It’s a common joke in Croatia that women belongs in the kitchen. At the same time men are often associated with some heavier, physical jobs. Since the society sometimes writes unspoken rules, they are here to be broken.
Funny enough, they say it’s women’s place in the kitchen, but many times it’s men that work as chefs at well known restaurants and hotels. On very rare occasions you can bump into a female chef! Is that because you have to refer to her as a “boss” or is it because it’s still difficult for women to build a career in jobs reserved for men?
But as you already know, here in Dubrovnik, you can always find something different and fresh! For example, you can taste the excellent food prepared with lots of love and knowledge at the Hilton Imperial Hotel. Not only the food is great, but it’s prepared by the team led by a chef who’s indeed- a woman. She is a charismatic, capable and simple, but above all, she is a leader who motivates her team – with both feet firmly on the ground.
Julija Bašić has worked at Hilton Imperial Hotel since her early beginnings: “I worked with various chefs here, and I have to admit it wasn’t always easy. What motivated me the most is the pure love I always felt for my job!” Julia says with a smile on her face.” I won’t go into a story about my education in Germany that my father provided for me…I owe him everything. Yes, being a chef is really a special thing for me. “
Julia was always into cooking. Since she was a very young girl, she cooked for her family. This is where her interest came from. But Julia isn’t only a chef, she’s also a wife and a mother, and this is where her main focus is. According to her, humility and persistence are two life paradoxes that can make us the person we always want to be.
“I’ve never been modest as far as food is concerned, as you can see…” Julia laughs. “But I’ve never been “modest in work” either. I love working with my team who’s been with me for years”.
“She’s a “machine” and a woman that leaves nothing to chance says Cvijeta, a Sous-Chef de Cuisine “Yes, I came to work at 4 am, so of course I’m calm.” Cvijeta laughs and continues “Julia and me always arrive first, because we believe that the boss always needs to be present… Just like in every other business, motivation is very important. It divides people to successful and unsuccessful ones, and it makes them satisfied or less satisfied. And what about those times when things don’t go as planned? “Well, not only we have a plan B, but we also have a plan C and D,” Cvijeta continues… “Love is everything! And it’s just not a phrase. Knowledge, perseverance, and work are just spices for the love! “
“When I create a new menu, it usually takes days. You need to know a lot about blooming, growing, picking, planting, and how will the ingredients look like when they come to the kitchen. We care about quality because it’s the only thing we know! And that takes time. ” says Cvijeta and adds: “Here, you’ll experience the best of fresh ingredients, you’ll basically taste our love for cooking and you’ll enjoy the magnificent food presentation. All this can be achieved with good organisation skills and good teamwork. I invite everyone in Dubrovnik, especially locals for our breakfast at the hotel”
“Why breakfast?” We asked. “Breakfast is always a challenge, because it’s served from 7AM to 11PM every morning and it always has to look the same. Come and experience it! I guarantee you will enjoy the scents and the flavors of tasty morning snacks with our excellent coffee! “
These two women that “belong in the kitchen” are a living proof that anyone can accomplish anything. When you pick a job that you truly love, and when you do everything in your power to do it the best way possible, life becomes a dream and success becomes a promise. You just have to learn how to deal with both positive and negative things, and learn from them. ” I live my dream each and every day here at the kitchen of Hilton Hotel. I hope every one of you has “its own kitchen of success.” that makes a difference in this world. No matter how big or small it might be.” concludes Hilton Imperial’s kitchen chef, Julia Bašić.