On the 17th floor of the Zagreb hotel, The Westin, with its impressive view of the city, almost one hundred chefs from all over Croatia gathered together. At the event full of positive energy global gastronomic stars chef Edouard Loubet, the holder of five chef hats, the highest award of Gault & Millau, the best-known Slovenian chef Ana Roš and Gault & Millau young talent of 2017 in France the Japanese chef Ippei Uemura along with Gault & Millau International’s president Côme Chérisey gave support to the first Croatian edition of the Gault & Millau guide.
The project was supported by the Croatian National Tourism Board, and congratulations to the winners were sent by Kristjan Staničić, the Director of the Croatian National Tourism Board. “Eno-gastro tourism is becoming one of the main motives to come to a destination, and we are developing this sector of Croatian tourism via the promotion of excellence. Our inclusion in Gault & Millau’s guide represents great success and the confirmation of the quality of Croatia’s eno-gastronomy. Although people are turning towards new trends today, they also appreciate and look for authenticity and originality at the same time. And it is because of this that we want to bring the world closer to Croatia’s unique and varied eno-gastro offer and position the country as a tourist destination full of experience”, said Director Staničić.
The Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Croatia has given support to the project. The gala evening was attended by Frano Matušić, the Secretary of State, and Minister Gari Cappelli also sent congratulations to all the winners. “I congratulate all the restaurants, wineries and POP locals who have been deservedly included in the first national edition of one of the most prestigious gastronomic guides in the world. With this edition, local and foreign lovers of good food and wine have good and reliable advice about where to try the best of Croatia, and it has additionally valorised the gourmet value of our country”, emphasised Minister Cappelli.
The first Croatian “culinary Oscars” were awarded at the ceremonial, gala evening. Vjeko Bašić, the chef of Konoba Boba was declared Chef of the Year. Two restaurants, Rovinj's Monte and Šibenik’s Pelegrini were awarded the most caps, four of them. Ana Grgić, the chef at Zinfandel's restaurant at the Hotel Esplanade was declared the best future chef of 2018, and a trophy for the chef of traditional cooking of 2018 went to Branimir Tomašić, the chef at the Mala Hiža restaurant. Two trophies were awarded in the Young Talent of 2018 category, and the trophies went to Deni Srdoč, chef at the Draga di Lovrana restaurant and Duje Kanajet, chef at the restaurant Artičok. The trophy for the best POP of 2018 went to Split’s confectionary shop O'š Kolač, to young confectioner Tea Mamut.
Two other awards were presented: Payment Excellence Award restaurant powered by Mastercard to the restaurant Foša and Payment Excellence Award POP powered by Mastercard to the bistro Otto & Frank. Premium partner Mastercard, special partners supported the project: Metro, Debic, INA and The Westin Zagreb, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the gala event partners: Veuve Clicquot, Krauthaker, Korlat, Kabola and Natura Tartufi.
Upon the presentation of the awards, Côme de Chérisey, owner and president of the board of Gault & Millau emphasised: “I am proud of our values which follow the tradition of our founders. They are the respect of the chefs and owners of restaurants and justified criticism. Gault & Millau is a brand, present in 22 countries, which enjoys international trust. Our strength is in the well-informed members of local teams. Anonymous inspectors are passionate connoisseurs of the local terrain and are familiar with the specific culture of each region. Similarly, Gault & Millau is unique in this for discovering young chefs. The discovery of the talents of tomorrow is first and foremost in our DNA. My ambition is that we help these chefs to grow professionally and develop so that they become global representatives of their countries.”
Ingrid Badurina Danielsson, Gault & Millau’s director for Croatia, emphasised her satisfaction that local chefs and cooks enthusiastically received the first Croatian edition of one of the most prestigious global gastronomic guides and recognised the philosophy of the brand which Gault & Millau has been promoting for 50 years already – “Luxury is in the quality, not in the price.”