The great reunion

Sustainability is at the core of the 2022 FCSI EAME Conference program, packed with inspiration, education and excellent hospitality and networking

The 2022 FCSI EAME conference has been a long time coming and finally it is here, as friends and colleagues gather in Chantilly for the much-anticipated conference, almost four years on from the last event bringing EAME members together.

Following on from the conference in Rotterdam, the organizing team has put together another great program packed with inspiring speakers, insightful master classes and fun activities. “We are building on the success of Rotterdam,” says FCSI executive director Elonique Dalhuisen, “We are again offering a good mix of knowledge sharing, innovation and networking even more content and meaning. The layout of the program is basically the same, but it goes without saying that there will be a new surprising twist.”

The event has been planned and diarized twice before, as the pandemic forced the world to put plans for in-person events on hold and forced everybody in foodservice to connect via virtual channels. “In the past two years we have organized very valuable content, including strong webinars and other online events. We are proud and pleased that this has intensified the mutual contact between members in the EAME-region and made the connection even stronger, but nothing will beat meeting in person in Chantilly in May,” adds Dalhuisen.

“We began preparing in 2019 for a conference in 2020. Because of Covid, we had to postpone it a few times and we deliberately chose a high-level location on the outskirts of Paris, where we have plenty of space both inside and out. These are challenging times for everyone in our industry. That is why we are extra excited to meet again in person.”

A unique opportunity

Allied and Professional FCSI members are looking forward to reuniting at an industry event, which will provide networking, education and entertainment in equal measures. “We are looking forward to seeing our friends and partners again after such a long time,” says Detlef Rank, director consultant management, RATIONAL AG. “This extraordinary setting represents a unique opportunity. We have already arranged several individual meetings, including with new RATIONAL colleagues attending for the first time. But this isn’t about our expectations – it’s about supporting the FCSI in the best possible way, in keeping with the theme of ‘we share, support and inspire.’ We all need the FCSI as the only globally organized platform for shaping standards for the kitchens of the future.”

The timing of the conference may have changed, but the theme has not. Sustainability has, if anything, gained more traction as people have an increased awareness of the importance of a climate responsible approach to foodservice. The organizing team have chosen to name the conference #TACT2022, which stands for Together, Action, Change, Transformation.

“The theme was already fixed. Given the social importance and impact on the world of food and hospitality we did not change that,” says FCSI EAME chair Remko van der Graaff.

The conference motto hits the nail on the head, according to Sebastian Hainz, executive vice president of sales and marketing MEIKO Group. “It reflects the situation in which the entire industry finds itself today – climate change, the pandemic, the recent political developments and other influences are all major and global challenges that our industry must adapt to,” he says. “And it is our common task that we help our customers to shape this change towards the future.”

Insight and education

After a welcome drinks reception on Thursday evening when delegates arrive at the Hyatt Regency in Chantilly, the conference program kicks off on Friday morning when Christine Schäfer, researcher and speaker from independent think tank the GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, takes the stage.

She will be followed by Benjamin Calleja, CEO of food and beverage design company Livit, who will be addressing the future of foodservice.

On day two, lecturer and consultant Bruno Parmentier who has written books about agriculture and world hunger will round off the keynote speakers on the main stage – prepare yourselves for an impactful presentation.

In addition to the program of keynote speakers there will be a comprehensive selection of masterclasses taking place in the afternoon of the first day. Speakers at the master classes will include:

  • Denis Daveine FCSI on eliminating plastics from foodservice
  • Dene Rachid FCSI on the timesaving benefits of BIM
  • Remko van der Graaff FCSI on the real hospitality experience
  • Michael Meirer, head of consulting at Meiko Green, addressing anaerobic digestion: turn food waste into renewable energy and fertilizer
  • Robert J. C. Munday on paving the way to a modern, fully connected kitchen 
  • Roger Obeid FCSI on the inclusion of hearing impairment and motor disability into the hospitality industry
  • Food and beverage brand specialist Jon Sharp on hotel brand challenges and opportunities

There will be three rounds of master classes, giving everybody the chance to learn about a spread of topics throughout the afternoon.

After a hugely successful student competition in Rotterdam, the challenge returns in Chantilly, engaging teams of students who are tasked with developing a foodservice concept. It promises to be yet another fascinating competition as the teams will supply progress updates throughout the conference before giving a final presentation on Saturday. The entrants will be considered by a judging panel of FCSI consultants who will announce the winner during the Saturday evening events.

Hospitality at the center

The Hyatt Regency Chantilly, a short distance from Paris, makes the perfect venue for the conference, according to Dalhuisen. “It’s fantastic. It is a beautiful location and offers high-quality service,” she says.

Of course, a foodservice conference would not be right without top quality food and drink and great hospitality – throughout the 2022 conference in Chantilly, delegates will enjoy first rate catering, including a barbecue dinner – enjoyed after a Masterchef cook-off – and a dinner at the impressively beautiful Royaumont Abbey, a short distance from the conference venue.

As ever the FCSI EAME 2022 conference will offer ample opportunities to network and enjoy the company of valued friends and industry colleagues.

Tina Nielsen


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