Santa Barbara City College culinary student, Landen Ghen, arrived in Montenegro this month to work at the prestigious Regent Porto Montenegro for the summer of 2023. When approached by the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee and professor, Stephan Rapp, of the Culinary Arts department of Santa Barbara City College, Landen embraced the opportunity to work for the summer at the Regent Port Montenegro. Landen is a first-year culinary student, having graduated from Ventura College, with an Associates of Art degree in 2015. Before pursuing his dream of becoming a “chef” he worked in the construction field. He was inspired by his grandfather who told him, “You have the makings of a chef. If not in this life? Which life?” To which Landen quit construction and started working at restaurant Gotetsu – Kushiyaki and Sake House in Ventura and enrolled in SBCC’s Culinary Arts program. Landen is energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to learn all that he can while working at the Regent Porto Montenegro.
Landen Ghen follows in the footsteps of three previous Santa Barbara City College culinary students who worked and interned at the Regent Porto Montenegro; Alberto Santamaria, summer 2022, Ava Engle, summer 2021, and Marcelo Chacon, summer 2021. The Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee is pleased to have established a meaningful culinary exchange program between our Sister Cities that touches the lives of young people in the culinary and hospitality field.
KotorArt International Festival, a festival of national importance for the culture of Montenegro, is one of the greatest and most important festivals in the country and region. Every summer KotorArt gathers an impressive number of international artists and with over 200 programs at numerous venues in Kotor and throughout the Bay, attracts tens of thousands of visitors, which makes it one of the most visited festivals of this type in the region. Since its founding in 2002, KotorArt has been developing the brand of the city of Kotor, Montenegro making it recognized in the country and region for its exclusivity and high artistic level of its programs.
Ratimir Martinović, founder and director of the KotorArt International Music Festival, extends a special invitation to visit Montenegro and attend the KotorArt International Festival, July 28 – August 3, 2023. This one-of-a-kind, tailored travel experience offers a chance to discover the rich history, culture, stunning natural beauty, beaches, and sea of Montenegro, known as the Gem of the Mediterranean. Not only will you have an unforgettable experience, but you will also be making a tax-deductible contribution to the KotorArt International Festival and the newly established ME&US Foundation, which is building connections between the people of Montenegro and the United States.
In 2012, Charles Fredericks, a professor in the Culinary Arts department at Santa Barbara City College, traveled to Kotor to teach a select group of students at the Resource Center for Children with Hearing and Speech Disorders. Chef Charles taught the students basic culinary skills to prepare them for entry level positions in some of the finest resorts and restaurants in Montenegro. One of these students, Semir Ćorović, was chosen to intern at Divino restaurant in Brentwood, California, which led to full time employment at the Aman Resort in Montenegro. Another student, Ermina Sumović, stayed in Kotor and, with help from the Resource Center, found herself well prepared for a career in the kitchens of Montenegro.
One of the goals of Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister Cites has been to help students with hearing and speech disabilities find meaningful employment. We’re delighted to share with you the success of Semir and Ermina, who began their journey with us in 2012, and are currently employed at the Hotel Splendid, in Budva, Montenegro.
Our sincere thanks to Nedeljko Moskov, Director of the Resource Center, for his cooperation over the years to the benefit of many of his deserving young students and to Goran Milić, owner and chef at Divino restaurant, for his unwavering devotion in helping these young chefs succeed.
The programs we have built together that make a difference.
The success of our Sister City program has been exchanges that bring people with common interests together. The exchanges in music, culinary, and sports have allowed young people from both cities to experience international travel and participate in programs that develop their skills and creates long term relationships within our two cities.
Music exchanges with KotorArt, the Music Academy of the West and UCSBs Music Department.
Culinary exchanges with the Resource Center in Kotor , SBCC’s Culinary School and internships in Santa Barbara and Kotor.
Kotor, Montenegro was established as Santa Barbara’s Sister City in the Fall of 2009. The town of Kotor is located on the Adriatic coast in Montenegro. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical monuments, Kotor is located on a natural harbor within the Bay of Kotor. Like Santa Barbara, Kotor offers various year-round activities including sailing, diving, fishing, hiking, water polo, and festivals encompassing everything from theatre to musical arts.