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When the weather is nice on Fridays, space is in short supply on Ljubljana’s Pogačar Square. Photo: promotional material

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Open Kitchen returns: quality remains the driving force

Culinary social events in the capital and elsewhere
24. March 2017 ob 22:32
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

The Open Kitchen culinary market is entering its fifth season. In addition to Ljubljana, where it’s coming to life today, the market will also pay visits to Celje, Koper, and Nova Gorica.

“As we have always done, we are beginning the season in Ljubljana, on Pogačar Square, where we will meet and spend time enjoying great food and drink every Friday with nice weather, for as long as the conditions will allow in the fall,” says project manager Alma Kochavy, as she was getting ready to open the new season. The Open Kitchen will also pay visits to other Slovenian towns. Celje is the first on the list; it’s scheduled for Saturday, April 1. A visit to Koper will follow on Saturday, April 15, while this year’s first visit to Nova Gorica is planned for Wednesday, April 26.

The Open Kitchen culinary roadshow will visit the Celje Town Market, the Carpaccio Square and Tavern in Koper, and the Bevk Square in Nova Gorica once a month except in July and August. “Our schedule will be more vacation-oriented then and the Open Kitchen will be limited to Fridays in Ljubljana,” explains Alma Kochavy. Pogačar Square will become a culinary social venue every Friday in March, April, May, and October between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., and every Friday between June and September between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Culinary treats from around Slovenia and the world
The concept of the market, which has won raves from both Slovenian and foreign visitors, is remaining unchanged and is focused on variety, originality, freshness, and quality. It showcases dishes from all corners of Slovenia and various international cuisines, which are complemented with a wide variety of wines, cocktails, beer, and other drinks. Last year, no fewer than 75 businesses participated at the 40 Open Kitchen events, and even more are expected this year.

“We spent the past few months in intensive discussions with our providers, and I’m happy to report that we will be able to introduce new culinary stories, new chefs, and new restaurants to this year’s Open Kitchen events. I feel that we’ve already reached a plateau when it comes to international cuisine, so we’ll place a stronger emphasis this year on restaurants from various regions of Slovenia,” says Open Kitchen President Lior Kochavy. However, he points out that Open Kitchen does not plan to keep expanding the list of participants indefinitely because it is focused on maintaining quality. “We will not back away from this. We differentiate ourselves from other, similar projects precisely because our street food is conceived in some of Slovenia’s best restaurants, such as Hiša Franko and JB Restaurant,” adds Lior Kochavy.

Excess food not discarded
One of the unique aspects of Open Kitchen is its “green soul.” Organizers of the event try to separate all trash and use recyclable or biodegradable packaging. “Because we love and respect food, we don’t throw any of our excess food away. We are working of the Under the Roof charity, which distributes already prepared meals to families in need, and makes its own meals in its soup kitchen from unused ingredients,” explains Alma Kochavy.

A. K., translated by J. B.

Bojana Rugelj