November 26 2023  |  Events

APOT Asia starts strong in Danang

By Jane Hobson, in Danang, Vietnam

Photo with Thomas A. Gugler, President of Worldchefs and CATRION

The heavy rain did not stop APOT Asia from taking off at Furama Resort in Danang, Vietnam last night. Delegates gathered for the opening cocktail with drinks, live music, entertainment and the opportunity to reconnect.

Jeremy Clark, APOT CEO, took to the stage to thank everyone for attending and gave a special shoutout to Furama Resort for hosting.

Jeremy Clark, APOT CEO at the opening cocktail

Keerthi “HappyK” Hapugasdeniya, Founder of APOT, also thanked delegates for their support and reminded all of the importance of gathering in Asia to foster connections and share in the hospitality of Vietnam.

Keerthi “HappyK” Hapugasdeniya, Founder of APOT addresses the crowd during the opening cocktail

Gentzsch André, General Manager of Furama Resort; Thomas A. Gugler, President of Worldchefs and CATRION; and Nugyen Duc Quynh, General Director of Indochino Beach Hotel JSC were in attendance, among other notable guests.

Check out PAX International's coverage of the Danang-style welcome party below.

Colleagues celebrate at the welcome cocktail

Gentzsch André, General Manager of Furama Resort (left) and Keerthi “HappyK” Hapugasdeniya, Founder of APOT

Rakhita Jayawardena (left) and APOT Founder Happy

Tomas Jämtander, Marketing Director Flight Catering Solutions, Diskomat (left) and Jane Hobson, Managing Editor, PAX International Magazine

View of the hotel on rainy day

Cocktails and drinks were served at the event

Entertainment at the welcome cocktail

Press conference highlights Jetsetter's Palate and event to come
The first day of the event also covered a press briefing where the panel highlighted the upcoming Jetsetter's Palate: The Ultimate Airline Professional Chef Competition as well as the agenda for days ahead.

Present at the press conference were Chef Thomas A. Gugler, President of Worldchefs and CATRION, Nguyen Duc Quynh, General Director Indochina Beach Hotel JSC and Binh Nguyen, Director Department of Foreign affairs, among others

Chef Thomas A. Gugler, President of Worldchefs and CATRION, discussed the culinary competition where cooks are responsible for creating an appetizer, main course and dessert that follow all necessary airline catering regulations. Gugler encouraged chefs to cook what they are familiar with, such as what they grew up eating. He warned them not to overcomplicate things, to season the dishes well, to adhere to food safety and to learn as much as they can from the experience.

"Cook what you know, bring your culture to the world through food. Do that, and you cannot fail," Gugler said.

The competition and judging takes place tomorrow, and winners will be announced at the November 27 gala dinner.

Asia a driving power in hospitality
Clark told PAX International during the question period that the region often experiences a feeling of "forgottenness" when it comes to networking and conferences in the industry. "Relaxed but relevant," APOT aims to provide a meeting place where the industry can experience hospitality, tourism and culture of the region, he explained.

"Asia is a driving power in hospitality. It is called the 'far east,' but for us, it is right here. We are giving a voice to this region, the culture, the cuisine, the hospitality. The relationships and business models are different here."

APOT CEO Jeremy Clark (left) and Founder Keerthi “HappyK” Hapugasdeniya at the press briefing

Happy and colleagues at the press briefing

CEO Jeremy Clark discussed APOT's role in the industry during the session

The press session was hosted on the second floor of the Furama Resort Danang

Press briefing panelists and chefs gather for a photo at end of the press session

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