In the partnership with the Gault&Millau Slovenia, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB) has actively started to fulfil its goal from the Action Plan for the development and marketing of gastronomic tourism 2019-2023 – alongside raising international visibility and ensuring sustainability also creating added value is the key objective of STB’s activities. For achieving this objective, investing in education of the youth in the field of catering and hospitality is crucial. This commitment is fully in line with recently awarded title Slovenia, European Region of Gastronomy awarded 2021, a multilateral project with strong involvement of the Slovenian Tourist Board and officially entrusted to the Slovenian Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.
The first Gault&Millau Knowledge under the toque event, one of many in the framework of the European Region of Gastronomy 2021 project, took place in the capital city of Ljubljana on Monday, 20 May 2019, gathering more than 120 students from high vocational schools and colleges for hospitality and tourism as well as young employees from Slovenian hotels and restaurants. The programme on stage balanced practical culinary demonstrations with inspirational talks and professional guidance.
In the opening speech the Director of the STB Maja Pak Mag.Sc. reiterated the values of the Slovenia tourist brand that characterise Slovenian gastronomy: at the crossroad of diverse regional characters a unique blend of local & authentic and modern & innovative cuisine emerged and gained an international recognition over the past ten years, so there is no doubt that Slovenian gastronomy is now firmly pinned to the culinary map of the world. Consequently, an influx of gastronomical tourists from around the world has increased in the recent years and the demand for skilled and motivated hospitality staff is at alarming rates. The STB is fully aware of the importance of encouraging the youth to choose these rewarding professions in a wide field of hospitality and tourism.
The charismatic Weinakademiker Mira Šemić, also the Director of Gault&Millau Slovenia and Ambassador of the European Region of Gastronomy 2021 programme, introduced the basic sensory evaluation of wine. This ABC of wine tasting attracted the audience that could later on also experience first-hand how a sommelier chooses the perfect wine pairing for a complex dish. Joined by two local chefs, a presentation of traditional dishes with locally produced and foraged ingredients took place.
In the final speech of the day, for many the highlight of the event, Ana Roš, the Best Female Chef of 2017 (awarded by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant) and Ambassador of the European Region of Gastronomy 2021 programme, inspired the youth to dare dreaming big and reaching for the stars. Starting from scratch behind the stoves, she became a self-taught chef taking advantage of the absence of rules of the professional culinary education. Her out-of-the box thinking and introduction of the zero-kilometre philosophy for acquiring her ingredients made her restaurant Hiša Franko an international success. Not settling for mediocrity remains Ana’s moto and this message was definitely passed on to participants of the first Gault&Millau Knowledge under the toque event.
About the Regions of Gastronomy
Candidate and awarded Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together with the long-term aim to contribute to better quality of life by raising awareness about the importance of cultural and food uniqueness; stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; educating for better nutrition; improving sustainable tourism standards; highlighting distinctive food cultures; and strengthening community well-being.
IGCAT aims to raise awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies. IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism.
IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the European Region of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu project.