You see, today is my first working day… I sailed away on an interesting journey with GoDubrovnik & having it on my mind I do realize I have some responsibilities.
As our faithful reader, you ought to know all the local secrets, hints and hides, do’s and don’t’s, therefore I decided to start it with the one of the most recognized names in the world wide culinary.
For years, I worked with Chef Ozgur Donertas. Knowing him really influenced me as a person. What makes him very special is his great talent and humbleness. Therefore I was eager to share my experience and to scratch the surface of his professional facade.
Working, cooperating and talking to Mr. Ozgur cannot leave you lukewarm, especially if you try his food.
1. First thing that comes across when you hear Dubrovnik.
Year 2002 and my first Dubrovnik morning at hotel Excelsior. I was 26 years old, came here because of the East Mediterranean Cuisine training in hotel Pucic Palace for 3 days. But I stayed for 3 months. I didn’t even bring kufer (Dubrovnik term for suitcase) with me. I’ll never forget it. I had breakfast with the seagulls; they were literally with me! I thought ”Wallah I am in heaven!” by the Ploce Gate. That’s when I fell in love with Dubrovnik. It’s amazing, the air you have, the rosemary, lavender and laurel . . . it’s everywhere.
2. What was the first local dish you made?
Dalmatian Sauce(Garlic, Parsley, Olive Oil) for fried calamari.
3. Your favorite thing about Dubrovnik?
The Ston salt! It’s the best salt in the World, even better than the Himalayan salt. It has the special texture and it blends great with food. Dubrovnik has stunning ingredients.
4. Top celebrities you cooked for
Jennifer Lopez / I made her a Thanksgiving Dinner
Price Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum
5. Did you use the Ston salt that time you cooked for JLo?
Of course! It’s the only salt I cook with and I literally carry it everywhere I go. Even if it means cooking in Dubai!
6. What are the trends in cooking
Gluten free, vegan and HALAL. Right now I’m working on implementing these three menus in our hotel.
7. The most interesting event in your career?
Well, it was in Dubai. 315 guests- big fat Indian wedding. The most luxurious event I have ever seen in my life! The table settings, covers, plates, all that crystal, the staff… money was not an issue! A buffet dinner style but also three waiters per table. However, the guests didn’t need any. They were eating with hands while standing up. Once they finished, the plates were left on the floor. That caused a major uproar. Each plate they left behind must have been at least 100 USD worth. The waiters, cooks, chefs… everyone went out to collect them while the crazy crowd was still dancing around.
8. Favorite Dubrovnik restaurant?
9. Favorite Croatian wine?
Plavac Mali Tomić
10. What to go for in Dubrovnik?
The famous Ston salt and Oil 17!