The idea was born in 2007 when the International Olympic Committee voted the city of Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
In 2015, year after the Olympic Games, the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia established an expert group led by Vladimir Bakanov for the study of the Black Sea coastal countries typical cuisines.
The research conducted by an expert group in 2016-2017 has revealed that not a single country in the Black Sea basin features in a top-30 or even top-50 of the world’s best Cuisines ratings. The only exception was the Turkish Cuisine, which makes it to the end of top-20 in a few ratings.
Another research done in Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine has shown that Black Sea Cuisine as a notion does exist in the majority of consumers’ minds, but respondents were unable to say exactly which dishes this Cuisine contains and what its essential characteristics.
Even more, every coastal country has its own Black Sea area’s cuisine inside the National cuisine – like, for example, Turkish Black sea area cuisine, Bulgarian Black sea area cuisine, etc.
Positions in the top-10…15 are always occupied by the same Cuisines, and it would be impossible to join this elite club for any of Black Sea countries separately. Only international cooperation and consolidation of efforts around a concept of one Common Black Sea Cuisine Brand can provide key to economic success for the area overall.
We clearly define our aim as readjustment of regional cuisines of the different Black Sea Coasts into one Common Black Sea Cuisine and Brand it worldwide.
It was obvious that in order to achieve the status of a distinct and accomplished category, the Black Sea Cuisine definitely needs to be changed in the consumers’ minds and in the framework documents.
For these purposes we were elaborated the Black Sea Cuisine Development and Promotion Program (BSC D&PP) and began its implementation.
At the international level, the Black Sea Cuisine Development and Promotion Program was introduced by Vladimir Bakanov at the Gastronomist Forum in Istanbul on September 23, 2017.
This date we consider as Black Sea Cuisine Brand Birth Day.
For the implementation of the Program The Black Sea Cuisine International Transcoastal Executive Committee (BSC ITEC) was established in 2018 with representative offices in Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Vladimir Bakanov was elected as Chairman & CEO. Zhelyazko Atanasov, from Bulgaria, Boris Novozhilov from Ukraine and Emrah Omer Cam from Turkey were elected as Executive Vice Chairman.
The infrastructure of BSC ITEC was established with a Board of Experts, Advisory Board and Board of Trustees.
Primary stage of BSC D&PP was focused on creating a Common Database of dishes and products typical for Black Sea coastline and inland areas along the shore.
Thanks to the support of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation, BCS ITEC could accelerate the creation of the Common Database.
Our overall objective was (and still is) to establish a distinct Brand – the Black Sea Cuisine, and make it well recognisable and preferable worldwide.
Our activity at the primary stage, fully completed in August 2020, helped build up a Common Database storing typical Black Sea Coastal Area dishes and products. The Database contains 662 items and covers all Coastal areas of Bulgaria, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and Romania.
However, our Black Sea Cuisine branding strategy was not focused on collecting a wide range of dishes, but on carefully marketing selection of a few of them that have a chance of international success. We clearly understood that end users would not be able to recognise and remember the hundreds of items from Common Database. It became obvious that the Black Sea Cuisine Brand cannot contain more than 50 dishes.
At 2020 we start to set up Black Sea Cuisine International Cluster in order to include in our Program implementation interested restaurants, food and wine retailers, hotels, farms, food producers, cooking equipment producers, fishing enterprises, bakers and cheese makers, wineries, logistics and trade companies, educational and training institutions, tour operators, airline companies, car manufacturers and rent-a car companies, cruise companies, etc.
Cluster membership is open for any interested stakeholders not only from Black Sea Coastal countries but from any other states.
Following our Branding strategy, the next stage of Program implementation was focused on narrowing the Common Database of Black Sea All Coasts dishes to the most marketable ones.
That is why our next key activity was to form a short Common Integrated Menu as the core of the Black Sea Cuisine Brand for further promotion. At the moment it includes 50 most marketable dishes with additional few spare ones for adjustments during the introduction on the market. These dishes are forming the core of the Black Sea Cuisine Brand and providing a tool for business development.
The selection was conducted by an expert group led by our CEO Vladimir Bakanov and EVC Zhelyazko Atanasov and EVC Emrah Omer Cam completed in May 2021 and the final common menu was named Black Sea Cuisine General Menu. Relevant information is presented at this website
The concept of narrowing was based on several criteria that had been chosen and approved by the BSC ITEC and an Expert Board including a wide range of experts from all coastal countries as well as food marketing specialists from France and Italy.
The list of the selection criteria which have been used in the process included 19 criteria, such as: availability of confirmed historical roots of a dish linking it to the Black Sea coastal area; prevalence of a recipe in neighbouring countries and across sea coasts: local people’s and inbound tourists knowledge and perception of a dish: local consumers and inbound tourists dish preference rates; sales records of a dish in HoReCa in 2019 for locals and for inbound tourists: cost of ingredients on domestic market; availability and cost of ingredients across the Black Sea Coastal Area: cooking simplicity of a dish; timing of the dish preparation and cooking: recipe variability; etc.
From the business point of view Black Sea Cuisine General Menu already at this stage can provide new capabilities for a broad range of stakeholders like, for example, restaurants, hotels, tour operators, food and beverage manufacturers, and other business enterprises looking for new opportunities and additional market shares in both the Black Sea coastal area and around the world.
The total estimated international target audience of Black Sea Cuisine Brand exceeds 500 million end consumers.
We are continuing forming and developing the Black Sea Cuisine International Cluster.
Now we are developing concepts for promotion events of Black Sea Cuisine – festivals, exhibitions, fairs, gala dinners, degustations, master classes, and testing these concepts in practice with current Black Sea Cuisine International Cluster members.
We are preparing a tasting Gala-Dinner of Black Sea Cuisine in several restaurants around the Black sea at the same time with online international video broadcasting.
Our overall goal is to achieve, by intensive promotion activities, the Black Sea Cuisine Brand positioning in the TOP-12…15 most recognisable world cuisines by the end of 2025.
If you share our philosophy and objectives we would be glad to see you in our team.