KITCHEN ECOLOGY LECTURER
A good chef should be a chemist, physicist, nutritionist, psychologist, doctor, artist and manual worker in one.
While she was an economics major in Split, Maja Mladinov decided to realize her curiosity for culinary arts and got a job at the Pasarela pizzeria-restaurant on the island of Šolta. As a result of a boost in nautical tourism, the restaurant has become indispensable on the map of gastronomic destinations covering Central Dalmatian islands.
Under the mentorship of Zoja Kapilović, Maja, then an assistant chef, decided to upgrade her knowledge at Kul IN to realize her love for gastronomy on a higher level, and thus satisfy the tastes of increasingly demanding guests. After completing the Culinary Arts program, she interned at Zvona Catering, where she mastered cold appetizers, finger food, and plating under the mentorship of Igor Čurčić. Having acquired new knowledge and experience, she was promoted to the position of executive chef at Pasarela.
Maja also designed menus for the restaurant, supervised catering and managed the whole team. Transforming the pizzeria into a traditional Dalmatian cuisine restaurant was one of her biggest challenges. She and her team succeeded, and consequently, the restaurant was featured in a Falstaff Restaurantguide in 2019. However, one of Maja’s biggest achievements, while at Pasarela, was her work on promoting sustainability on Croatian islands and reducing the amount of waste created by restaurants. Having noticed that working at a restaurant located on an island causes the accumulation of a large amount of waste, Maja initiated waste sorting in the restaurant, and began working with local suppliers, promoted sustainable development and encouraged the restaurant owner to open their sustainable farm.
Precisely due to this combination of love for the environment and culinary arts, she works as the Kitchen Ecology lecturer at Kul IN today. As part of the course, Maja teaches the next generation of professional chefs the importance and responsibility that working in gastronomy entails. She collaborated and was mentored by many renowned chefs, including Chef Zoja Kapilović, Chef Toni Miloš, Michelin Chef Isa Mazzocchi, Chef Piero di Turi, Chef Zdravko Perić, Chef Tomislav Primorac, Chef Igor Čurčić, Chef Marko Hernaut . In addition to teaching, Maja is also the head of the Kul IN Club (KIK). One of the main determinants of KIK is precisely its focus on ecology and zero waste cuisine, and Maja regularly familiarizes the students with these concepts through hands-on teaching and practice.