In brief – during the four-day period, various interesting activities will take place, most notably the technical conference moderated by Ana Roš and Andrea Petrini featuring inspiring stories by the world’s most distinguished chefs, a culinary tour of cultural sights and landmarks with Ljubljana’s top chefs during the Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl, the Open Kitchen pre-premiere at Križanke, the unforgettable Experience Dinner, the Audi Gourmet Cup and so much more.
“We realise that this year, the goals that we have set for ourselves are quite ambitious. Regardless, we are absolutely positive that with the right people, in a few years, we will be known as one of the most prominent culinary events in Europe,” predicts Martin Jezeršek, director at Jezeršek Catering, who is not afraid to raise the (food) bar (this event is the successor to the Ljubljana Gourmet Cup).
One of the reasons for the confidence is the fact that, for this year’s technical conference held at Ljubljana Castle in cooperation with the Slovenian Tourist Board (STO), they were successful in teaming up with talent scout and curator, Andrea Petrini, famous as a facilitator throughout the culinary world and one of the most prominent figures in high cuisine, described by the press as “The God of Food”. “With his and Ana’s help, we will be able to bring to Slovenia the most famous chefs in the world which will be the envy of even the largest European food festivals,” adds Martin Jezeršek.
This year’s premiere surprise is without a doubt Chef Andoni Luis Aduriz (Mugaritz, ranked 9th on the World‘s 50 Best Restaurants, two Michelin Stars, Spain), one of the most influential chefs of the period, a true kitchen revolutionary. We must not forget rising star Chef Jordan Kahn (Destroyer and Vespertine, USA), who will lead us on experience through the microcosm.
Other appearances that will attempt to promote a more progressive mentality and behaviour for a better and more sustainable future include cult Chef Andreas Caminada (Schloss Schauenstein, ranked 47th on the World‘s 50 Best Restaurants, three Michelin Stars, Switzerland), and complex art enthusiast, Chef Christopher Pelé (Le Clarence, two Michelin Stars, France). Chef Esben Holmboe Bang (Maaemo, ranked 35th on the World‘s 50 Best Restaurants, three Michelin Stars, Norway) will tell the story of a Danish boy with a dream, who became the first chef in Norway to be awarded three Michelin Stars. Up next are Chef Leonor Espinosa (Leo Restaurant, Best Female Chef Latin America 2017 and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, Colombia), and visionary and “Greek mythologist”, Chef Riccardo Camanini (Lido 84, named Chef of 2017 by Identità Golose, Italy).
Our understanding of food, boundaries and our prejudice will be challenged by an Italian reporter, writer and editor, Georges Desrues, with an interpretation of the cultural history of Europe. With Ivan Brincat (Food and Wine Gazette, Belgium), one of the most insightful European journalists, we will overcome natural geographical boundaries. Without a doubt, Joe Warwick, London-based restaurant critic and food writer, author of the best-selling Where Chefs Eat and co-founder of The World Restaurant Awards, will aim to inspire and spice up the conference with his lecture dubbed “The Brexit Food Tsunami Clusterf**k“, or how Brexit will impact the European food situation, putting it at a disadvantage.
We will be taken on the search for answers to questions like, why innovations in food are globally important, with Danish researchers Afton Halloran (Nordic Food Policy Lab) and Roberto Flore (DTU Skylab – Technical University of Denmark), who collaborate with numerous internationally recognised chefs in discovering new technologies for restaurants and cultivators of the future. Are you ready to push the limits of food, science, technology and commitment to humanity?
Speeches by the culinary elite will be complemented by other engaging speakers who have been driving progress in food in their respective countries. The energetic Valter Kramar (Hiša Franko, Hiša Polonka) will share his thoughts on natural wine that has been spreading throughout Europe. Alenka Lipušček (Mlekarna Planika dairy), director, who never forgets her milking duties before heading to her company offices and loves spending her summers tending to Alpine pastures and making cheese, will tell her story of respect for nature, tradition and the environment. Not unlike Mateja Gravner (Vinarstvo Gravner), daughter of renowned winemaker, who grew up among vineyard trellises learning from her father, joining him on the quest of popularising the wondrous amphora wine throughout the world. Last but not least, we will be joined by a man addicted to testing the limits – imaginary or real – the brain behind Open Kitchen, the most popular food market in the region, Lior Kochavy.
