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TUMO to Renovate Gyumri Market into International Culinary School with EU Support


TUMO to Renovate Gyumri Market into International Culinary School with EU Support

TUMO will renovate the historic Gyumri market into an international culinary school with a grant from the European Union, as well as donations from the JHM Foundation, Judith Saryan and Victor Zarougian.


The 2.5 million euro grant agreement was signed today in Gyumri by EU Ambassador to Armenia Vassilis Maragos and TUMO CEO Marie Lou Papazian. Collaborating with the French Institut Lyfe (previously known as Paul Bocuse), TUMO will craft a new curriculum that blends Armenian culinary heritage with global standards. The hub will also accommodate spaces for workshops, booths for local vendors, restaurants, shops for handmade goods, and a venue for events.


Construction will commence soon and the grand opening of the market and culinary school is scheduled for 2026.


In collaboration with the esteemed French institution Institut Lyfe (formerly Institut Paul Bocuse), TUMO will craft a curriculum that integrates the best practices and globally recognized standards in culinary education. Outstanding students who complete the two-year program will have the chance to continue their studies at Institut Lyfe in Lyon, France.


“Our main goal with this new education program is to craft a new generation of Armenian chefs by combining the curriculum of the renowned French culinary school with tried and true methodologies from TUMO Studios, already implemented in Armenia. Students will incorporate their learning with workshops guided by international experts,” said TUMO CEO Marie Lou Papazian.


The culinary school will accommodate 30 students annually, most of whom will receive scholarships to pursue their studies entirely free-of-charge.


“This project represents the beginning of a new chapter for the economy of Gyumri. By empowering the people, especially the youth and entrepreneurs, with skills and opportunities, we are empowering Gyumri to fulfill its immense promise and potential. The EU is proud to support initiatives that unleash human capabilities and foster sustainable economic development in the regions of Armenia. Last but not least, we would like to thank TUMO and the Municipality of Gyumri for their cooperation and partnership in this project.” said Ambassador Vassilis Maragos, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia.


The project will revitalize the old market area of Gyumri, which has been abandoned for years. TUMO will oversee the reconstruction of the building. 


Upon completion, the market will be turned into a space that serves as a hub for education, culinary arts, and economic development. 


The hub will also accommodate:


  • Spaces for workshops and other educational events

  • Booths for local vendors to work in secure and hygienic environments

  • Restaurants

  • Shops for artisanal and handmade goods

  • Venue for festivals, concerts, fairs and other events


In addition to EU funding, the project will be supported by the John and Hasmik Mgrdichian Foundation as well as Judith Saryan and Victor Zarougian.


In the upcoming weeks, an international architectural competition will be launched to choose the team responsible for reconstructing the center. Once the team has been selected, construction will begin promptly. The grand opening of the market and culinary school is scheduled for 2026.

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