In front of the entrance to the Kursaal the participants could dine at their leisure during the evening of their arrival, as intended by the organisers, thanks to a ‘food truck’, this new formula for ‘grabbing a bite’ which is all the rage.
The Musketeers at work
Sanne Huygens, President of the Organising Committee, was surrounded by her five ‘Musketeers’, as she affectionately referred to them. Each of them has a specific role. Valentin Mentior is Vice-President; Luc de Roo is General Secretary; Ives Coppens is Treasurer; Luc Bastiaens is in charge of the competitions; and Eddy Collette is Commissioner. And of course they have the same motto: All for one and one for all!
Cutting off the top of a champagne bottle with a sabre
This is a spectacular exercise which consists of cutting off the cork from the champagne bottle with one single blow of a sabre. This exercise was part of the wine service competition and seems to have been well executed by the competitors. Some of the spectators were even entitled to a small glass.
At the opening ceremony it is traditional for the delegations to parade in alphabetical order behind their flag. This was not the case in Ostend, where the flags remained stationary in their bases. But on the evening of the closing ceremony that same flags were indeed present on the stage!
The Participating Belgian Schools
14 Hotel and Tourism Schools from Flanders participated in running the Ostend Conference. In total there were around 300 teachers and students who worked hard to ensure that the Conference ran smoothly. Hats off to them all!
At the gala dinner and for the main dish we witnessed a scene worthy of a Charlie Chaplin film. Indeed, the cooks were in two lines facing each other, and each of them had a specific task to perform in placing food in the plates, which were then promptly taken away by another service team. There might almost have been a stopwatch nearby! Julie Sels, Director of the Provincial Instituut PIVA, couldn’t conceal her pride. No surprise there, it was her students who were at work!
Ash tray or knick-knack holder?
Every year the Villeroy et Boch Company presents the participants (as far as stocks allow) with a ceramic object adorned with the AEHT logo as a souvenir of the event. This year the gift was a small tray which would be useful either as an ash tray or as a knick-knack holder.
A tour de force!
In the Erehal hall on the first floor they had to install a whole set of cubicles intended for use by the participants in the culinary arts and pastry competitions. These had to be provided with a water supply, drainage, electricity and all the other necessities. This was an amazing installation which had been set up, and which had to be uninstalled in a matter of a few hours to make way for the reception for the gala evening. Klaus Enengl even mentioned it during the closing ceremony, inviting a round of applause.
Our sponsors without whose help …
All conference organisers are well aware of this: without the help and contributions of sponsors, either in the form of goods or equipment or other donations, it would be very difficult to put on an event such as the Annual Conference. Thus it was that in Ostend there were ten or so sponsors lined up to support the 30th Anniversary, namely:
Palm Breweries-Beer Cornet, Kursaal Oostende, Stad Oostende, BelOrta, VLAM, Callebaut Chocolate, Rombouts Coffee, Smeets Dutch Gin, Horeca Vorming Vlanderen, De Lijn Transport.
And several discrete partners
In the Kursaal foyer several AEHT partners staffed an information desk to answer questions from interested teachers or students.
Marco Esposto, owner of the Casa della Divisa, was also present, always a faithful companion, even though this time he hadn’t brought with him the usual samples of his wares intended to provide a complete kit for hotel professionals.
A notable absentee
Serge Sevaux, the Grand Marnier representative, took his retirement at the beginning of the year. His absence was remarked upon, as was that of the Grand Marnier company which had supplied prizes each year, and provided bottles of the precious liqueur for the cocktail competition.