Slide 1
“Show me the concept”
International Competition
February 13 & 14, 2023
Invitez, The Hague Hospitality Experience Centre, The Netherlands
AC 2023
Slide 1
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Hans Russegger, Bad Ischl

"This Christmas is an anti-declaration of war!.."

Seeming always to be in two places at once, Hans Russegger, a teacher at the Bad Ischl Tourismusschule, AEHT treasurer, was the orchestra conductor of this 13th Christmas symphony. Sitting down for a few moments – you do need a little rest – in the famous Zauner pastry shop just like the famous visitors last century, he graciously agreed to be interviewed.
Yes, there are two people who really wanted to run this Christmas in Europe in Bad Ischl: Kurt Manetzgruber and me. But the biggest problem has been the question of finance and sponsors, because there aren’t really any large companies in the region. It became a real sponsor hunt. I have to admit that I lost sleep over it. And I would strongly advise future organisers to pay special attention to this aspect.
Then you have to be certain of the commitment of teachers and students. I have to say that they have all been amazing! Around 20 teachers of theoretical subjects and ten practical teachers immediately signed up. Just to mention a few names: Karl Geier, Monika Essl, Margot Oppelz and the head of department Alfons Schoergendorfer, Freddy Reimair were part of the key team of organisers, with Kurt Manetzgruber of course. We held two large meetings with everyone in charge of a given aspect, but of course there were other meetings to iron out problems, with small teams being set up. This took place over the period of a year.
I have to admit that what impressed me most was that all these people worked night and day, sometimes until they almost dropped, to ensure that this Christmas in Europe ran perfectly. And I think we managed it. And this Christmas in Europe, it is a really anti-declaration of war, it is a real manifestation of peace in Europe, isn’t it?

Klaus Enengl, director of the Bad Ischl school

About three quarters of an hour before the closing ceremony of this 13th Christmas in Europe in Bad Ischl, when the joyful atmosphere at the gala dinner was at its height, Klaus Enengl was a happy man. ‘Ausgezeichnet! Es war wirklich ausgezeichnet’ he said in his beautiful Austrian accent. ‘For me this Christmas in Europe was not complicated because I had a fine time around me. I am very proud of them, and many people took part in it. Of course, towards the end everyone felt the stress but the team I mentioned is battle-hardened and above all flexible. There weren’t any particular worries and for the sponsors we divided up the work. These four days have been ‘wahnsinnig schön’, it was absolutely superb. I hope that all schools can organise an event like this, and I think that the inhabitants of Bad Ischl and its region really welcomed this Christmas in Europe. I am already looking forward to next year and the 14th Christmas in Europe in Portugal!’

Maria José Martins, Fundaj

One is surprised on meeting Maria José Martins. You might think she is a student, whereas in fact she is the coordinator of the Fundaj school, an annex of the Coimbra school in Portugal, and responsible for organising next year’s Christmas in Europe. She is in a way the boss, no less, of the ‘Nucleo Escolar de Hotelaria e Tourismo’, INFTUR in Fundaj. The annex houses 150 students and 27 teachers. It is a very young school since it was set up three years ago’, explained Maria José Martin with a flashing smile!
How are you going to arrange things next year?
‘Oh, in Portugal the programme is going to be much the same. It will be different for the accommodation. We are here as observers, and what I have seen is very interesting. Especially as regards socialising. This is very important. Next year we will try to have more animations and meetings between our people and those who will come to Fundaj. In Portugal people live at night and the nights are short!
Have you already thought of the programme?
‘Not for the moment. You know, there are not many Christmas traditions in Portugal. But don’t worry. We will make sure that the 14th Christmas in Europe run well, in our own way. I think that we will be inviting 13 or 14 schools …’

Laurent Baudoin, Château-Chinon

It is the first time that Laurent Baudoin has taken part in Christmas in Europe with a team from his hotel school in Château-Chinon. He is obviously amazed. During the European buffet evening he confided to me: ‘I am amazed to see how these young people harmoniously combining so many specialities on one plate in one evening. And all these people talking to each other, it’s really great!

Zvone Baskovc, Slovénie

You may wonder what someone like this is doing in a kitchen! The accordion is a natural extension of his hands, and he uses it with complete mastery. At 21 years old he has already been playing the accordion for ten years. But he sees things clearly. Even if he is cut out to play with any band, he sees that he will be spending his life with a foot in both camps.
‘I love cooking just as much as music’, he says. I will be finishing my studies in Maribor this year. And after that I want to give free rein to both my passions. This summer I was on placement at the Diekirch school in Luxembourg. And here everything is great. It is very interesting to meet other students and exchange ideas with them.’ But his friends are already waiting for him to play another tune on his accordion which clearly never leaves his side.décidément ne le quitte guère.

Marielle Gautherin, Château-Chinon

At 20 years old, Marielle Gautherin is already a young woman of resolute character. She had already distinguished herself by singing unaccompanied at the cultural evening ‘The Bird and the Child’, a song by Marie Myriam, winner of the Eurovision song contest in 1988. And even if she is learning restaurant service in Château-Chinon, that has not prevented her from being member of a choir for the last five years. For her too, this Christmas in Europe is a discovery: ‘I think it’s really great. All these different countries represented, all these young people mingling together. This allows us to discover things beyond France. I have made contact with a lot of other young people, and I really hope that later on we will be able to arrange other exchanges thanks to these meetings today!

Marc Tock , Luxembourg

At 18 years old, studying food preparation in Diekirch, this thickset Luxembourger has been playing the trumpet since he was 12 years old, and doesn’t conceal his pleasure at being in Bad Ischl. ‘What are my impressions? We have had an excellent time, I have been able to make new friends and the organisation of this Christmas in Europe is perfect. I’ve enjoyed this stay so much that I be coming back in two weeks and the Austrian friends will be coming to Luxembourg in February…’

Antonino Molinari, Messine

A typical Italian, 20 years old, studying food preparation, Antonino wears his regional costume with pride. This is his first time in Austria, and for someone from the ‘end of the boot’ of Italy he finds that it’s cold here! But, he says, people are warm here and I am very happy to be here. I have some trouble with the languages, but for us young people it is not a problem, we manage to understand each other anyway! We have exchanged telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. I would like to come back to Austria to work here … but only in the summer when it is warm!

Janos Kiss, Budapest

Janos Kiss is a cookery teacher from the Budapest school, and he exudes joie de vivre. Dressed in his regional costume, he looks like a student. And when he speaks of his stay in Bad Ischl, he waxes lyrical: ‘It’s great here! There are lots of people coming to visit the exhibition, the atmosphere is excellent and everything is OK. We have already run out of wine … But what is annoying is the parking charge in the Kurhaus !
3rd to 5th December 2018 in Riga
3rd to 5th December 2017 in Fátima
5th to 7th December 2018 in San Benedetto
2nd to 5th December 2015 in Diekirch

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