Introducing Our 2016 Scott Givot Grant Winner

September 13, 2016
in News and Eventstitle_liSpotlight

Marta Pozsonyi Head Shot 2015_From FBThe Culinary Trust is delighted to announce the first recipient of our Scott Givot Leadership Grant, Marta Pozsonyi.

Pozsonyi is the director of the Turda Gastronomy Centre in Transylvania, Romania, with a mission to provide youth education in food through practical application and research, while developing an awareness and appreciation of the rich local food heritage and the need for its future sustainability.

Congratulations Marta!

When Marta and some of her students heard the news:

And she had some great news to share with us! From Marta:

“We just had a national meeting with our collegues involved in food education, and we were told that three of the organizations in different regions of our country want to replicate our project, and asked us for help. I am so happy because people are starting to realize how important this work is, but also because they want to do more about it! And I am happy that we at Turda Gastronomy Centre inspire people with what we do and how. Having your support, we have more credibility. Thank you so much for your support, it means so much for us.

Since The Culinary Trust launched the Growing Leaders Fund capital campaign in 2014, your support and donations have been vital to building the fund and have allowed us to award our first round of Growing Leaders grants in 2015. Can you help us continue to build this valuable grant resource for exceptional leaders in the world of food such as Marta? Please click here to give your 100% tax-deductible gift.

About Turda Gastronomy Centre:
(excerpted from the TGC grant proposal)
Turda Gastronomy Centre offers young people the opportunity to gain an education in food through practical application and research, while developing an awareness and appreciation of the rich local food heritage and the need for its future sustainability.
Traditional Romanian gastronomy is a beautiful historical mix, due to the combined influence of Hungarian, German (Saxons), Armenian, Jewish, Turkish and Roma cultures. It is a truly regional and multi-ethnic tradition of food (and culture in general). Transylvanian cuisine in particular is based on home-cooking, very fine local ingredients, and the special culinary skills of good people.
Against this background, we have created the Centre as a facility to study the themes of food, and research old food stories and traditional recipes. We make the connection between the old (which seems better and healthier) and the new (which is endangered by chemicals, environment and food pollution), and train youth to become responsible chefs, food producers, and consumers, aware of food and environmental concerns. Besides children, adolescents, and school students, we continue to work with disadvantaged persons, including the Roma community, disabled persons, and the Diabetics Association.

Goals of the Turda Gastronomy Centre:
(excerpted from the TGC grant proposal)
Romania is currently facing a critical shortage of youth involved in food production and agriculture. More than 40% of the population live in rural areas, with the majority living at subsistence level. There is a migration of youth from rural areas to urban areas, and a massive emigration of the workforce (4 million Romanians work in foreign countries). This causes a decline in interest for local products in favor of industrial food. At local and national levels, agricultural and culinary skills classes no longer exist. Until recently, an entire agricultural high school existed in Turda.

By providing a professionally-equipped facility and bringing in specialists, the Gastronomy Centre will contribute to a higher level of training and higher standards of food production, cooking and consumption through:
• Youth education. This is how we will form our next generation’s gastronomes
• Community development (social, economic and cultural)
• Food research. This is the patrimony, our heritage. We want to bring back our traditional skills and local flavors, and our pride of being able to tell the story behind the food we serve at home, in restaurants, to our families and to our visitor guests and tourists; those skills that disappeared during the communist dictatorial regime, under Ceausescu’s rule
• Food production (sustainability and ‘good practice’ in processing the fruits and vegetable for the rural area surrounding Turda)

Turda Gastronomy Centre is located in a former school canteen, (300 square meters, plus six additional rooms), lent to us gratis by the Local Council and supported by the Mayor of Turda and the County Council. During summer, 2014, we (myself and a group of volunteers) renovated the main room, which hadn’t been used for 15 years, and set it up with stainless steel tables and heating/cooling equipment donated by a local school we are partnering with. Our facility is now ready for the project.

Turda Gastronomy Centre was inaugurated with a cooking contest in August 2014 in the presence of delegates, chefs, and local counselors from France and Hungary. It will now serve as the home to a continuation of all the projects we have worked on in the last 10 years. These have been ‘pilot projects’ which were then considered ‘best practice examples’ by others in Romania’s food world. To date, they include:
• Edible gardens in schools. We will replant the garden in the yard of the Centre (once, every school canteen had a vegetable garden and stables with pigs, chickens or other animals raised for the kitchen, and every school had a canteen where food was served for the students)
• Taste education. Our program is based on the idea that food means pleasure, culture and conviviality
• Food events (festivals, debates, youth eat-ins)
• Gastronomy summer campuses.

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