Gastronomy as leverage of economy

Gastronomy as leverage of economy

Gastronomy as leverage of economy

Creative industries, including gastronomy, are becoming sectors with more economic value than any other, rapidly surpassing traditional industries, even the strong automobile industry in the EU. Gastronomy can be a very effective tool for tourism and employment with the potential to become a locomotive to accelerate the economy. International development agencies are increasingly supporting these creative sectors.

The gastronomy sector encompasses a wide range of activities from agriculture to cooperatives, from the food industry to chain markets, from humble eateries to fine-dining venues, the list is endless, feeding a sizeable portion of the population. In order to seek possibilities to expand the sector’s potential, the 3rd Global GastroEconomy Summit will be held at Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center on May 11. The summit, organized by the Tourism, Restaurant Investors and Gastronomy Businesses Association (TURYID), aims to bring gastronomy to the agenda of the country as a sustainable economic growth model in tourism and will bring together industry professionals, gastronomy enthusiasts and groundbreaking names from Turkey and other countries to reveal the potential of gastronomy to act as leverage.

After the post-pandemic period, sustainability became even a more important topic to tackle. Gamze Cizreli, chairman of the Sustainability Committee of TURYID, draws attention to the importance of gastronomy in line with sustainable development goals, underlining the contribution of the sector to activating the circular economy. She stresses the fact that the establishment of sustainable restaurant criteria and raising awareness of environmentally conscious development must be one of the top targets. Emphasizing the importance of international cooperation, the summit invited participants from various countries, hoping to increase the international interaction in the gastronomy sector and pave the way for new collaborations in hopes to open many doors for Turkey’s global branding in gastronomy. Key speakers at the summit include Pierre Sanner, director of the French Food Cultures and Heritage Mission; Stefan Breg, group strategy director of Keane Brands; and Juliane Caillouette, general manager of the Sustainable Restaurants Association (SRA).

This year, the summit will focus on four main topics: First, “Deep Look,” giving an in-depth look at the ecosystem of gastronomy from different perspectives; second, “Sustainability Right Now!” drawing attention to the importance of the sector in line with circular economy and sustainable development goals; third, “On the Edge of the New Age - Transformation!” taking a closer look at brand management, product sales service and the digital world; and fourth, “the Ecosystem of Gastronomy,” bringing a three-pronged approach to Turkish cuisine as a gastro-diplomacy tool for promotion, diplomacy and export.

The wide range of topics squeezed in a marathon of talks in a single day will create a whirlwind discussion platform. There will be lots to learn from international guests, such as Caillouette from SRA, which was established to accelerate the change towards an environmentally restorative and socially progressive accommodation sector, and their approach will pave the way for this understanding to sprout in Turkey. Of course, sustainability of the hospitality sector heavily leans on the sustainability of the purveyors, both the producers in the agriculture and food industry businesses. Inspirational talks in this line will tackle with the issues of green-living, care for environment and future of food. Living Farms Agrifood CEO Katharina Unger will be speaking on “Reinventing Food,” while Breg will find answers to a global question asking, “How Will the Food of the Future Come?”

Hospitality is also about drinks and beverages and that huge topic will also be covered by new approaches. “World of Bar in the Future” will be the title of Zümrüt Yezdani Kedik, from Pernod Ricard Turkey. Wine sector as an intersection point of agriculture, tourism and export will be covered by Levent Kömür, Mey Diageo general manager in Turkey, Sabiha Apaydın, creator of Root-Origin-Soil Conference on Anatolian Heritage grapes, and Gözdem Gürbüzatik, fermented and distilled beverages consultant. Turkey is considered to be the motherland of beer, and we will be finding about its deep history in this geography by the contribution of archaeologist Güneş Duru and Koray Anar, technical director of Anadolu Efes. Hardeep Rehal from Denmark will talk about the Scandinavian approach to sustainability and how the northern food movement has evolved and as a mixologist who has won the best bartender in Denmark four successive years in a row, he will see the reflection of the change starting in the kitchen and passing on to the bar stage.

There will be also very inspiring recent practices from Turkey. Elif Boyner, founder of the Vertical Project & Live Well App, will speak under the title of “City, Sustainable Living Design” and Ali İspahani, Managing Partner of The Stay Hotels, will speak under the title of “Sustainability in Tourism”. Boyner’s vertical project is newly launched and already drawing attraction as an urban model contributing to waste management.

Last but not least, there will be peek into cultural heritage and safeguarding traditions. Change is inevitable, and sometimes we lose certain culinary assets we own in the path of moving forward of future. I will be presenting Bill Knott from London, former food writer for FT, to talk on new wave of Turkish restaurants in London, and their new takes and chefs’ twists on traditional Turkish cuisine. There will be lots to learn from Pierre Sanner, general manager at French Misson for Food and Cultural Heritage, that will be the talk I cannot wait to listen, as I am coming from the field of conservation of cultural heritage as a former architect.

Regarding the summit, which aims to enable the development of new strategies by evaluating the changing needs and trends with the pandemic, Summit Committee chair Ebru Koralı states that, in today’s economy, culture-based sectors contribute to the growth and branding of many global cities and countries by increasing employment and that they want to focus on creating the gastronomy story of Turkey at this summit.

Aylin Öney Tan,