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Kongres Magazine talked to Dada Jerovšek, Owner & Marketing Manager at Kaval Group, who was recently named among the top 10 Most Influential Catering Service Providers 2021. Dada shared her advice for newcomers in the meetings industry and expressed her opinion on the future of events.

Q1: What does the title of the industry’s most influential individual in the region mean to you?

First of all, thank you again so much from the bottom of my heart to all of you. I congratulate everyone involved in the amazing work you are doing for all of us, inspiring us and lifting us up when we feel there is no way out.

It means so much, especially after these last two years, which were so unkind to all of us who work in the culinary business. It is an award for our positive energy, strength, belief in success and that in the end, good always wins.

Q2: Can we say that you are a newcomer in the meetings industry? What inspires you?

Well, the plain truth is that we are learning throughout our lives. The more we know, the more we see how much is out there still to learn. Thus, indeed, we are always, in a way, newcomers, especially after these Corona times, which were completely unexpected for everyone. It was an unknown situation filled with fear, sometimes panic, full of uncertainty for the coming future. Yet, at the same time, we learned that nothing in this world is forever, nothing is for sure and that we have to find a way to adapt to this new unkind situation that lasted just too long. We learned that we should try to stay focused, positive, sometimes even brave, and sometimes just surrounded with great people, friends to lean on, even cry out.

Q3: You have contributed a lot to the development of the meetings industry. What would you say was your greatest achievement so far?

Since we are in a culinary business, our greatest achievement from the beginning has been to stay focused on quality, professionalism, being faithful to ourselves to do the best because only the best is good enough for our precious guests. Moreover, we have been striving to use only the best local ingredients and seasonal food while keeping up with culinary trends or even creating them. Our goal is to have great respectful chefs, waiters, baristas, and sommeliers in our team, who do their best to spoil the guests. We aim to be, at all times, faithful to our beliefs, goals, to be honest in what we do, create in every new event, catering etc., and not just in amazing tastes, also in looks and arrangements. Perhaps our advantage is that in every catering or event, our great chefs and managers of local restaurants and bars step together with all of their knowledge, passion and do an amazing job together, each time opting for different approaches and offers. They remain respectful to the customer, their wishes, their expectations till the very end and enjoy the work and end results every time.

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Photo Credit: Marko Delbello Ocepek

“We have to smell, see, taste delicious food, and we cannot do it over a computer screen.”

Q4: What changes would you like to see in the meetings industry in 2022?

Above all, we would like to see the biggest change to be able to work again fully. We want to witness a change for the better, a change from not working at all to working 24/7, creating amazing events, cooking delicious food and simply creating new culinary experiences with great stories.

Q5: What is your prediction for the future of meetings?

Well, the world did change a lot, that is a fact; from hugs, gatherings, meetings in life, we had to learn overnight how to live in a digital world, which was, at the time, the only connection with others. However, this was, and is, a cold and unfriendly way, which is not good for socializing and, more importantly, for culinary activities which need and must be real. We have to smell, see, taste delicious food, and we cannot do it over a computer screen. Hence, gastronomy needs to be live with socialising, and no live zooming is possible or acceptable. At the end of the day, we have to eat to stay alive and healthy, which no zooming cannot offer. We are what we eat, and we eat what we are, for sure.

Q6: What is your advice for young colleagues making their way in the meetings industry?

Be happy, passionate, enjoy whatever you do in the meetings industry, which is such a beautiful, yet difficult business, and do not quit upon stumbling on the first obstacle. Stay focused and equipped not just with knowledge and professionalism, but most of all with passion, desire and simply pure love for what you do. There is no greater satisfaction than a happy guest after the work is completed.

“There is no greater satisfaction than a happy guest after the work is completed.”

Q7: Were you more exposed in public after being placed on our list? Do you see this as an opportunity to reinforce the prominence of our industry in general?

It is a great honour to be placed on the list among all the great nominees. One of my most important life rules is to stay grounded, humble, grateful for everything, even the tiniest accomplishments. I am grateful to have such great co-workers because the truth is that one cannot do anything alone. What matters are the people, the passion, the heart, the friendship and the love for our work. I believe and hope that the strong message for the future should be, especially after what we had all experienced, that what and who matters is not only money, and the materialistic part. Instead, everything is about honesty, devotion, pure souls, respect, human values, pure heart, and love for all in any situation.

Q8: What are your thoughts on our selection of the influencers?

The influencers are great, powerful inspiring and very special people. All respects and congrats to all of them. I am proud to be among all these great nominees. Wow…

Q9: In your opinion, who deserves the title of the TOP influencer if you had to choose from the finalists yourself?

Well, this is tough because each and everyone could and should be the one. They are all top influencers, as all of them are great, beautiful, strong and creative. My favourite and the most precious person was not a nominee. He is the chef of Restaurant Strelec on Ljubljana Castle, who is, first of all, a great person, with a golden heart and, for me, one of the best chefs. He shares his extensive culinary knowledge with everybody. He is filled with passion and love for cooking, using and following up the seasons with quality local food and local Slovene suppliers, thus changing freshly created menu lists at least six times per year, cooking proudly with all the respect yet humility for every distinguished guest in Restaurant Strelec at Ljubljana Castle above our capital city of Ljubljana.