HORECA 2017: From Lebanon to the World

A key reference for the world of hospitality and foodservice

HORECA, the annual meeting place for the hospitality and foodservice industries, has become synonymous with networking, innovation and knowledge-sharing over its long history. Celebrating the success of its 24th edition, which drew to a close on April 7 at BIEL, HORECA once again reaffirmed its position as the key trade only event in the region and the place where hospitality and foodservice professionals, decision-makers, experts and participants unite.

HORECA 2017 gave more than 18,000 visitors the opportunity to discover over 2,500 brands as it highlighted the latest in catering equipment, packaging and labeling, interiors, hygiene, pastry and bakery, food, beverage, coffee and tea, consultancy and recruitment, in addition to a long list of other related sectors.

The four day exhibition placed emphasis on all aspects of the industries through more than 25 daily competitions, events, demonstrations and conferences. Furthermore, the exhibition halls brought together more than 350 exhibitors from around the world, proving to be a successful tool for showcasing the newest products and cutting-edge technologies, as well as providing a platform for business exchange.

All in all, HORECA provided a gateway for trade to meet, build new contacts, spotlight the latest developments and celebrate the high-flyers and rising talents in hospitality and foodservice.

Hospitality Salon Culinaire and Junior Chef Competition
The Hospitality Salon Culinaire has long been one of the main attractions of HORECA and this year was no exception. Offering a platform for seasoned chefs and juniors to show off their skill in live contests and food displays, the salon has evolved in line with food trends and the changes in consumer taste.

In its 17th edition, more than 250 chefs competed in over 20 live shows and display categories to impress the team of judges with their elaborate creations. Indeed, more than 25 international celebrity and Michelin star chefs, assessed the skills of the competitors in a range of exciting contests such as the Best Sandwich Challenge and Best Burger Competition. Renowned chefs making their HORECA debut this year included three Michelin Star Chef Thomas Buhner from Germany, European pastry champion Chef Thierry Bamas from France and master baker Chef Amandio Pimenta from France, to name just a few.

Furthermore, the 2017 edition had a more visible local twist, endorsing the slogan for the 2017 event “From Lebanon to the World.” As a region known for its rich gastronomy and Beirut recognized as the capital of taste in the Middle East, the Mediterranean was a recurrent theme with a number of cooking competitions promoting and celebrating the region’s cuisine.

The Junior Chef Competition, a platform for Lebanon’s talented hospitality students from various hotel management schools and other universities around the country, also embraced local tradition with a Lebanese appetizers challenge.

Lebanese Bartenders Competition
Putting the art of bartending on center stage, the dynamic Lebanese Bartenders Competition showcased the talent, precision and creative flair of more than 30 bartenders, who battled it out for the top prize of 1,000,000 LBP.

As an HORECA favorite for over a decade, the high-octane competition, which this year celebrated its 15th edition, provided an excellent insight into the latest bar trends and technical skill behind innovative cocktail-making.

The guest judges Guy Musart (France), Khaled Derouiche (France) and Andreas Tsanos (Spain), were a hit with the participants and spectators alike for their energy and passion. Special workshops took place with the experts, including a special Cuban Mojito demonstration.

Art of Service Competition
The Art of Service Competition empowered foodservice professionals and hotel management students, allowing them to showcase their talents in offering supreme guest experiences. Skills were tested and evaluated by an expert jury including Pascal Obrecht (France), award-winning service expert and recipient of Best Craftsman of France, certified professor in service and marketing and Master of Service and Arts of the Table.

For the second consecutive year, the contest included a written test, completed by participants ahead of the show. The test comprised a series of multiple choice questions, as well as spotting faults in a picture to test knowledge and skills.

Wine Lab
Lebanon’s wineries have not only grown in number but have also attracted the attention of an even larger international audience and the Wine Lab at HORECA provided a forum for enthusiasts to meet the leading wine experts and engage in daily wine tasting sessions. Discovering the latest trends and product innovations, the lab had together more than 10 of the country’s top wineries.

On the agenda, Najib Moutran, owner of The Wine Teller, offered daily wine tasting sessions for visitors wanting to learn more about white, red and rosé varieties, as well as arak. Furthermore, discussions and workshops were offered with experts David Wrigley from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (UK), Gerald Franz, a wine journalist and blogger (Germany) and Najib Motran (Lebanon).

Lebanese Barista Competition
HORECA highlighted the skills of more than 20 baristas in a nail-biting contest. The Lebanese Barista Competition, in its third year, focused on technical ability, professionalism and artistic flair and was judged by an international jury comprising Branislav Beronja (UAE), Orkun Karaman (Turkey) and Safa Salehi (Iran).

Bed Making Competition
The art of bed making is no easy feat and HORECA’s Bed Making Competition highlighted just how tricky it can be, especially under pressure. For the third consecutive year, visitors discovered the latest housekeeping techniques with professional housekeepers and learnt practical tips on how to make the perfect bed.

National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest

Gathering more than 30 extra virgin olive oil producers, the National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Contest crowned its 2017 winner as chosen by a panel of local and international expert judges.

In its 12th year, the event highlighted daily sessions with olive oil experts, chefs and consultants, who assisted visitors in learning the secrets behind the different types of extra virgin olive oil and how to pair with food. Given the focus on Lebanese flavors at this year’s HORECA, this much-loved product of the region played an even greater role.

Atelier Gourmand
The Atelier Gourmand boasted a wide variety of daily cooking workshops with French chefs working in the leading restaurants in Lebanon and gave visitors the chance to discover their unique cooking techniques and specialty dishes.

The event ended with a fun gourmet improvised workshop in the presence of Chef Guillaume Gomez, where visitors were able to sample seafood tartar, beef and other delicious items and win valuable prizes with MEREF.

Meeting Point
HORECA provided budding entrepreneurs with an opportunity to meet industry experts and consultants and discussed their business plans and ideas.

The Meeting Point served as an open door for those seeking hot new job opportunities and an ideal occasion for students to check out vacancies on offer in their respective fields.

Annual Hospitality Forum
Organized by Hospitality News magazine, the forum highlighted daily conferences and talks, giving the opportunity to all key players in the hospitality industry to share their knowledge and to give valuable insight, highlighting the current trends.

Highlights included roundtables with the leading figures in Beirut’s nightlife, food and beverage facilities at malls and alternative accommodation offerings.

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See you next year at Horeca 2018 from 20 to 23 March

Click to check List of winners