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Cooking the conference#5 – Maarten Taborsky

Boerenstoemp as cooked at the Ecsite cooking the conference series #ecsite2015
MaartenTaborsky, Project Director at BrunsRaquel cooks Boerenstoemp for the cooking the conference series #ecsite2015

Maarten Taborsky, Project Director at Dutch exhibition manufacturer Bruns and a faithful exhibitor at the Ecsite Conference, is our fifth guest for the “cooking the conference” series. Maarten will feed our curiosity by revealing some of the behind the scenes features at the 2015 Business Bistro …

Maarten, how is Bruns growing in the field of science centres?

Bruns is one of the oldest exhibition making companies in the world, already in business for 52 years. Our big strength is the diversity of disciplines we combine in-house. We always work on content-driven projects in cooperation with designers, and our management and engineering department work hand in hand with content experts. Depending on projects, we deliver single exhibits or entire exhibitions. We have changed a lot over the years: we grew from 2 to 85 people!

Can you tell us more about yourself and the projects you’re involved in?

As a Project Director, I cooperate with content developers and designers to develop effective and successful projects. For example, we have an ongoing collaboration with Vilvite Science Center (Norway) on an exhibition space located in a retail centre on an island near Bergen. We’re working with many stakeholders: designers from the NorthernLight agency, representatives of the deep sea industries, fishermen, schools, to create a unique 1200m2 science related exhibition. Local people created the content together with our Dutch team and Vilvite. Together we are proud of what is almost finished. Planned opening: May 2015.

You will be exhibiting at the Business Bistro at the Ecsite Annual Conference: how are you preparing for it?

We’re really excited to be at the conference and we are already planning ways to attract people to our booth. We will be presenting our new project in Malta with a tornado exhibit; showcasing our shiny new website; and inviting attendees to play with a colour and light interactive exhibit. This year we are also hosting a lottery: you’ll have the chance to win a weird and Brazil nut shaped exhibit. We will also be serving a special Dutch liquor: come and taste some!

This won’t be your first time as Business Bistro exhibitors: what makes you come back?

The Ecsite Annual Conference is one of the main networking events of the year for us. Many people come to this conference and we have many business contacts we see only at the conference. We look forward to shaking hands with old friends and making new ones, presenting new material and projects and getting inspired by the sessions. All this in an informal and fun atmosphere.

Is there something you’re particularly looking forward to this year?

The most special thing about the Ecsite conference is the format, with the Business Bistro always in a very central location. Moreover, the content is great, the crowd truly international and we’re surrounded by decision makers. This year I’m very curious to see the new MUSE science centre - and of course, I’m looking forward to trying the famous Italian food and hospitality! I also hear that Ecsite and the Graz team who will be holding the 2016 conference in Austria are planning a competition in the Business Bistro: attendees will have the chance to win one of three free registrations for next year. We exhibitors will be giving participants the stamps they’ll need to enter the draw…

Do you have an anecdote from a previous Business Bistro you’d like to share with us?

We presented an exhibit in Gothenburg two years ago that became somehow awkward. We were using a pepper’s ghost illusion to project a spider onto the hand of participants. Some people were amused but some started screaming and running away!

The 2015 Ecsite Annual Conference’s theme is “Food for curious minds” – what comes to your mind when hearing it?

What comes to mind are concepts such as curiosity, mystery, interesting phenomena in science, searching for the boundaries of what’s still unknown. It reminds me of the book by Robbert Dijkgraaf, Exchanging glances, in which the physicist tells the story of pursuing new and exciting things. He reminds us that atoms have been around since the birth of the universe, so you might be breathing the same air as famous people from the past – I love this thought!

As our last question, we ask interviewees of the “Cooking the conference” series to give us a traditional recipe from their region – or a recipe they love. Do you have a recipe for us that might prove clichés about Dutch food wrong?

I will share with you a very typical Dutch recipe: the Boerenstoemp. It’s a warm, winter dish, with kale and potatoes (we’re known as the potatoes eaters). For this recipe you need potatoes that crumble easy. And to be genuine Dutch you’ll have to eat it with smoked sausage. Here’s the recipe (adapted from coquinaria.nl):

Add the potatoes (about 1kg) in a large pan and add as much water as needed to just submerge the potatoes. Add one meat stock cube. Put the kale (about 500g) on top of the potatoes, and one good smoked sausage (or several Frankfurters) on top of the kale. Cover with a lid, bring to the boil and then lower the fire. Let simmer for about twenty minutes.

As soon as potatoes and kale are cooking, start with the bacon and onions. Heat the bacon (150g) in a thick-bottomed skillet. When the bacon fat has melted, add two onions and lower the heat. Stir occasionally, and keep covered. Braise for fifteen minutes.

When the potatoes are done, remove the smoked sausage. Pour off the liquid, but retain it. Mash potatoes and kale without turning it into a purée. Now add as much of the cooking liquid as you need to get a savoury consistency. Mix in bacon and onions, lots of black pepper, a dollop of lard or butter, and two spoons of vinegar. And enjoy!

Cooked and enjoyed at the Ecsite office by the Communications team Raquel da Cunha and Julie Becker.

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2015 Ecsite Conference

The 2015 Ecsite Conference took place in Trento, Italy, on 11-13 June. It gathered 1,101 participants from 52 different countries, breaking an attendance record. Look back on the appetizing “Food for curious minds” edition cooked up by conference host MUSE.