Jerneja Kamnikar: “Gastronomy is becoming a part of the overall event experience”

Interview with Jerneja Kamnikar, Director of Vivo Catering

To contribute to events that are environment-friendly and responsible to society, catering companies must play their role, too. Catering companies now prioritise locally sourced ingredients and advocate traceability and a farm-to-fark concept. At the Conventa trade show, catering companies strive to minimise their carbon footprint and ensure a balanced and healthy menu for event attendees. We spoke to Ms. Jerneja Kamnikar, the Director of Vivo Catering, a pioneering catering company that has been partnering with Conventa since the first edition.

Vivo Catering has over two decades of experience in catering services. They have worked at numerous internationally acclaimed events, including Expo Dubai, where they staged unforgettable catering for exhibition visitors who could indulge in traditional Slovenian specialities. They revolve their offering around local, seasonal and healthy dishes.

Q1: You have been one of the catering service providers at Conventa since the first edition. This year, you amazed the international delegates on the first evening during the welcome reception in Center Rog. How do you see Conventa’s growth since the first edition?

I see Conventa as a project that connects the meetings industry with development guidelines and global trends. Conventa has given Slovenia breadth and depth on the international meetings industry map.

Q2: Vivo Catering was one of the first Slovenian professional catering companies. What are the main milestones you celebrated over the years? Which achievements are you most proud of?

Our company has been celebrating milestones since the onset. In the field of congresses, a major milestone was the global Apimondia Congress, which is still one of the largest events ever hosted in Slovenia. With our know-how, courage and some serendipity, our company showcased our excellence at such a demanding and large congress. Within the meetings industry, a landmark achievement for us was the beginning of our cooperation with the Kenes Group, a renowned international PCO, who selected us for their first congress in Slovenia. We are still great partners with them to this day.

There were also many other milestones. The one that takes the crown must be when Buckingham Palace selected us to organise a banquet when the British Queen Elizabeth II visited Slovenia.

Q3: What trends have you noticed in recent years? What kind of cuisine do clients and attendees desire?

Gastronomy is becoming a part of the overall experience, an integral part of each event. Clients are paying more attention to the traceability and origin of ingredients, their preparation and local production. These are areas where we see potential growth in the future.


Q4: Alongside the quality of dishes, the way dishes are served matters just as much. In recent years, a trend has prevailed that dictates each reception must be a holistic experience, with accompanying scenography and decoration. What are your thoughts on that?

Indeed, we have been following this trend for some time. To this end, we established our centre of creative solution, VIVO D125, where each event is unique thanks to the flexibility of the event space that offers countless possibilities. VIVO D125 has become a sought-after venue for gala event dinners that highlight tradition, as well as New Year’s celebrations and weddings. As an innovative house with protected architecture, the venue offers numerous possibilities for use. Together with our themed gastronomy, we help create inspiring stories that intertwine cuisine, tradition and culture.

Q5: The organisers of Conventa put tremendous emphasis on sustainable event organisation. How can catering help reduce an event’s carbon footprint?

At Vivo Catering, we have advocated the sustainable preparation of food, accessibility of produce and reducing carbon footprint for over a decade. Our showcooking in front of the guests helps reduce the number of kilometres ingredients have to travel and, ultimately, reduces the amount of waste food. We also must not forget the use of renewable energy sources and our cooperation with local suppliers, whose activities we audit several times a year to find further innovative solutions.

“Together with our themed gastronomy, we help create inspiring stories that intertwine cuisine, tradition and culture.”

Q6: How can event attendees adopt environment-friendlier catering as the new normal, with less meat and more plant-based food?

Attendees and visitors within the meetings industry are worldly travellers aware of the need to opt for a predominantly plant-based diet. They understand our choice, which delights us.

Q7: What are your business expectations this year?

Our expectations are highly positive and focused on new developments. We expect the same success as last year or even better. We have been noticing even more events of even greater size, alongside a rise in quality.

Q8: What is your favourite dish that must be a part of every reception?

It must be Vivo’s “pogača”, with fleur de sal from Piran Salt, which draws inspiration from Bela Krajina. 😊


Q9: We know you have an excellent lineup of chefs. Still, do you enjoy preparing food yourself?

Undoubtedly, cooking is the core of our business. Our slogan embodies our passion for cuisine: We cook with our heart and serve with our soul.

Find out more about Vivo Catering here

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