Vjeko Bašić- Chef of the Year 2018

“With love and respect for the ancient hearths of our ancestors”

This opening sentence on the menu of Boba Tavern in Murter probably best describes the life and professional philosophy of chef Vjeko Bašić, the first Croatian chef who has won the prestigious Gault&Millau Croatia 2018 Chef of the Year Award.

Over the last several years, owner and chef of the Boba Tavern, Vjeko Bašić, has transformed the family-run tavern into a top gastronomic destination, while at the same time maintaining the tradition of the cuisine of the island of Murter and Kornati archipelago. In the kitchen of the tavern, named after the Bašić family nickname “Boba”, Vjeko combines fresh, local ingredients and seafood with modern culinary techniques and refined presentation of dishes. In recent years he has demonstrated the ability to introduce new, contemporary approaches to food preparation and presentation while maintaining a great respect for tradition. The emotions he puts into his dishes are recognized and enjoyed in every bite his guests take.

After introducing innovative approaches in the kitchen, remodelling of the interior was the next logical step. The tavern has been recently transformed into a simple yet elegant space in white and black tones, furnished with wooden tables that add warmth to the space along with the open fire from the hearth, where fish or meat dishes are prepared.

They say that Dalmatians like to “take it easy”. With Vjeko, however, we may say that it is all about ease. Always in the good mood, he welcomes his guests with a big smile on his face, which is, besides exquisite food, certainly another reason why his guests are returning to this place, not only in the summer. The Boba Tavern is, namely, one of the few restaurants in the coastal region that is open year-round. Staying open out of season, especially in places that are far away from major roads and almost isolated, is quite a challenge in Croatia. Vjeko has readily taken on this challenge, though he admits that it has not always been easy. However, this has allowed him to change and enrich the menu depending on the season, and to keep his staff, who follow him closely on his successful gastronomic journey. The staff of the Boba Tavern is professional, competent and polite.

Chef Vjeko Bašić also has "his own" fishermen and organically grown produce suppliers. Everybody knows him on the island of Murter and Kornati archipelago. One of his best friends is chef Ante Božikov, owner of the Opat restaurant on the Kornat island. They often cook together in order to present the cuisine of the area.

The return to the roots, seeking inspiration in traditional Murter and Kornati recipes, using top quality local seasonal ingredients combined with an innovative culinary approach, are the values that Gault&Millau stands for. And that is why Vjeko Bašić has been selected Chef of the Year in the first edition of Gault&Millau Guide Croatia. He is definitely deserving of the prestigious title and will hold it forever.