AgroVelebit was established in 2013 by township of Lovinac in order to revitalize production of potato from Lika. For this reason, AgroVelebit got neglected agricultural land in function, which is now one of the largest resources of Lovinac community.
Potato from Lika is registered and protected in the EU market, where it has been awarded the label of geographic origin in September 2015. Lika potatoes taste specifically starchy due to large percentage of dry matter because of the specific microclimate, which makes this potato special comparing with the potatoes produced in other areas.
- What are your impressions from Chefs’ Stage Congress?
Chefs’ Stage has been announced as a top event that can open doors to numerous cooperation we always wanted but never could achieve. So according to that, we have come to the congress with very high expectations and now we can confirm that all the promises were fulfilled. We were fortunate to be among the invited exhibitors and with that opportunity we did the best we could. We’ve already seen some of the results of the Chefs’ Stage, and we hope that this type of achieved co-operations will be more in the future. The congress is certainly an event that has linked various interest groups and has enabled us to communicate with parties that we can very hardly come across with.
- Does such an event has a quality prospect for promoting regional gastronomy?
Events such as Chefs’ Stage are in deficit on the Croatian gastronomic scene. Events that serve as a bridge between small producers and the restaurant owners are an ideal way of connecting market players who need each other, but are difficult to connect among themselves. Therefore, we as small producers of Lika potato believe that Chefs’ Stage has a bright future ahead and that one day we can proudly say that we participated in its first edition.
- What did you like the most?
The answer is not that simple to summarize because there are so many things that deserve to be mentioned. The whole congress was organized at a very high level and that was felt in all segments. Immediately at the beginning a great choice of a congress site set a very high criterion, and the site could be fully described as elite. As exhibitors we also want to emphasize that we have not been left to deal with the possible obstacles by ourselves – whether it was a technical question, help in setting up the exhibition space or general inquiries related to the course of the event – we always had adequate support for everything we needed. Since we often participate in various events where we present our product, we have learned to appreciate such a high level of service to exhibitors because we know how rare it is.
As the absolute most important thing, we would distinguish the atmosphere that dominated the Chefs’ Stage. We met other exhibitors, exchanged business experiences, gained the feeling that we are not alone in trying to achieve a higher value by promoting our country and our products, exchanged contacts with visitors who came to the congress because of potential co-operation with small producers.
It is very important to point out that Chefs’ Stage was remarkably well-versed in the media. We were even fortunate enough that the team of HRT television stopped at our exhibition space and did a short interview with us which was broadcasted on Dnevnik, in the best possible time. We consider it a top promotion for our product and that is exactly the level of importance and rating with which we are trying to relate the potatoes from Lika.
- Did the participants express interest in your product and did you start collaborating with some of them after CS?
The potato from Lika is a product of high rating and traditionally has great trust among the customers. Therefore we were not surprised that the participants stopped by our exhibition space and with great interest inquired information about the varieties, production, packaging, possibilities for cooperation and everything else. Visitors were delighted to see a long-known product wrapped in “new clothes” and branding that is associated with modern ways of distribution and advertising. We have come into contact with several owners of catering business, and we are pleased to say that cooperation with one of the top restaurants has already begun. Of course, we hope for the further inquiries from the caterers we contacted at the Congress.
- What can we do to improve the next CS, especially for you producers?
Absolutely the most important thing and the number one priority when we think about the future of Chefs’ Stage is continuity. The good foundation for creating this manifestation is set, which can certainly become the key event of this kind in the whole region. However, there must be no interruption or absence. It is vital that Chefs’ Stage will be held next year at an equally high level, with even more visitors, sponsors and media, more exhibitors and especially entrepreneurs interested in small product manufacturers. By that being said, we are confident that the success of the congress in just four or five years will outdo the most optimistic expectations we have today.