ONA- an exclusive fine dining experience in а desolate village

Filip Zahariev is a Bulgarian chef at the world’s northernmost boutique restaurant in Svalbard. A young, enterprising and cheerful person, he is motivated by challenges and is an exceptional master in the kitchen. After working for years in the north, he decided to return to his rootsin Bulgaria-Vidin and open a fine restaurant in the village of Stakevtsi near Vidin. This region, among the poorest in Bulgaria, is dotted with nearly desolate villages. With a lot of work, perseverance, will and love, the restaurant ONA came into being.

By telling his personal story and informing the public about every step in setting up the restaurant, he is gaining popularity. Philip’s concept is to use only locally grown and organic food from the smallest farmers in close proximity and serve wine from the local winery. Everything is seasonal and organic, cooked and presented in a Michelin restaurant standard and style. ONA isn’t just a place to dine; it’s a canvas where unforgettable stories, emotions, and human energies are painted onto every table.

Why is it regenerative?

Filip Zahariev exemplifies regenerative tourism. He returned to his hometown, opening ONA, a fine dining restaurant in Stakevtsi. ONA’s commitment to local, organic ingredients from nearby small farmers promotes economic growth. Zahariev’s storytelling shares his journey and emotionally engages visitors, while the restaurant’s complete culinary experience supports the local economy and immerses guests in northwestern Balkan culture and nature, aligning perfectly with regenerative tourism principles.

Project partners met in Aveiro on the 14th and 15th of September 2023. It was the perfect opportunity to visit the destination with regenerative glasses on, to understand its many assets but also some of the challenges the destination is facing. Face to face project meetings always provide the partners with the unique opportunity to learn about the work of the hosting partner and get valuable insights about the destination. In this case partners were hosted by the dedicated team of management and tourism professionals of the University of Aveiro who shared a wealth of insights about a city that was new to many of the participants.

The Enforce project is well on track when it comes to the project work plan, which means that after having completed the Best Practice collection of innovative examples about storytelling for regeneration and also the Storyteller’s Guide, partners used the meeting to discuss the development of the Enforce Training Programme.

For the next few months partners will be working on developing the content in line with guidelines provided by the University of Usak, our project partner from Turkey.
The course should be available for piloting in January/February 2024 and will also be available in the partner languages once all translations are finalised.

The ENFORCE team met in the beautiful city of Luxembourg for its kick-off meeting. It took place at the premises of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg (also known as CCIL), which opened its doors to warmly welcome all partners.

The team was aware of the importance of this first meeting and approached it with the same enthusiasm, as it plays an important role in building strong bonds that will contribute to the success of the entire cooperation. With the common goal of building a solid foundation, the participants discussed in depth the first steps required for the project ENFORCE.

During this visit, the project objectives were discussed in depth to ensure that each partner has a comprehensive understanding of the overarching goals. The outcome of the kick-off meeting was extremely satisfying for all partners and generated enthusiasm among the team. It was a success and left everyone inspired and energised.

The journey of ENFORCE has officially begun and with the collective expertise of the committed partners, there is no doubt that it will thrive and achieve remarkable results.


“The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein”

Project N: 2022-1-LU01-KA220-VET-000089887

© 2024 Enforce Project
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