Students of the Sarajevo school won first place in Festival Grand Gourmet, the international competition for waiters, bartenders, baristas and restaurants, held in Makarska.
Students Anes Spahic, Sejfo Sejdic, and Alen Spasovac, led by mentor Fikret Skenderagic, won the gold medal in synchronized service and with that did proud the management, staff and students of the school.
Six schools – from Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, and BiH – participated in the competition. Each team consisted of three competitors. They wore school uniforms and within a specified time set the table for three people, serve an aperitif, water, soup, and a main course, all with background music they prepared themselves. This team practiced for a month and a half, as it was necessary to improve certain service skills.
“Although in the course of regular practical classes, the students learned much about service, before the competition we had to practice movements a little and perfect some other things. Of student-waiters in synchronized service they seek expertise, skill and speed, because all three must serve three different guests at the same time. That means when one waiter makes a move, that is required of the other two as well. Therefore, all three serve three different guests and the guest in essence did not notice,” explained their mentor, Professor Skenderagic, who added that this is the first time the discipline appeared in this competition.
Jitters, fear, nerves, and in the end it was tears of joy, was the honest assessment of Sejfo Sejdic, who is in his fourth year at school.
“There were nerves partly because of the audience, partly because of the jury. In my head constantly was whether we’ll do it right, whether we’ll make a mistake, what result we’ll achieve. Waiting for the decision of the jury, emotions were worked through. When they called us, tears of joy ran down my face. I hoped that we would win because I saw, looking at the performances of the competition, that they made mistakes, but again there was the worm of doubt that we wouldn’t achieve such great success,” Sejdic told us.
Preparations and service, Alen Spasovac explains to us, were time-limited, which additionally created nervousness in the competitors.
“We had 10 minutes to prepare, serving eight appetizers or removing settings from the table, 10 minutes. All this had to happen in a timely manner and with as few errors as possible, in which we succeeded. I think that we represented our school and professors in the best light and that was for me most important,” Spasovac says. His schoolmate Anes Spahic says that in their team there were a few small mistakes during service that fortunately did not confuse and hamper their work.
“This was our first experience and we are pleased to have achieved such a good result.
The competition was strong, because there were many good schools, skilled teams,” said Spahic, pointing to the great help and dedication of Professor Skenderagic in preparation.
Skenderagic stresses that this school was always a great talent pool, which the result confirms.
“We have talented students, but little financial support. Our greatest support comes from the school management and the director who provided resources for our students to be able to attend a competition like this,” he said.
Nor did Fatima Hodzic-Omerovic, the school’s director, hide her satisfaction at the students’ success, saying that she is proud of the students who represented the school and their country in the best possible way.