Coca-Cola HBC Croatia contributes to the Croatian gastro-scene with its project Raise the Bar

20. July 2020.

Through the project Raise the Bar young gastro talents can sharpen their knowledge on prestigious schools.

More than a year ago Coca-Cola HBC Croatia launched its project Raise the Bar, aimed at improving the quality of workforce in the hospitality and tourism sector. They focused their efforts into three project modules – Raise the Bar Academy intended for waiters, barmen and baristas; Raise the Bar Centres which include cooperation with Centres of Competence in tourism and Raise the Bar Scholarships for the education of young gastro talents on the best schools.

One of the young gastro talents, who already had the opportunity to sharpen her knowledge on the world-renowned academy Le Cordon Bleu in Istanbul is Nikolina Putica. This endearing young lady from Dubrovnik received the joint Raise the Bar and Budi Foodie scholarship in 2019 on the Chef’s Stage congress.

„It is hard to find the words to describe how I felt once I heard my name at the ceremony. It was a mixture of joy, pride and surprise. Our surprise was even bigger since we expected one winner and thanks to Raise the Bar and the Budi Foodie foundation all three finalists were given the opportunity to learn on prestigious academies”, says Nikolina feeling enlightened with her new knowledge.

After the first positive shock, Nikolina went to fulfil her wishes. „Coming to the Le Cordon Bleu academy and later doing my internship in Neolokal with Maksut Aksar was an important opportunity for my development since I had the chance to learn from the best” Nikolina continues. They went through all the culinary fields – from broths, sauces to meat, fish and dessert. Her lectures consisted of a theoretical and practical part which was graded. Hygiene, organization, technic, presentation and taste of the dish were included in the grades. Besides the school, Nikolina was impressed by Istanbul: “Living in such a big city as Istanbul brings new opportunities. I had the chance to experience their culture which enriched me as a person. I have a special place in my heart for the new-found acquaintances and friendships.“

Despite the disruption in her plans caused by the corona crisis, a new opportunity for cooperation emerged which she is looking forward to. “I assume that plans of most people, myself included, have changed this year. In spite of that, an opportunity to work on a project in Dubrovnik with chef Darjan Urdih opened for me. Since the crisis impacted the tourism especially, he decided to open a small local bottega, Oaza – the finest grocery store, through which he supports local family farms, olive growers and winemakers. In Oaza, various workshops and degustation will be held as well as homemade bread selling.“

Even though, thanks to the Budi Foodie and Raise the Bar scholarship, she had the opportunity to study and work abroad, she sees her professional future in Croatia. “I want to develop and build my career in Croatia because I truly believe that we have a lot of experts from who I can learn a lot” she states firmly.

Raise the Bar continues its scholarship program this year as well and the novelty is that they will start their own foundation through which they will support gastro talents. The applications for the Raise the Bar scholarships will start in Autumn. All the information of the upcoming activities from this comprehensive socially responsible project can be found on their webFacebook and Instagram pages.

„To all the young people with the ambition and desire to learn I would like to suggest that with the application for the scholarship they can open new doors in their professional lives and help strengthen our gastro scene” Nikolina smilingly concludes.