Mission accomplished! Athens will be the venue for the 37th World Association of Chefs Societies Congress in May, 2016. The decision was taken by the majority of the 75 countries who participated in the voting process, on Saturday 5 May, during the 35th WACS Congress held in the city of Daejeon, South Korea. The other two contestants bidding against Athens were Johannesburg and Istanbul.
Through this decision, Greece establishes its prominent position in the international gastronomic scene, since the 37th World Association of Chefs Societies Congress is expected to attract over 2000 participants, including internationally acclaimed chefs, as well as talented chefs now emerging on the gastronomic stage, who will potentially be given the opportunity to sample authentic Greek flavours for the first time. This particular event has never before been held in a European city of the Mediterranean, and is expected to serve as a dynamic promotion for Athens, Greece and also Mediterranean food, while financially benefiting the companies involved.
The bid was submitted by the Hellenic Chefs’ Federation on behalf of Greece and its successful outcome was framed by the practical support of the Athens Convention Bureau and the Greek National Tourism Organization, as well as the financial contribution of the Municipality of Athens.
The result marks a huge success, since Greece is currently experiencing a period of economic decline which it is trying to overcome, by making efforts to put its economy on the road to recovery and improve its image in the international media. In Daejeon, South Korea, the presence of the Greek delegation was exceptional and, in combination with the excellent relations built with the representatives of the World Association of Chefs Societies, was able to outbid the other two co-candidate cities. In the first round, Athens received 27 votes, followed by Johannesburg with 24 and Istanbul with 22. About 50% of our goal –or perhaps somewhat more- had been achieved. In the second round of voting, Athens beat Johannesburg hands down.
Systematic work leads to positive results!
The Greek delegation set off for the grand final in Southeast Asia on 29 April. The President of the Hellenic Chefs’ Federation, Mr Miltos Karoubas, the Treasurer of the Federation, Mr Vasileios Karoubas, and other representatives travelled to S. Korea from Athens, together with the company coordinating the bid, ARTION Conferences & Events, represented by Ms Despoina Amarantidou and Ms Zoi Pazaiti. Also present were the Metropolitan of Korea Amvrosios and the Ambassador of Greece in Seoul, Mr Petros Avgerinos.
A few days earlier, over 600 kg of Greek delicacies had been delivered, as typical examples of the country’s gastronomy, which were offered to the participating chefs during the five days of the congress, and were greatly praised. A large number of indicative products from the Greek and Mediterranean gastronomic tradition were provided by food industry professionals, and were enthusiastically received. The Greek pavilion evolved into the most popular meeting point of the 35th Congress in Daejeon, with foreign guests present on a permanent basis, who came to ask about the Greek cuisine, and to discuss the current situation in our country.
The Greek companies who supported the Greek delegation by sending food were CHALARIS SA – traditional wrapped desserts from Tinos, KIMONAS – bakeries, patisseries, catering from Lemnos, ΤΟ PARADOSIAKO – traditional desserts from Zakynthos, PROTOPSALTIS ΤASOS – CREAM & CHOCOLATE – patisserie from Athens, VRYSSA S.A. – drinks, wine from Tyrnavos, RANTEVOU – patisserie/bakery from Naxos, TERRA CRETA SA – The traceable olive oil from Crete, KRITON ARTOS – bakery goods from Crete and THE CHIOS GUM MASTIC GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION – mastic sweets and bonbons from Chios.
The three bids were presented on Thursday 3 May, with Greece and Athens gaining the advantage. The simplicity and concise content of the presentation script, which highlighted the history and infrastructure of Athens, served to support the lobbying work that had been systematically undertaken by the Greek mission, not only during the five days in Korea, but also in the previous period. Thus, the positive result was ensured after the systematic and targeted work that had taken place.
The WACS Congress is of institutional, cultural and economic interest. It has been held without fail since 1928, except for the period of World War II. It has been hosted by 22 cities around the world so far, its duration is five days and approximately 2000 delegates from all five continents take part. At present, WACS boasts 87 members – official national chefs’ federations from around the globe. The WACS Congress of 2014 will be held in Norway; in 2010 the event was organized in Chile.