European Food Summit - European Food Summit: Evoke up!

European Food Summit: Evoke up!

Ljubljana, 11. 11. 2021

The European Food Summit, one of Europe's most important culinary events, is right around the corner. Between 6 and 8 November 2021, a series of culinary events will take place, culminating in the Summit on Monday, supported by the project partner, the Slovenian Tourist Board (STB), calling for action and changes for a better and more sustainable future. FOOD for a better TOMORROW!

In recent years, Slovenia has made great strides in gastronomy and is becoming an increasingly well-known destination for world-class culinary experiences. Gastronomy is one of the key tourism products of Slovenian tourism, profoundly contributing to the objective of creating increased added value. The European Food Summit, the principal event in gastronomy in Slovenia and one of the most important European culinary events, is also a unique platform that contributes to the creation of a sustainable future of European gastronomy.

According to the organiser Martin Jezeršek, Managing Director of Jezeršek Gostinstvo, the European Food Summit is an event that is needed not only in Slovenia, “There are many culinary events in Europe, but none of them aims to bring Europe together. Europe is unity. And we wanted to fill that void. The fact is that an event like the European Food Summit is necessary from several perspectives. In the field of sustainability, we see it as a link that connects every key stakeholder.”

Barbara Zmrzlikar, the head of Research, Development, Innovation and European Projects at the STB, points out that events of this kind are also crucial when it comes to Slovenia's visibility: “Slovenia is proving that it can dictate the direction of development and encourage constructive debate even in a challenging area such as the global impact of food on our joint future. Gastronomy is one of the key elements of Slovenia's tourist offer and has made remarkable breakthroughs in recent years. Thanks to the systematic and targeted approach to the development and promotion of sustainable gastronomy, Slovenia is becoming one of the world's most attractive gastronomic destinations.”

The importance of the event and networking is also recognised by the event partner, Ljubljana Tourism. Katarina Marinovič, External Associate in the field of product development at Ljubljana Tourism, "This year, we are delighted that the European Food Summit is taking place at a time when Ljubljana is celebrating its gastronomic offer, which brings together the best of flavours, ingredients and innovative approaches, presented by the best chefs... Of course, I am speaking about the November Gourmet Ljubljana festival that started this week and will last until the end of the month. Without a doubt, however, the main star is the European Food Summit along with accompanying events.”

The first accompanying event will take place this Saturday, 6 November, featuring a blend of cuisine, culture and architecture. Lovers of fine dining will take part in the Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl, a unique culinary tour of the cultural sites and landmarks of Ljubljana, where the crawlers will be spoilt by the top chefs of JRE Slovenia. The opening honour will go to one of the most promising young chefs, Luka Košir (Grič, Michelin Star), who will welcome visitors at the Slovenian Tourist Information Centre (STIC) and start them off on a unique culinary journey with his amuse-bouche. Aiming to inspire with their starters will be Marko Magajne (Galerija okusov, the Plate Michelin) at the Dobra vaga Gallery, designed by the world-renowned architect Jože Plečnik, which puts at the forefront the aesthetic contemplations of the younger generation of artists; at the Town Hall, Jorg Zupan (Atelje, Michelin Star, and Breg), a chef with limitless imagination and the youngest two-time Michelin Star recipient in Slovenia; at the Slovenian Museum of Natural History, where visitors can discover nature in a fun and appealing way, chef Nina Čarman (Danilo – gostilna in vinoteka, the Plate Michelin), who continuously draws inspiration from old and traditional recipes. For the main course, visitors will enter the world of illusion, where Chef Jure Tomič (Ošterija Debeluh, the Plate Michelin), without a doubt the most internationally recognisable name in cuisine in the Posavje region, will take the guests on an unforgettable experience of illusion at the House of Illusions. Chef Miha Dolinar (Mama Marija/Skipass) will introduce the crawlers to the wealth of cuisine from the kingdom of the Goldhorn at the Bankarium, the Banking Museum of Slovenia. The most picturesque venue is certainly the beautiful ambience of Ljubljana's Križanke, where the culinary creation by talented young Chef Leon Pintarič (Gostilna Rajh, BIB Gourmand) will see the light of day. They say that the best is always saved for last. The culinary tour will take to the verdant hill in the middle of the city, the Ljubljana Castle, where Chef Jernej Bende (Restavracija Mak, the Plate Michelin) will welcome visitors with dessert behind ancient castle walls. The participants will be left breathless both by the view of the city and the dessert.

