul.
What awaits us in the future?
The first and very important event for us all is the IKA in Erfurt which will take place from the 19th to 22nd of October 2008. The competition is very important for everyone in the industry and I think that many of us have been busy preparing our teams for this.
The Board of WACS is planning to raise a stand and organize on every alternate day the gathering of continental directors and other board members, so I hope that we will meet there and have the time to exchange some words.
The following is information that I have received from colleagues from the Turkish Chef Federation about their salon and competition at the Istanbul Gastronomy Festival which will be held from the 28th to 31st January 2009:
“ISTANBUL GASTRONOMY FESTIVAL:
CALLING YOU TO THE SYMPHONY
Meeting of Tastes Where Two Continents Meet…
The nature of making people embrace each other and the nature of tourism can be proven particularly in gastronomy with material examples. The events that gather the food cultures of various countries make great contributions to the world-wide spread of tourism.
We are sure that dear Tony Theuma, who contributed greatly in bringing to reality the Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival, a gathering of the most important chefs of the world, would be very touched if he could see the level that the contest has reached.
Cuisine professionals of the most important and leading tourism facilities of Turkey are competing with each other to exhibit their talents by participating in the contest. Our chefs also achieve success in foreign countries and come back with excellent results from those contests, which makes us all proud of them.
The Istanbul International Gastronomy Festival grows every year, is a successful and effective feature of the City, and must be seen as the success of the Turkish tourism sector.”
If you remember the presentations in Dubai, our colleague from Malta presented the Mediterranean Culinary and Folklore Festival.
This will be a Gastro-Experience aimed at the promotion of fresh and genuine Mediterranean food products. In recent years, Mediterranean food has been globally recognized for its nutritional and health values and this festival will serve as a platform to promote these products in a professionally culinary artistic manner and will provide chefs from various countries the opportunity to express their skills and promote food products from their respective lands.
The festival will serve as a platform to create further awareness not only of the health and nutritional values of Mediterranean cuisine, but also its wide range of cooking and preparation methods and its versatility and adaptability to be fused with other world cuisines.
The participating countries will also be encouraged to promote food products as well as their folklore and heritage in the form of traditional dancing, arts and crafts. From the educational aspect, seminars, conferences and other similar activities will also be organized.
The festival will create opportunities for emerging Mediterranean countries to start integrating themselves within the international culinary community. Above all, it will help create a sense of unity amongst the participating countries with them enjoying a common Mediterranean heritage and working towards a common goal, without reference to race, creed, colour or religion.
Twenty-one modern states have a coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. They are:
*Spain,*France, Monaco, *Italy, *Malta, *Slovenia , *Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, *Montenegro, Albania, *Greece, *Turkey, *Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, *Israel, *Egypt, Libya. Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco (* WACS Members)
- The event may be held on an annual or bi-annual basis, depending on which will be most practical and feasible. The official participants will be the Culinary Associations who, in turn, will be representing their respective countries.
- It should preferably always be held at the same period. This festival will be held in the first week of February 2009. In this way, we will avoid clashing with other major international events and will facilitate planning well in advance.
- The duration of the festival will be between three and five days.
- The festival will be organised on three platforms:
- A culinary competition.
- Exhibition of food & beverage products as well as arts and crafts, folklore and dance performances.
- Educational activities such as seminars, workshops, demonstrations etc.
- The Culinary Competition will take the format of the Mediterranean Chef of The Year (both senior and junior classes), as well as Patissier of the Year (one class only).
- As for the exhibition aspect of the festival, each participating country will be allocated an area for the exhibition of various traditional food specialities as well as beverages such as wine and liqueur, etc. Manufacturers will be given the opportunity to exhibit their products. This same area will also serve for the exposition of arts and crafts, such as textiles, weave, pottery, ceramics, old culinary implements, paintings etc.
- A set of criteria will be set for a country to be eligible for selection as a venue for the festival. The criteria will take into consideration elements such as practical flight connections, previous experience in the organization of similar events, the establishment of a culinary association, availability of suitable exhibition space with nearby accommodation and facilities, etc.
- This being an event closely linked to the tourism industry, it is essential that the participating associations do so in close collaboration with their respective national tourism organization.
In March 2008, our colleagues from Croatia will be organizing the European WACS Conference in Split. I have already contacted them and we are working on a program which we will present in Erfurt.
Also, I have contacted Fausto from Portugal who will be the next organizer of the WACS Global Chefs Challenge Semi-Final in May 2009 in Lisbon.
What I plan for the near future:
- I will work on preparing all information regarding activities in our part of Europe and send it to all of you.
- As I have time and availability, I will visit as many of the culinary competitions in South Europe and report on them to the board of WACS.
- I will try to establish contact with Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania and see if they have associations that would like to join WACS.
- If all the member associations send me details of culinary competitions going on in their countries, we can put up a list of all competitions in Southern Europe.
- I will be working on an education program and equivalence program.
I hope to see as many of you in Erfurt in October and around South Europe.
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