Nikolina, Tibor and Marina are three ambitious young people with a similar desire: to develop their skills, to get ahead professionally and to raise the bar of Croatia’s hospitality industry. And as of this year, they are closer to achieving this!
These three young gastronomy forces namely had the opportunity to train at world-renowned schools thanks to joint scholarships by the Raise the Bar project and the Budi Foodie Foundation. Nikolina trained at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Academyin Istanbul, Marina recently returned from confectionery training at the Ecole Nationale superieure de patissierie – Ducasse & Thurie, while Tibor started his training at the Intrecci Alta Formazione Academy in Italy. Their trainings were intense and included both a theoretical and practical part, while weekends were spent getting to know the local culture and other students at their academies and participating in events that are relevant for their development. They also fondly remember the moment the winners were announced since they thought until the very last moment that only one of them would win a scholarship, but Raise the Bar and Budi Foodie surprised them by awarding a scholarship to each of them. “It’s difficult to put into words how I felt when I heard my name at the award ceremony. It was a mixture of excitement, happiness, pride and positive surprise. And our surprise was even bigger since we had expected that only one of us would win a scholarship, but thanks to Raise the Bar and the Budi Foodie Foundation all three of us were given the opportunity to train at the world’s best academies,” recalls Nikolina.
That this really is a matter of fulfilling their dreams is proven by the fact that all of them have been in the kitchen “since they can think”. “I cooked the first surprise lunch for my parents when I was seven. Somehow I was constantly gravitating towards that and when I was 17 I entered the world of professional cooking for the first time in Boškinac. I started working during the summer, which turned out to be the right decision,” points out Tibor. Although they now face a different reality from what it was when they won the scholarships, all agree that perseverance, a positive attitude and hard work pay off in the end. They have many plans for their professional future and are not afraid of it.