Chef Deni Srdoč- Young Talent of the Year 2018

A great incentive for Chef Deni to continue his stellar career

At a very young age of 24 Deni Srdoč became the head chef of the famous Kvarner restaurant Draga di Lovrana. It is truly a great achievement for this young chef who first discovered his passion for cooking as a child while watching his grandmother Marija lovingly prepare the traditional Kvarner specialties in his birthplace on the island of Krk. After finishing high school, he enrolled in electrical engineering study program, but he soon realized that he could not ignore his passion for food and decided that he wanted to become a chef instead of an engineer. When he told the news to his parents, they were initially shocked, but then decided to give him a chance to prove himself. "No pain, no gain," they told him, and sent him off to work in a local restaurant as an apprentice. Only after the test period was he allowed to enrol in a culinary school.

He did his internship in a Zagreb restaurant, under the famous chef Dino Galvagno, and then joined the team of the Lovran restaurant Draga di Lovrana at the invitation of chef Zdravko Tomšić. It turned out to be the beginning of young Deni’s culinary career. Being an excellent mentor as he is, chef Tomšić soon recognized his talent and at first decided to entrust him with the task of creating desserts and in time, other dishes as well. Deni proved to be the best at preparing his grandma’s recipe for the šurlice pasta with lamb stew.

Not only did he polish his skills under the guidance of chef Tomšić, but he also learned all about the organization of this type of business, buying the ingredients, etc. In short, he acquired all other skills that a future chef should have. Deni has always paid great attention to the ingredients he uses; they have to be organically grown, and most of them, of course, come from the Kvarner area. He always selects traditional dishes and interprets them in a modern and innovative way. His cuisine is also interesting because it is not strictly Mediterranean. He likes to explore recipes and dishes from all over Croatia, and often finds the inspiration during his numerous travels, where he discovers and immerses himself in local gastronomies with great curiosity. He frequently visits France, the cradle of modern gastronomy, and Italy, where he enjoys first-class dishes prepared from "ordinary" ingredients, the philosophy he follows in his own kitchen too.

We are certain that the Young Talent of the Year Title awarded by Gault & Millau will be a great incentive for Chef Deni to continue his stellar career, and expect many culinary surprises from him.