Back to the future 2020: the place shown to us in the new SIHRE format

The formula of success is in the combination of a business platform and professional accompanying program

If there is an effort, there is always an accomplishment*. Referring this saying to the exhibition formats, this statement was proven only a few days ago. The place was the international exhibition for the Horeca sector SIHRE, where from 28 to 31 January, the event made one of the most important steps in its development with its first independent edition.

The realization of the new concept provided an opportunity for HoReCa exhibition to bring together at Inter Expo Center over 150 exhibitors from the fields of professional kitchen equipment and utensils, food for the horeca sector, interior design, equipment for hotels and restaurants, SPA and fitness and software.

For the first time a special place was given to the  "Hotels" issues. And all this – in symbiosis with the culinary event GastronomiX, the national qualification for Bocuse d'Or and new Professional workshop and conference formats dedicated to the latest topics in the sector.

"The new tradition must continue"

On an area of 10 000 sq. m, in four exhibition halls, more than 280 brands from Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, Romania, USA, Poland, Norway, UK, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Japan, Sweden, and China were presented.

Over 6100 visitors from Bulgaria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, Macedonia, Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Czech Republic etc. had the chance to learn more about the opportunities of the sector. They all appreciated the precision with which the organizers had approached every detail.

 "The international format must continue", the attendees commented. The concept leads to the development of current themes, through entering new niches in the horeca sector and a well-balanced accompanying program, the quality of which was compared to the world exhibitions in Western Europe...

World Class Chefs

The successful exhibition is the one that combines a business platform with a professional accompanying program. While the thousands of business visitors from Bulgaria and abroad were learning more about the offered products, services and ideas of over 150 local and foreign exhibitors, in Hall 1 of Inter Expo Center real culinary performances took place. There were more than just a couple of reasons to this.

This was the place where the culinary forum GastronomiX 2020, being already an integral part of SIHRE, enchanted the visitors. Paolo Kasagradne, a chef in Lasarte restaurant in Barcelona awarded with three Michelin stars, came from Spain especially for this event. Captivating with his outstanding skills and real presence, he presented to us Lasarte practices and taught us how to cook in consideration of the environment. The art director of Le Cordon Bleu in London, the Bulgarian known to the whole world chef-stage, chief Emil Minev, gave us ideas for creative dishes from inexpensive products. Chef Georgi Boykovski joined the world's famous chefs Pleiades.  Chef Yuri Baltaliyski from the Czech Republic took care of the dessert.

The world's first pizzeria and Oriental cuisine

Yummy... You felt the smell of pizza, didn’t you? Genaro Luciano arrived especially for GastronomiX 2020. In an unforgettable meeting the owner of the world's oldest pizza restaurant Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba let us know more about the history and details of pizza Napoletana.

The speciality of GastronomiX 2020 was also the Ottoman-Turkish culinary tradition in the modern Balkan cuisine. Chef Umut Karakush raged in the theme of "Balkan Cuisine with Anatolian taste". Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yozge Samandji, head of the Department of Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at the Yozyein University, Istanbul joint the event with her scientific knowledge. Chef Nihad Mameledzija from Bosnia and Herzegovina demonstrated traditional cuisine with bio ingredients in FingerFood style. From the owner of the legendary Mrizi I Zanave restaurant in Fista, chief Altin Prenga, we learnt how local traditions can become the basis of a successful model for SlowFood agrotourism and a restaurant. During all the exhibition days METRO chef Yuri Velev revealed to us the secret of Italian cheeses and dishes from milk-fed veal.

The national qualification for the most prestigious competition for young chefs Bocuse d'Or aired its star team, which will present our country at Bocuse d'Or Europe 2020. To go to the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, the culinary contest will meet Petar Nikolov, Hristo Filyov and Veselin Kalev. In addition to all this, the youngest demonstrated their skills, too. Being inspired, the students of Sofia Vocational Schools of Tourism (TOH) were competing in the categories "Best Young Chef" and "Best Bartender".

Industry events – Business and the digital environment

The organizers also put the foundations of new professional formats. The first edition of "Digital workshop for hotel and restaurant managers" was an exceptionally successful event with positive attitudes.  The   workshop room in the Exhibition hall No. 4 was extremely busy, where representatives of the business from all over the country got together. The lecturers Georgi Stefanov, Nikolay Yorgov, Blagoy Nikushev, Milan Stoykovich and Konstantin Zankov explained them in detail the common SEO errors on the hotels and restaurants websites, the correct online communication with the customers, Facebook Chatbots, the reputation on the Internet and attracting foreign partners, increasing sales, tourist services, additional tours, etc.

The better functioning of the hotel, the investments, the modern technologies and the growth of the business were the key topics of the workshop "Discussions with hotel managers: How to run a successful hotel?", organized by the Hotel Forum, Bulgarian Association of Professionals in Hotel Management (BPBM) and Inter Expo Center. Lecturers with many years of experience shared their experience and ideas, among which: Zhulieta Serafimova, Alex Kovachev, Svetoslav Panev, Milena Ivanova, Antonia Pislenska, Svetla Staneva, and Ivaylo Kozhuharov.

In conclusion, we can say that the new SIHRE format provided an open and friendly environment for all participants in the HoReCa sector, turning from an exhibition into a professional platform for meetings, exchange of ideas, assessment and mastering of skills, as well as a school for dreams!

* "If there is an effort, there is always an accomplishment" is a sentiment of Kano Jigoro – the founder of the Olympic sport Judo and one of the most respected physical education professionals in Japan.