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.
Entertaining, informative, and a look to the future was what everyone experienced who attended the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City event at the Music Academy of the West, on Sunday October 2nd.
Guests enjoyed original music created and performed by musicians from the department of music UCSB and Montenegro, along with performances by celebrated guitarist MILOŠ and the Crown Prince of Montenegro, Nicholas Petrovich-Njegoš. A documentary exploring the history of the U.S. and Montenegro and an emotional look back at 13 years of Sister City exchanges between Santa Barbara and Kotor were the highlights of the evening.
Dignitaries from both Sister Cities were on hand as Santa Barbara’s, Dr. Ichak K. Adizes, was awarded the newly established American Montenegro – USA Friendship Award under the patronage of the President of Montenegro, Mr. Milo Djukanović.
Ratimir Martinović, along with Helene Schnieder, presented the ME&US Fund (Montenegro & United States) a project initiated by Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister Cities, KotorArt, the SJL Foundation and the Don Branko Sbutega Foundation. With its mission to strengthen the civil and cultural ties between the two countries and their citizens.
Funded by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Montenegro, composers from Santa Barbara and Kotor created original music, representative of their home countries, which was performed by young musicians from each of our Sister Cities. The performance was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, Judy Rising Reinke, and Sister City Committee liaison, Vickie Williams.
As an encore, these young musicians will perform this program at the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara on October 2, 2022. Also performing will be Montenegrin guitarist, Miloš Karadaglić, together with Nicholas Petrovic Njegoš, the Crown Prince of Montenegro, on flute. Other dignitaries from both Sister Cities will be on hand as Santa Barbara’s Dr. Ichak K. Adizes is awarded the newly established American Montenegro – USA Friendship Award under the patronage of the President of Montenegro, Mr. Milo Djukanović.
Santa Barbara City College culinary student, Alberto Santamaria, has been chosen by the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee to intern at the prestigious Regent Porto Montenegro for the summer of 2022. This informal program had its beginnings in 2010 when Randy Bublitz, former chair of the Culinary Arts School at SBCC, traveled to Kotor to teach a group of young students from the Institute for Children With Disabilities the basic skills for entry level work in Montenegro’s resorts and restaurants. These students, despite their hearing impairments, thrived in the restaurant environment creating multiple employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
The success of the program also resulted in SBCC culinary students, Ava Engle and Marcelo Chacon, being invited to intern at the Regent Porto Montenegro in the summer of 2021. The impression these two made on the manager and chef of the Resort resulted in an agreement for continuing the relationship between SBCC culinary tudents and the Regent Porto Montenegro Resort.
The Santa Barbara Sister City Committee is pleased to have established a meaningful exchange program between our Sister Cities that touches the lives of young people for years to come.