On Sunday, 7 November, several visiting prominent international journalists will set out to discover the exclusivity of Slovenia and indulge in the unique stories of inspiring individuals on the I Feel Slovenia field trips. As Barbara Zmrzlikar, the head of Research, Development, Innovation and European Projects, explains, “The STB, which has been a key partner in the EFS since its inception, is again focusing its attention primarily on the project's promotional activities at home as well as abroad. In the context of the project, we will be hosting twenty-four international journalists in Slovenia, including representatives from the world's most influential media, such as Fallstaf, Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, Guardian, Forbes, Telegraph and Fine Dining Lovers.” Sharing their world-class culinary stories will be the duets of Tomaž Bevčič (Rizibizi) and Oljarna Lisjak (Matej Lisjak), Marko Pavčnik (Pavus) and biodynamic winemaker Aci Urbajc, Gostilna Repovž and Domaine Slapšak sparkling wines (Francois Botton), Boštjan Rakar (Gostilna Rakar) and Biosing charchuterie (David Lesar), Ksenija Krajšek Mahorčič (Gostilna Mahorčič) and BrinGin (Erik Sarkič), Uroš Gorjanc (Gostilna Krištof) and Šenkova domačija Jezersko (Polona Karničar).

On Sunday evening, foodies will have the opportunity to partake in an unforgettable culinary adventure – Ljubljana Soul Chefs, where Ljubljana’s top chefs will work together to create unforgettable and unique dishes. The chef duets of Jakob Pintar (TaBar) and Mojmir Šiftar (PEN KLUB) at the new PEN KLUB restaurant in Ljubljana, Bine Volčič with chef Gregor Jelnikar (Monstera), Luka Jezeršek with chef Sebastjan Elbl (Gostilna na Gradu) at Gostilna na Gradu, and Igor Jagodic (Strelec) and Janez Bratovž (JB) at the JB Restaurant will prepare exquisite menus from local ingredients with select wine pairings provided by the Home of Good Wines – Koželj.

On Monday, 8 November, the Ljubljana Castle will host the highlight of the event. At thetechnical conference, which will be held under the slogan “EVOKE UP!”, those whose actions speak louder than words will have the floor. Andrea Petrini, the event curator, offers the following encouragement, “Rise up! It is time for the European Food Summit! This is a time to revive stories, to invent poetry, to break down the boundaries and form new alliances, to share the experiences from our lives and to work together for an improved and better nourished world. “Awakening” does not mean dividing ourselves into two strands; we do not believe in divisions, in compartmentalisation, in witch-hunts, in boundaries – in gastronomy or elsewhere – that separate the bad from the good. This is a wake-up call, an invitation to get our hands dirty – and have fun in the process. It is no longer about the presentation. Instead, it is time to act. Join the Awakeners!”

The most renowned chefs and exceptional individuals from the culinary, scientific, artistic and media worlds, including the world's top chef René Redzepi (Noma, Denmark) (op. video), chef Ángel León (Aponiente, Spain), chef Nicolai Nørregaard (Kadeau, Denmark), chef Colombe Saint-Pierre (Chez St-Pierre, Canada) (op.), chef Rebecca Clopath (Switzerland), founder and president of the Parabere Forum Maria Canabal (France), Canadian journalist and activist Marie-Claude Lortie (La Presse, Canada), British writer John Lanchester (Great Britain), curator and art critic Nicolas Bourriaud (France), Andraž Tuš, Director of Energotuš Slovenia, Beti Vidmar, young researcher at the Biotechnical Faculty, Jeanne Dumas Chalifour and Matteo Monterumisi, local suppliers, will strive to inspire the participants with their stories and encourage us to take a more progressive stance for a better and more sustainable future. "Their mission is to inspire. And when the curtain falls on Monday, we want every individual to know that the role that they play is important. It is vital to start with ourselves. And if each of us changes at least one action in the direction towards a better and more sustainable future, I am positive that we can make a difference," says Martin Jezeršek.

The Summit will feature a not-to-be-missed roundtable discussion entitled Responsible and boutique farming as a response to the crisis, moderated by Ana Roš together with guest speakers Jože Podgoršek, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, cheese-maker Irena Orešnik (Sirarstvo Orešnik) and fish farmer Mitje Zupan (Ribogojnica Zupan), who will introduce the examples of successful local individuals who have managed, despite difficult circumstances, be they geographical, economic, social or sociological, to make the best of their situations and built sustainable and socially responsible businesses that weave stories of success that resonate well beyond Slovenia's borders.

Next follows the unforgettable Experience Dinner at the stunning renovated Cukrarna, where works of art by this year's Slovenian Michelin Star winners brought together for the first time into a single kitchen, Ana Roš (Hiša Franko), Gregor Vraček (Hiša Denk), Tomaž Kavčič (Pri Lojzetu), Uroš Štefelin (Vila Podvin), Uroš Fakuč (Dam), Jorg Zupan (Atelje) and Luka Košir (Gostišče Grič), will be on full display. With their unique creations, the unforgettable culinary indulgence in a series of accompanying culinary events of this year's European Food Symposium will be concluded.

It is time to put everything on the table!