Fantastic tastes and smells, top experts and unforgettable fun at the Weekend Food Festival in Rovinj

Weekend Food Festival Rovinj photo Neva Žganec, Pixsell
Weekend Food Festival Rovinj photo Neva Žganec, Pixsell

The best selection of flavors and content this year attracted more than 2,500 thousand visitors to the old Rovinj Tobacco Factory, who during the three days of the third Weekend Food Festival in a row had the opportunity to learn and socialize with the best of the best when it comes to gastronomy. Chefs and experts – Hrvoje Zirojević, Boris Šuljić, Daniela Kramarić, Danijel Đekić, David Skoko, Mate Janković, Filip Ćirić, Janez Bratovž, Marina Gaši, Jure Tomič, Matija Bogdan, Ante Udovicić, Vesna Miletić, are just some of those who told their inspiring stories and delighted all lovers of food, drink and flavors, as well as all those who deal with them or just enjoy them.

The focus of the topics of all interesting lectures, panels and masterclasses ranged from the current topic of the search for qualified labor, the challenges of procurement and the availability of good, local ingredients to the still unused space for the development of the culture of going to restaurants, both due to prices and the lack of intangible cultural of heritage that develops precisely through the continuous organization of festivals such as the Weekend Food Festival.


The “Twenty years on top” panel brought together four culinary giants – Hrvoje Zirojević, Dvor, Daniela Kramarić, Plavi podrum, Danijela Đekić, Monte and Boris Šuljić, Boškinac. “We are tested every day. There is nothing there that will help you for tomorrow, because even today we are in front of the court of the public with every plate”, said Šuljić and advised the younger generations not to prepare for this long journey if they do not have enthusiasm.




The owner of the Macedonian winery Tikveš, Svetozar Janevski and the moderator Robert Čoban, president of Color Press Group, WFF_Razgovor s legendom, photo Emica Elveđi Pixsell

One of the most prominent regional business leaders, the owner of the Macedonian winery Tikveš, Svetozar Janevski, told moderator Robert Čoban, president of Color Press Group, how he decided to invest in Tikveš precisely to give young people the opportunity not to leave Macedonia, and he believes that young people really want to work. but they need leaders who will know how to motivate them. In the panel called “Conversation with a legend”, he boasted that Tikveš has a fantastic team with a total of 250 employees, and that in the last three years it has recorded growth between 20 and 30 percent, and next year it celebrates an impressive 140 years of existence.


Robert Čoban, the President of Color Press Group and Goran Kovačević, Atoll Hotel Management, Dimitrije Acevski, Sunčani Hvar, Aleksandar Vasilijević, Hotel Hilton, and Saša Pejić, BQ Restaurant Group, photo Emica Elveđi, Pixsell

The intriguing topic of Belgrade, which still does not have a restaurant with a Michelin star, but has Lafayette, which made it a phenomenon, was discussed by the moderator Robert Čoban, the President of Color Press Group and Goran Kovačević, Atoll Hotel Management, Dimitrije Acevski, Sunčani Hvar, Aleksandar Vasilijević, Hotel Hilton, and Saša Pejić, BQ Restaurant Group, who is sure that Lafayette did more for the promotion of Belgrade than Michelin. Kovačević emphasized that there is still a lack of good chefs who can handle the gastronomic scene, because the trend of opening restaurants with recipes from the Internet is not sustainable.


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Maximilian J. W. Thomae, the founder of modern Turkish cuisine, Matija Bogdan, executive chef at Aminess Hotels & Resorts and Davor Butković, editor-in-chief of Kult Plava Kamenica, agreed that the use of local ingredients is imperative and their procurement demanding at the fantastic panel “What we can learn from Turkey”. At the same time, Butković added that the strategic problem is that as many as 90 percent of restaurants in Croatia are opened for the wrong reasons and continued: “The first think that they will make money so quickly, others have the need to open restaurants for the masses on the coast, and the third want to make a good restaurant, but after a year they face enormous costs”.


And what is it like to run fine dining restaurants and is there any profit in that? “We do the most difficult, but also the most beautiful work,” says chef Jure Tomič. Together with chefs Marin Gaša and Janez Bratovž, he agreed that in fine dining, first and foremost, the story told through the highest level of food preparation is integrated into a superbly designed experience, and that is precisely why profit is not primary.



The Weekend Food Festival also revealed what a culinary TV show looks like when the cameras are turned off, as well as the fights and strictures provoked in front of the cameras. Chef Ivana Bekavac says that, unfortunately, everything is much worse in the real world, while MasterChef Hrvatska producer Dinko Paleka says that provocations are not even necessary, because the characters of individuals are known in advance and it is easy to assess in which direction the story will go. At the same time, he announced that there will be less tension and combativeness, because the viewers are looking for a feel good direction.


Of course, there was no shortage of fantastic flavors and aromas at the Food Festival, which were mostly served at the Weekend Food Market, along with dancing entertainment and a fantastic atmosphere with the legendary Nena Belan. Two show cooking workshops were held at one of the most famous grills in the world, and the one by chef Gracija Horvatin from Fine Food Murter, who prepared fish and vegetables, was particularly interesting. The grilling masterclass performed by BBQ Hot Yard lasted for two hours, and then the kitchen was taken over by the genius Saralee Madnui, who showed how to make an original Thai curry.

People were waiting for a free spot in the masterclass halls where one could learn everything about brandy, the special flavors of vinegar, taste and learn how to make cocktails from the best cocktail masters Filip Pleteš and Marko Pećnik, but also find out why the shape of the glass is important for combining taste and smell .

A real treat happened on the last day of Weekend Food when chef Jeffrey J. Vella, corporate culinary director of Maistra, prepared a “secret dinner” powered by Kaufland which was enjoyed by Baby Lasagna, Tatjana Jurić, Luka Nižetić, Ida Prester, Nataša Janjić Medančić and many other celebrities .

Find out more about how it was at the third Weekend Food Festival, which is taking place for the third year in partnership with Maistra as well as on the SM profiles of WWF