BEIRUT: Sparkling disco balls and glitter-covered number 20s decorated tabletops at Tuesday’s news conference launching HORECA’s 20th anniversary edition.
But despite recent hospitality industry woes, the festive atmosphere was no less than fitting: Over a month ahead of time, HORECA’s exhibition space at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure center is already almost fully booked, and there are some exciting new additions to the event’s lineup this year.
Launching the annual hospitality and food service industries event at the Phoenicia Hotel, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud’s representative Ramez Bou Nader described HORECA as “iconic,” adding that it had grown year-on-year to become the extravaganza it is today.
This year, from April 9-12, HORECA will host more than 385 exhibitors from 14 countries at BIEL.
Speaking at the launch, Joumana Dammous-Salame, managing director of Hospitality Services, confirmed that almost all the available space at HORECA 2013 had been booked.
In addition to 13 daily workshops and 10 competitions, Dammous-Salame said a series of events was set to take place during the exhibition in celebration of its 20th anniversary.
She also announced that the Syndicate of Lebanese Food Industries will hold its annual forum on April 11, adopting as this year’s theme “Exports obstacles and solutions.”
Additionally Dammous-Salame specifically mentioned that a delegation of 10 international food writers was to be hosted under the TASTE LEBANON program.
These writers include The Guardian’s Kevin Gould, who writes “East Like A Local” for the U.K. newspaper’s Saturday travel section. According to his profile, Gould’s best loved food is parsley – a fitting favorite for a food writer visiting the land of tabbouleh. Also on the lineup are celebrity blogger David Lebovitz and David Nicholson of the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, respectively.
In total some 30 local and international chefs and experts will participate in events over the course of the four-day program.
Among the most entertaining features of HORECA are its competitions.
This year in addition to the culinary, bartending and olive oil showdowns, the “Art of Service Competition” joins the program. Food service professionals and hotel management students will battle it out as they showcase their table-setting skills and service techniques.
Other newcomers to the annual event are “Chairmania,” an exhibition of the very latest in chair design, and “Meeting Point,” which will include an experts’ corner where visitors can seek out help with developing their own ideas and concepts as well as an area where industry job opportunities are posted.