More than a year ago, Coca-Cola HBC Croatia launched the Raise the Bar project aimed at raising the workforce quality in the hospitality and tourism sectors. It focused its efforts through three project modules: the Raise the Bar Academy for waiters, bartenders and baristas, cooperation with competence centers in tourism and scholarships for young gastronomy talents to train at the world’s top schools. Last year, Raise the Bar awarded in cooperation with the Budi Foodie Foundation scholarships to as many as three finalists for training at prestigious academies.
Tibor Valinčić, Nikolina Putica and Marina Levak are the young hopes of the gastronomy scene who had the opportunity this year to expand their knowledge and learn from top experts. They happily remember the moment when they found out that they had won scholarships. “The first thing that crossed my mind was that there had been some sort of mistake because I was the last to realize that I was a winner. I saw that Tibor was raising his hands in the air, Nikolina started crying and I was looking at the paper and read the word winner in shock. That’s when I actually realized what was happening and that all three of us had won,” remembers Marina. Tibor agrees with her: “The moment the results were announced there was some confusion while we were trying to understand who the real winner was, followed by a wave of happiness and many emotions when we realized that all three of us had won scholarships”.
They already had the opportunity to take advantage of their scholarships. Nikolina Putica was the first of the scholarship holders to attend her training at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu Academy in Istanbul. Marina Levak recently returned from patisserie training at the Ecole Nationale superieure de patissierie – Ducasse & Thurie, while Tibor Valinčić started his training at the Intrecci Alta Formazione Academy in Italy. Visitors of the Taste the Mediterranean Festival, a one-of-a-kind international festival of Mediterranean food, gastronomy, products, wine and cultural heritage to take place October 7-11 in Split, will have the chance to learn firsthand about the experiences of the young scholarship holder Nikolina.