Julian Zarb | Wednesday, 25 November 2009

‘Malta Kulinarja’ Malta’s first national culinary event

Julian Zarb

This week, the Malta Chefs Society will inaugurate the first ever National Culinary Arts Championship at the Oracle Room in Qawra. The three day event should prove a success with gastronomic enthusiasts as well as that person who is looking for ideas that one can adopt for that special dinner party over the coming festive seasons or it could be just another event where the ordinary man in the street can find some interesting past time on a Sunday afternoon to keep the family quiet!
I fear that out of all the possibilities for the Malta Kulinarja, the last one will, perhaps, fit the bill. There is nothing wrong with that, mind you, one can still learn something new even if there is no particular purpose or reason for visiting an event. The Malta Chefs Society was set up earlier this year to bring together two other Chef Societies – the Malta Cookery and Food Association and the Malta Culinary Association. The objectives for this amalgamation was, primarily, driven by a concern for duplication – duplication in activities, recognition and financial resources. Both associations had split its members into two camps and like the traditional village band club that, in some localities, has mutated into two or even three such organizations it was also splitting loyalties, commitment and objectives. Through the efforts of both committees, led by their Presidents, Guido Debono and Martin Camilleri, a deal was struck and in January 2009 the first Annual General Meeting was organized for the Malta Chefs Society. But this was not going to be another permeation of its predecessors, the aim was to create a strong National Association that would focus on continuous learning, innovation, research and enhancement of the Catering Profession.
This first edition of Malta Kulinarja which is being organized by Malta Chefs Society aims to set those objectives into practice. One example of this strategy in action can be illustrated with the success of a committee decision to invite schools to organize educational visits to Malta Kulinarja. The result was overwhelming, and this shows that there is a great interest to learn more about professional food preparation and presentation ; Malta Kulinarja will be an opportunity to all the participants to experience live cooking under international regulations set out by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), regulations that were drafted by a Maltese Chef, Paolino Schembri, who is also the Education Officer for the Malta Chefs Society. The event has been endorsed by WACS and, for the first time will be featured on the WACS website that has an international catchment area.
But how can Malta Kulinarja and the Malta Chefs Society really affect the value for money and the quality of our catering product for our clients, local and foreign today? The whole idea of culinary championships is not to show predominance over other participants, it is, rather, a platform where all participants can be inspired and learn new techniques and innovations; it is a place where uniqueness and attractiveness – two important factors in product development, can be tested and assessed.
But Malta Kulinarja could not have been organized this year without the strong support from the hotel and restaurant sector, the Malta Tourism Authority, numerous suppliers and the dedicated commitment of the committee led by Guido Debono . It is this commitment that ensures our attractiveness as a tourism destination will remain competitive and authentic and will add value to our sense of hospitality and service. When the doors open on Malta Kulinarja, tomorrow, at the Dolmen Hotel in Qawra I would recommend that you should be there to witness the event – you may not be a gastronomic buff, you may not even be interested in hosting festive dinners but you will certainly feel proud that there is someone who is really creating a National feel good factor through food!


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25 November 2009


Malta Today


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