This is my first encounter with professional training and education, I started working in the restaurant, Alegria, in October last year. Working at a restaurant led me to start thinking more ambitiously about culinary arts and I decided to come to Kul IN.
Branimir Krtalić set out on various paths, but they all led to culinary arts. He was bold enough to turn his hobby into a career, and he is skillfully navigating the culinary waters now. Nevertheless, Branimir knows that a successful career cannot be built without a solid foundation, so he decided to enroll in the Culinary Arts program, which will be the backbone of his, undoubtedly, bright career. Read Branimir's story to realize that courage is a crucial secret ingredient in the preparation of every successful culinary career.
Kul IN: How did you start your culinary journey?
- Sports was my main concern ever since I was in elementary school. I majored in kinesiology in college but after injuring my knee, I had to switch majors and enrolled at the Faculty of Forestry. Everything but cooking at that time (laughs). Since my hometown is on an island, we always have a lot of tourists. I started to prepare food for the tourists that were staying in our accommodation, and in return received positive reviews. That's how I came into semi-professional contact with food. After that, I saw that a bistro in Zagreb was looking for a chef. I said I was cooking for family and friends and they took me – everybody satisfied. This is my first encounter with professional training and education, I started working in the restaurant, Alegria, in October last year. Working at a restaurant led me to start thinking more ambitiously about culinary arts and I decided to come to Kul IN.
Kul IN: How did you decide on Kul IN?
- Last summer I started looking for schools more intensively. On the Facebook profile of a good restaurant, I saw that one of the members of the team also majored in forestry but decided to become a chef eventually. I found the story relatable, so I decided to contact them and ask for a recommendation for a school or program. They told me about Kul IN. I soon started working at Alegria and the experience of working in a professional kitchen confirmed that culinary arts was the right career choice for me.
Kul IN: What are your expectations from studying in the Culinary program? How will it help you advance your career?
- It will give me the basics which I don't have and it will be a springboard for the future. Here, you get the foundation of culinary knowledge, you become skilled in performing techniques and acquire good work ethic principles.
Kul IN: Which lesson did you like the most?
- Risotto; and the favorite dish I made on the program was duck risotto.
Kul IN: What do you like to prepare in your free time?
- Anything, as long as it's made under the “bell”, the traditional way, e.g. octopus under the baking lid. I don’t like octopus otherwise.
Kul IN: Do you already have your culinary style/How do you envision it in the future?
- Something Mediterranean, Dalmatian, Italian. I like Italian cuisine because it has that Dalmatian flair, I'm not interested in fine dining restaurants at the moment; I prefer Dalmatian bistro cuisine.
Kul IN: Characteristics that every good chef should have?
- He or she must be organized (fast), precise, and efficient.
Kul IN: What inspires you in your daily routine?
- I like working, the atmosphere at the restaurant is relaxed. I work in the Alegria restaurant in Zagreb, it is a French bistro and the executive chef is from France. We work all day, but there is no stress. I am inspired by the pleasant atmosphere and all aspects of work - from business meetings to kids who come asking for a glass of water on a hot day!
Kul IN: Plans for the future?
- I want to keep working and preparing good dishes. I don’ like to plan too far ahead. Right now, I have no desire to open my restaurant, but maybe one day.
Kul IN: What would you say to future Kul IN students?
- I would tell them to enroll, to not be afraid. Everything will be great, just keep working!