It is said that you should let go of the past but restaurant Zoí definitely doesn’t. In fact, the Emperor’s dining room was once right next to the restaurant, giving this place a special historical feel. Zoí (Greek for “life”) offers a unique experience, embedding food from the ancient trade routes from Lebanon to Greece, Italy, France and the Balkans. Cultures and music entwine with wine and delicacies that are fine, and the décor is all stone and modern elegance. The terrace overlooking the sea is sublime with the vibe of the town just beneath you. That this is an unforgettable and sensual experience is now recognised by Michelin, who awarded Zoí two forks and spoons denoting comfort and quality.
Ivica Katić is a chef at the Zoí Restaurant
SIYP: What inspired you to become a chef? How did you start out?
Ivica: Since my early childhood, I loved to play in the kitchen with my family and when it was time to decide on a future path, the answer was very clear –‘I want to be a Chef!’ In the beginning, it was very difficult to decide on what to do, which road to take? So I did all kinds of jobs and gained various experiences across various types of restaurants and hotels in Croatia and abroad.
SIYP: What is your philosophy of food?
Ivica: My food philosophy is that there is something special in each dish, in its appearance and mostly in taste. Therefore, I combine Mediterranean cuisine by using primarily local ingredients with some international influences. Every dish and menu that I develop is my own creation and reflects on the inspiration that connects to me, the team I work with, the restaurant, and of course, the demands and needs of the guests who are growing in numbers each year and whose demands are even greater.
SIYP: What is your favourite Croatian dish and why?
Ivica: My favourite Croatian dish is Skradinski rižot (Skradin risotto). It is a dish that is unusual and demanding to make, it is extremely tasty and can be varied in preparation.
SIYP: What inspires you in creating new meals at Zoí restaurant?
Ivica: I am inspired by the very special allure and position of the restaurant, and the desire for guests to try something they will probably never taste again; a special fusion of flavours that remain in one’s memory.
SIYP: What are your recommendations when choosing a dish from the Zoí menu?
Ivica: As I’ve mentioned before, every dish is special in its own way. Personally, I would recommend that guests relax and try what seems most appealing to them, whether it be a meat, fish, soup or an appetiser… Whatever you choose, you will not be mistaken!
Tina Mršić is a pastry chef at the Zoí Restaurant
A pastry chef at the Zoí restaurant who is passionate about her job which fills her with delight, and what makes her most happy is when guests feel the beauty of the desserts she prepares.
SIYP: Where did you find inspiration in becoming a pastry chef?
Tina: I found inspiration in my mother’s desserts since she too is a pastry chef and I have loved sweets and desserts ever since my early childhood.
SIYP: What are your favourite flavour combinations?
Tina: My favourite flavour combination is vanilla and caramel.
SIYP: What is your favourite Croatian dessert?
Tina: My favourite Croatian desert is the Zagreb Chocolate Cake.
SIYP: Which homemade ingredient do you feel is not being used as much but could make for a great dessert?
Tina: The fig is little used in today’s desserts and for this reason we have decided to make a great dessert made of figs.
SIYP: Which desserts that encompass authentic ingredients from the menu would you recommend to Zoí guests?
Tina: Certainly our new dessert with fig. A light vanilla cream with mascarpone cheese, figs with prošek and a touch of lavender. Ingredients that represent Dalmatia have been combined into a beautiful light dessert.