Slovenian Food Day in Washington DC

Slovenian elementary school children will present their homeland on a plate to their US peers

Photo: Kuhnapato project archives.

Schools in Washington DC will be celebrating International Food Day on 10 May as part of an ongoing project by District of Columbia Public Schools. DC Mayor Muriel Bowser will proclaim this edition of the celebration "Slovenian Food Day", which means that Slovenian dishes will be served in all DC public schools. A group of students from the OŠ Šturje elementary school in Ajdovščina, this year's winners of the Kuhnapato cookery competition, will prepare traditional Slovenian dishes for the occasion, together with their peers from the Harriet Tubman Elementary School in Washington, which is matched with the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Washington under the Embassy Adoption Program. The patron of the Kuhnapato project is the Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

On International Food Day the Slovenian Embassy in Washington DC will hold an event at Harriet Tubman Elementary School consisting of a presentation of Slovenia through the eyes of American and Slovenian elementary school children. The event will begin with the Slovenian and American national anthems sung by the American students, after which seven American students will demonstrate their knowledge of Slovenia by presenting the facts they have learned about our country over the course of the past year. As well as the guest of honour Mr Božo Cerar, the Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia, speakers will include the Director of Global Education at DC Public Schools, Kate Ireland, and representatives of Harriet Tubman Elementary School. The event will also include a video about Slovenia, while the young chefs will offer a brief introduction to their homeland. 

At lunchtime the students will also have the opportunity to view a presentation of Slovenia with information about its natural and cultural heritage.

The Kuhnapato project was created seven years ago by Anka Peljhan. The aim of the project is to motivate Slovenian elementary school students to explore their own food heritage, to teach them about the food their ancestors ate, to encourage respect for their own culture and respect for nature, and help them develop healthy eating habits. The project is an interesting one because it combines cooking skills with knowledge of history, culture, the characteristics of the local environment and the changing seasons. 

Honorary patron of the Kuhnapato project

Photo: Government of the Republic of Slovenia archives

The project is also supported by Slovenian Prime Minister Dr Miro Cerar. He sent the young chefs the following message in an official letter: ''You have been entrusted with an exceptional task, that of convincing your peers in Slovenia and elsewhere that a proper attitude to food and respect for its production are important for a high-quality and full life. I am certain that you will exceed all expectations. I follow your success with great joy, and do not doubt that you will also inspire people in America. Slovenia is wonderful, and you are representing its diversity on a plate. This is important, as people living abroad should also be able to feel Slovenia.''

A letter of support from world best female chef

Ana Roš. Photo: Hiša Franko archives

The Government Communication Office has prepared a promotional book called Grandma's Kitchen especially for International Food Day. The book contains a letter of support from Ana Roš, recently named the world's best female chef, to the elementary school students who will be presenting Slovenian cuisine in America: ''My message to young chefs is: be sure to aapreciate traditional Slovenian cuisine. Present it with pride and interpret it with imagination. I firmly believe that you too can be culinary ambassadors of Slovenia around the world. Your project presents Slovenia as a culinary blend of different geographical areas. And that is why it is wonderful.''