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MENA: Training in Restaurant Management

Through the MENA programme, restaurant owners and managers in the Lecce area received three-month high-level training in restaurant management, cooking techniques and the transformation of food products. The project, sponsored and organised by TAP, brings together top-rated chefs and local restaurant owners and managers, ultimately supporting the local economy and tourism. The programme is already at its second edition. 

MENA (Master of Excellence in New Food) 2018, the second edition, brought together several experts and teachers, such as Apulian starred chefs. Several applicants replied to TAP's call for participation in December 2017. 17 restaurant owners and managers in the Lecce province have been selected and participated in the programme. The 18 training sessions included 144 hours of classroom lessons, workshops, as well as tours to gardens, olive groves and well-known taverns and vineyards.

The 15 Salento restaurant owners and managers who participated in the first MENA edition (2017) feel the training programme was very beneficial to their businesses. MENA was “a great opportunity to strengthen my knowledge in the catering industry. I didn’t think it would be so well-organised. The team was as good as I expected, moreover, the teachers were very prepared, as well as the starred chefs.” said one of the participants. 

At the end of the programme, the top three students receive individual counselling on revamping their restaurant concepts, including advice on beefing up the menu and re-training staff.

€70,000 investment

MENA was designed to enhance the service quality in the tourism and hospitality sectors. As part of this programme, TAP is supporting the food & beverage sector – a key element of the touristic offer in Italy. Tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. TAP wants to have a positive impact on the local economy by strengthening the livelihoods of local communities in a way that is sustainable, leverages local assets and emphasises local heritage.


TAP promoted MENA through a communication campaign across the Lecce Province, including advertising in local newspaper, websites and social media, as well as a dedicated website:

MENA was designed together with RP Consulting, an Apulian communications and marketing agency specialised in food and beverage services.