Inspiring Women at the Focus of Gourmet Fest

In Budapest

The role of women in gastronomy is becoming increasingly visible and dominant, and the MBH Bank Gourmet Festival, will highlight this at Millenáris from May 24-26.

The event will again draw heavily on the culinary offerings of Hungary, with around 100 exhibitors presenting excellent restaurants, pastry shops, bakeries, and a diverse range of drinks, from coffee specialities to cocktails and champagnes.

The MBH Bank Gourmet Festival has a tradition of always focusing on a different theme. In the past, the focus was on iconic dishes, then on a particular ingredient, later on tradition and the heritage of Hungarian cuisine, and last year on the increasing role of the new generation. 

Unique Stories

"The 2024 Gourmet Festival will focus on inspiring female energy, with three ambassadors in Zsóka Fekete, Gabriella Ormós and Zsuzsanna Ötvös. Although they work in different areas of gastronomy, the professional journey and success of all three is very inspiring and exemplary. In addition to our ambassadors, we will of course also be presenting many other women from the world of gastronomy at the festival. Judit Stahl and her gastronomic theater production Flódni will also strengthen the 'female energy'", said Richárd Nemes, the Gourmet Festival's chief organizer.

Gabriella Ormós, Zsuzsanna Ötvös, Zsóka Fekete

"We were going to buy some animals, but the farmer said they were probably pregnant. Within a week, we had more than 50 mangalica," said Zsóka Fekete, who originally planned to grow vegetables on her family land but then switched to meat. She said it was not easy to get into farming, processing, and marketing, but now she has involved her whole family in the business. His farm now has nearly 400 blonde mangalica pigs. The business started in 2012 and a year later, her high-quality artisanal premium products have been recognized with awards.

Gabriella Ormós had no intention of opening a bakery. But the communication profession was replaced by the magic of sourdough. "I had a hobby that I was spending more and more time on and I felt that a decision had been made," says Gabriella, whose main mission since then has been to teach as many people as possible how to bake delicious and healthy bread. Last year, Gabriella Ormós, founder of the Jenői Bakery and founder of the Kovászlabor community, replaced her pop-up bakery with a permanent one.

Zsuzsanna Ötvös became a gastro-blogger and later a pastry chef as a PhD student in Classics and Philology. Over the past 10 years, she has worked in several renowned fine dining restaurants and is currently the pastry chef and co-chef at Laurel Budapest. "I did my PhD in Classical Philology at the ELTE Linguistics Doctoral School, Doctoral Program in Ancient Studies, and started blogging at the same time," Zsuzsanna recalls, saying that she spent a lot of time in libraries at the time, but missed creating with both hands. The big watershed was some silicone bonbon molds she bought, "I used them to make bonbons as gifts, which was a great experience," she says. From there, the path led to Laurel Budapest, recommended by the Michelin Guide.

"MBH Bank is delighted to support the Gourmet Festival for the second year in a row, which is one of the highlights of the spring and an important meeting point for many of our clients. The Gourmet Festival not only showcases the best of the local culinary scene, but this year's event will also focus on the outstanding female chefs, pastry chefs, bakers and producers who are playing an increasingly visible role in the hospitality industry. Supporting domestic businesses, and especially women entrepreneurs, is a matter of our heart, so we hope that this year's festival will not only be an important meeting point for many, but also provide inspiration and new recipes in gastronomy and business," said István Kutas, MBH Bank's managing director of Communications.

Finishing Strong

The final day of the Gourmet Academy stage, supported by Samsung, will be a truly special gourmet cultural experience this year. The "ingredients" of Flódni are two: Judit Stahl's gastronomic expertise on the one hand, and the improvisational talent of renowned actors on the other, and the product is always unique and unrepeatable. "What we have here is improvisational gastronomy theater, with lots of laughs, a basically sweet taste, and a bit of sour zest," says Judit Stahl, the show's creator. The recipe is simple: mix improvisational theatre, gastronomic culture, and the history of the Jewish Budapest of yesteryear. Then four excellent actors of the improvisational genre serve Judit Stahl's cooking to the audience.

"It comes out just like a delicious flódni," says Stahl. The performance - in which Judit Stahl's daughter, Hanna Stahl-Bohus, played a significant role in the ideas for the situation - will be brought to life by a brilliant cast of actors: Adél Jordán, Angéla Stefanovics, Péter Kálloy Molnár, and Győző Szabó will perform on the Gourmet Academy stage.

The Gourmet Academy stage is set for many more events this year. Maki Stevenson, founder of the Makifood Cookery School and Events, will present Japanese-Hungarian food combinations. In the Sourdough Lab workshop, baker Gabriella Ormós, the creator of Jenői Bakery, will demonstrate the secrets of sourdough making in a hands-on setting. Arya Razavi, the international caviar specialist of Golden Caviar, will present everything you need to know about really good caviar in an exciting tasting session. Pastry lovers will learn the secrets of making a cake from the uncrowned queen of pastry, Eva Kálmán, hostess of the Ferdinand Bistro in Kunmadaras. Szilárd Tóth - chef of Salt Budapest - will prepare the dish we all love, the fried meat, from the mango tray of Gourmet ambassador Zsóka Fekete - a little more extreme than we are used to, of course.

Also exciting will be the bibimbap making with Kim Taeyeon and Zsófia Mautner, where the Korean cuisine expert will give us an insight into the world of Korean gastronomy and of course we will learn what bibimbap is. Two chefs from small restaurants with a special atmosphere will also be on stage. How is a vegan dessert made? Can a traditional dessert be veganized? This year's festival ambassador, Zsuzsanna Ötvös, pastry chef and co-chef of Laurel Budapest, will talk about these questions and will also bring a tasting of her vegan cakes. And we will also learn how to make the real Transylvanian eggplant cream, vineta, with the help of mama Kati and Réka György (Páva Restaurant).

Family-friendly Events

This year's MBH Bank Gourmet Festival Sunday - being a children's day - will also have surprises for young people and families with young children. On this day, under-18s can enter the Gourmet for free, but there will also be free sweets and children's workshops. For families, nine popular bakeries will be offering explosive mini-caramels and other dessert gifts. The Gourmet Academy stage will also cater for the little ones: the KitchenAid workshop will offer ice cream making, Rozina Wossala will cook pasta and "spice-packed" sauces with parent-child pairs, and Lea Lea Lefkovics of SALT Bakery will introduce children to biscuit and American cookie making. Most Gourmet Academy programmes and tastings are free of charge, but you can pre-register for workshops for a nominal fee on the festival website.

Last but not least, Richárd Nemes said that the full range of the more than 50 restaurants and pastry shops exhibiting at the festival has been compiled. A special feature of this year's festival menu is that it includes a number of budget-friendly dishes, which can be purchased for up to HUF 2,500.

This year's Gourmet exhibitors can be seen here and tickets can be purchased in advance here, at a significant discount compared to on-site ticket prices.

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