If what you are after is tasting what the best Slovenian restaurants and eateries have to offer at a single location, you should not miss out on Saturday’s culinary festivities in Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, sponsored by Ljubljana Tourism. On this occasion, the European Food Summit will kick off with the Open Kitchen pre-premiere at Križanke (Trg francoske revolucije).
What is more, on Saturday, foodies and gourmands will be treated to another European Food Summit first: the Gourmet Ljubljana Crawl, an innovative culinary tour where Ljubljana’s cultural sights and landmarks will transform into exclusive pop-up eateries. During your crawl through the streets of Ljubljana, head for the DobraVaga Gallery and enjoy fresh fish delicacies with Jakob Pintar (TaBar). At the Kresija Gallery, enjoy an urban culinary experience by Janez Bratovž (JB Restaurant), and at the Museum of Illusions, Jorg Zupan (Atelje Restaurant) will lead you on a fantastic adventure of mirages and illusions. At the charming atrium of the Ljubljana Town Hall, an urban main course will be served by Chef Igor Jagodic (Strelec Restaurant), while atop the Ljubljana Castle walls, with a spectacular view of Ljubljana’s ancient centre, Chef Peter Kovač (Maxim Restaurant) will be preparing an authentic medieval meal. For the grand finale, Chef Mojmir Šiftar (Evergreen Restaurant) will treat the crawlers to an unforgettable dessert in the lively atmosphere of Ljubljana’s Križanke.
For the second consecutive year, the European Food Summit has been receiving plenty of attention. Namely, the Experience Dinner, where 120 guests will be treated to a nine-course dinner by chefs Ana Roš (Hiša Franko), Ricardo Cammanini (Lido 84) and Luka Košir (Gostišče Grič Restaurant), has already been sold out. Select top-quality Slovenian wines accompanying the four-hour gourmet dinner will be provided by Koželj, Home of Good Wines.
Just as popular is the five-star I FEEL SLOVENIA Cable Car Dinner, a one-off experience high among the mountaintops of the Kamnik-Savinja Alps. This event is also already sold out. In the scope of the multi-day excursion across Slovenia based on a special invitation by event partner Slovenian Tourist Board, the Cable Car Dinner at the Krvavec Ski Resort will also host a number of notable international and European food reporters. After the highly anticipated visit to Hiša Franko, where Ana Roš will premiere her new spring menu, the day will conclude in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps, with a unique culinary experience by the creative minds of Jezeršek Catering and Gostilna Krištof Restaurant.
A traditionally diverse programme will take place also at the slopes of Krvavec in the context of the Gourmet on Snow, where foodies and skiers will be treated to masterpieces by top chefs from throughout Slovenia. Bright and early, Tuesday will kick off a true festival of food and skiing, beginning with an Argeta Exclusive gourmet breakfast hosted by the ingenious Luka Košir and the ski race bib draw. Next, foodies, caterers and winemakers, for the first year in a separate category, will take to the slopes and compete for gold in the Audi Gourmet Cup.
The programme is truly remarkable, and it will not be long before it becomes apparent if the organisers, as has been suggested, really have bitten off more than they can chew. Although, if you are at all familiar with them, you might have already guessed that with the help of every participant, event partners STO and Ljubljana Tourism, caterers, winemakers and other hosts contributing to the project, this year’s event will once again be a complete success. “You know, the only thing that could go wrong is the weather”, is what they say in our parts. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that the weather holds out during the European Food Summit between 16 and 19 March.
European Food Summit website: www.foodsummit.eu.