Louis Robert, AEHT President
Louis Robert is the current president, now in the final year of his mandate, and he declared himself entirely satisfied with the 21st Annual Conference. ‘There have been many innovations this year in Kuressaare, especially with electronic registration and with the prize-giving ceremony. The organisation has been excellent in every respect, even if a few little problems arose. As far as the accommodation was concerned I must say that, given the range of available hotels, it was entirely satisfactory. As for changes within the AEHT, we have seen a generation shift within the team; and I am very pleased that we once more have a French member of the Presidium – Annie Collinet who has replaced our friend Alfonso Benvenuto following his retirement. What’s more, I need to spell things out in my speech at the closing ceremony. You’ll see …’
Neeme Rand, Ametikool Director, organiser of the 21st Annual Conference
The gala dinner was gradually drawing to a close, and already some participants were getting ready for the road. Neeme Rand was beginning to catch his breath, sitting beside his beautiful wife. The hardest part was done – and well done. He gave me his first impressions as organiser with the ‘mission accomplished’ feeling: ‘I’m pleased. It’s over. It has taken a year’s hard work to prepare for this. Since September a total of one thousand pupils, students, teachers, technicians and administrative staff have been hard at work. Around 350 people have been involved in service, including preparing for the competitions, 250 have dealt with physical installations and 400 have handled all the technical aspects. I should also say that I have had support and help from the Tallinn school headed up by Meeli Kaldma who took charge of the transfers, and the equally precious help of a team from the team from Orebro in Sweden. My lieutenants have been Sirje Ellermaa, Maret Ounpuu and Helle Kuris. But absolutely everyone has worked magnificently'. And what about the finances? Neeme Rand smiles as he comments laconically: ‘I hope that everything will be paid for and that we’ll end up with a zero bottom line and no deficit. But I must say that the sponsors who supported us have also been very important.’ All in all, ‘We are satisfied’.
Annie Collinet, AEHT Vice-president
Annie Collinet has been a stalwart of the AEHT for as long as we can remember; since 1995 she has been the director of the François Bise hotel school in Bonneville, France, where she organised Christmas in Europe in 1999; she has also set up a European Section in her lycée. In Kuressaare she was elected vice-president to replace Alfonso Benvenuto who has taken retirement; she therefore inherits the latter's responsibility for the areas of higher and continuing education. As part of her new tasks Annie Collinet would like to set up a special programme of study under the aegis of the AEHT, and she intends to work on it!
Ahti Paju, in charge of communications and AEHT webmaster
With his orange T-shirt and looking very much like one of the students, Ahti Paju has an important place in the Ametikools’ staffing structure: That of ‘Information Technology Manager’ of the Ametikool and also, by the way, the AEHT’s webmaster. He discretely controls all aspects of information from his Office 206. ‘It’s more of a passion and a hobby than a job’, he admits. ‘My job is to help my colleagues at the school. As to the work as AEHT webmaster, I do it mostly outside my school working hours. Why? Because during my working hours I am all over the place, whereas you need to be able to concentrate for the webmaster work'. So it’s in the evenings and at weekends that he gets down to it. And it’s no easy job!
Taavi Tuisk, Ametikool Press Attaché
He was sitting at his computer putting the finishing touches to the sequencing of the prize-giving ceremony. He was also the composer and conductor of the opening ceremony. You could see him everywhere and he admitted that he could hardly spare the time for an interview – but he said it with a broad smile. He just has time to say that a lot of things have been done almost at the last minute. If you watched him belting the keyboards it certainly doesn’t look that way. You wouldn‘t be surprised to hear that he’s a perfectionist.
Part of the Front Office team at the Sports Centre
They were at the front line when it came to sorting out any problems when the participants first arrived. Meeli Kaldman, principal of the Tallinn school, Kerli Trave, a social worker and Eveli Kalias, a psychologist, both the latter from the Ametikool. They headed a team of around 30 people including 21 students in Kuressaare and seven at Tallinn airport. A really effective task force who managed to resolve quite a few little contretemps during these few days. ‘We find this work really interesting', they chorused, ‘It’s a new experience for us, and the work is completely different from what we usually do. But we are very proud of what we have managed to achieve …’
Antun Perusina and Josip Zuvela from Dubrovnik
They are an almost inseparable duo. Antun is the director of the Dubrovnik school and Josip, who retired two years ago, was a gastronomy teacher for 45 years. In a way he was Antun’s guest, invited as a way of thanking him for helping Antun in many and various ways over the years. And Antun, who will be organising the 22nd Annual Conference in Dubrovnik, points out that Josip is not only a colleague but also a friend. Josip also says how pleased he is to be in Kuressaare and proudly announces that he has written quite a few cookery and gastronomy books. He therefore feels entirely in tune with what is happening and will very definitely be one of the team next year to help Antun.
Students give their views
Jimmy Vriens (17) a pastry student and Glenn Maes (18) a culinary arts student. Both of them Belgians. A bit more talkative. ‘It's a pleasant experience. The competition with other students is excellent and we are happy to be here …’
Ludivine Christen (19), a food service student and Mélanie Voisin (18) a culinary arts student, are both French.
‘Seeing the whole of Europe coming together here is incredible, amazing! And the cultural side is excellent. We’ve met a lot of young people, and our conversations are really great …’