Chef Stiven Vunić and pastry chef Tea Vunić, Croatia
Konoba Zijavica, Mošćanička Draga – 3 Gault&Millau toques (15/20), the Great Chef of Tomorrow Trophy
The winner of the Great Chef of Tomorrow Trophy 2022, awarded by Gault&Millau Croatia, built his culinary empire next to one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, so everything he serves here – from white fish and clams to octopus and the inevitable Kvarner langoustines – looks convincing. He finds inspiration in local dishes of the Liburnian region, but interprets them in a modern way.
He entered the restaurant business when he was 14, as a waiter. With his own savings and the help of his father, a Kvarner shrimp fisher, at 17 years of age Stiven opened his first bar, but had already decided that he would open his own restaurant – which is why he enrolled in Kul IN culinary institute in Sisak. He had been changing the concept behind Zijavica as he was growing up: at first he offered pizza and pasta (but from the best local ingredients), but when he switched to a seafood menu, he created one of the best seafood restaurants in the Kvarner region, admitted to the prestigious Jeunes Restaurateurs association. When cooking, he is strict, focused, organized and extremely skilled technically, and his goal is to reach the level of a restaurant offering just a small number of exclusive dishes of top quality. This vision is shared by his wife Tea, who replaced hairdressing with pastry making. In their small family establishment she is in charge of traditional desserts, but presented in a modern way.