The AEHT Annual Conferences are never the same from year to year. The conference organised by the I.P.S.E.O.A. Tonino Guerra in CERVIA was certainly part of this pattern, and from 5th to 10th October this School pulled out all the stops to ensure that everything was in place so that more than 600 participants could enjoy a conference programme that was both dense and fruitful.
The 11 competitions for more than 300 students, the formal meetings such as those of the Presidium, the Executive Board and the General Assembly, the four workshops, the evening events, the excursions and the visits – in organising all this the school director Carla Maria Gatti and her team, her deputy Francesco Lanzoni, the teachers and the students did everything in their power to ensure the success of this annual meeting, the highlight of the AEHT’s calendar.
No fewer than 600 delegates from 30 countries thus made their way to Cervia for this event just at the time when this seaside resort on the Adriatic coast was entering its annual period of lethargy. But this 28th Annual Conference awoke the Sleeping Beauty – for a few days.
As for the 11 competitions included in the programme, they provided the opportunity for the 300-odd competitors to measure up to each other, in teams drawn by lots, and to try to win. But, as in the Olympic Games, even if not everyone can be a winner, the main thing was to take part, and the presentation of the medals and certificates was the best proof of this; for three days the competitors enjoyed almost perfect competition conditions, the judges were highly attentive, and overall the machinery for the competitions appeared to be well-oiled.
As for the gala evening signalling the end of this 28th Annual Conference, no-one had ever seen such a reception, held in the Cervia/Pisignano air-force base, with an aperitif served in the protective shade of two helicopters intended mostly for rescue missions; this was followed by a high-quality dinner prepared and served from A to Z by the teams from the School in an enormous military hangar which had been painstakingly decorated. The celebrations took place in the presence of Giuliano Poletti, Minister of Labour; Lieutenant General Tomaso Invrea, Chief of Staff of the Italian Air-force, as well as numerous VIPs including a number of officers from the air base.
Thus it was that the guests from many different places could appreciate and share the true gastronomic treasures of Emilia-Romagna for these few days. Next year the setting will be different, it will be London, where this time the London Docklands Academy will host the Conference.