Have you ever wondered just who might be the top influencers in the Central and South East Europe Meetings Industry? As the industry rapidly evolves, it’s clear that some key influencers actually have the same reach and draw as big companies, so individuals matter in a way that has never been possible before.

Based on 460 completed surveys, Kongres magazine has analysed and shortlisted the TOP 45 most influential people in Central and South East Europe in 2016. They have all contributed to the development of the region and our readers have chosen the best of the best. We have also added 2 newcomers in each category, voted by our readers.

Ana Roš

Ana ROŠ, Hiša Franko

Ana Roš works in the family restaurant in Kobarid, a small town in Slovenia very close to the Italian border. Besides cooking her second greatest pleasure is travel and she is a world traveller. Her dishes are full of intense flavours, lovely colours and unusual combinations – and they are always delicious. Chef’s Table is an American documentary show from Netflix productions and each episode presents a portrait of a world-renowned chef. The new season will showcase Slovenian chef Ana Roš. This new step in Ana’s career is strengthening her reputation as one of the world’s best chefs.

jezeršek, martin

Martin JEZERŠEK, Jezeršek Catering

He has internationalised the Jezeršek Catering company through the Sora Catering company and has passed the test with flying colours, taking up the family business management at the European Basketball Championship, Eurobasket 2013. Catering for VIPs, international delegates, business guests, media and volunteers was the most demanding logistical and culinary catering venture in the region. For about 70,000 meals 150 people were involved and the task was performed with excellence.

Dada JEROVŠEK, Kaval Group

Dada Jerovšek is an architect turned entrepreneur who heads up The Kaval Group, a collection of 19 bars, fine dining restaurants, casual cafes and, of course, Lolita, the best ice-cream in the world (according to #worldICECREAMindex). The Kaval Group is made up of hospitality experiences that are undeniably Slovenian, yet comparable with any contemporary trend from New York or London.

Janez BRATOVŽ, JB Restaurant

World-renowned chef Janez Bratovž has always been defined by his strong desire to find perfection. His culinary creations are bold and original, and you can savour the tastes of exquisite plates and let yourself be entranced by a completely new culinary experience. JB’s dishes are from completely fresh ingredients straight from Ljubljana’s farmers’ market. You will be charmed by their presentation and primal taste, especially so by the unforgettably unique combination of the Mediterranean, French and nostalgic Slovene cuisines.


Jerneja KAMNIKAR, Vivo Catering

At the 20th anniversary she earned her ranking through the socially responsible co-operative project of setting the Month of Design in the abandoned factory premises of Mladinska knjiga. The revival of this place has created a completely new event space in Ljubljana with an unimagined development potential. Visitors to the event were excited about the look of the premises; this is a completely new dimension of socially responsible conference tourism.

Tomaž KAVČIČ, Zemono

Tomaž Kavčič, or ‘Tomi’, is not just a chef – he is much more than that. He is an artist who creates beautiful, delicious and accomplished dishes to be found in his restaurant Pri Lojzetu in the beautiful, baroque Zemono mansion located near Ajdovščina. He is also a culinary star (although he has not (yet) been awarded any Michelin stars) who has added Slovenia to the culinary map of the world.

Ana GRGIČ, Esplanade Zagreb

The highly talented, experienced and charming Ana Grgić (35), already in her fourth year, continues her role as executive chef of the prestigious Zagreb Esplanade Hotel. In 2012 Ana proudly became the very first woman to lead the Esplanade’s kitchen and went on to follow the tradition of crafting exceptional cuisine, putting her specific culinary touch into all her dishes. Ana continues to drive her passion and perfect her culinary talent, working alongside a number of award-winning chefs as guests at the hotel, such as Xavier Mathieu and Pascal Tingaud.

Newcomers in 2016, voted by readers

Sanjiv SURI, Zátiší Catering

Since 1991 founder of the Zátiší Group, currently operating four restaurants in Prague: V Zátiší, Bellevue, Mlýnec, Žofín Garden & Zátiší Catering, exclusive caterer to Žofín Palace, general caterer for Prague Congress Centre and exclusive caterer 2012 – 2013 to VIP Village Moto GP and Fresh & Tasty divisions. He earlier worked as General Manager, Food – Beverage Manager & Kitchen Coordinator at various hotel chains in France, India, Egypt and western Africa. He is a member of the UNICEF Supervisory Board, Head of the Board of Directors of the Prague Convention Bureau, member of the Young Presidents Organisation worldwide, partner and donor of the Association for Foreign Investments (AFI), and Vice president of the American Chamber of Commerce Supervisory Board.