The Weekend Food Festival is finally returning this year to be held in picturesque Rovinj, Croatia, from 5-8 May 2022.
Top culinary stars from around the world will be taking part in the festival in Rovinj, including Massimo Bottura, legendary 3 Michelin Star chef of Osteria Francescana in Modena, a restaurateur and a socially-driven visionary who has won The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Award twice (voted The World’s Best restaurant in 2016 and 2018); Dabiz Muñoz from Madrid’s mind-bending DiverXO (3 Michelin stars and current number 1 in the Best Chefs Awards 2021); chef Rasmus Munk from astounding Danish restaurant Alchemist (2 Michelin stars, the best restaurant in Europe in 2021 by OAD); Ana Roš (the best female chef by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017), whose restaurant Hiša Franko in Kobarid, Slovenia, also has 2 Michelin stars; and Himanshu Saini from the Tresind Studio Dubai, voted Best Restaurant as well as Best Chef from What’s On Awards Dubai and receiving fourth place as well as the prestigious Art of Hospitality Award from MENA’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022. The full list of participants is available on the festival’s site.
The most important food and wine experts from around the world and the region will gather in the centre of the city around the Old Tobacco factory for the four day festival.
The festival will open on Thursday, May 5, with a real Istrian party; while the official programme starts on Friday, May 6, at 10 am. At the first panel discussion, local chefs Hrvoje Kroflin, Deni Srdoč, Tvrtko Šakota and Boškinac restaurant owner Boris Šuljić, led by festival director Hrvoje Petrić, will present the Croatian Cuisine Manifesto for the first time in history and discuss the direction in which Croatian cuisine should develop. Throughout the day, Slovenia’s favourite chef Ana Roš, Austrian chef of Croatian descent Paul Ivić and Danish chef Rasmus Munk will take the stage.
The position of women in the kitchen, excellence in the hotel sector, and the importance of PR and media in gastronomy will also be discussed. Mate Janković and Igor Čimbur will have a 1-on-1 conversation about the “Chef cooks at home” project, and they will also address the importance of a quality workforce as a key success factor, through the Raise the Bar project.
On Saturday morning, the FoodTech Startup Competition will be presented. In search of a sustainable future, Maistra Hospitality Group, Infobip and the Pepermint Agency have launched a competition that will bring together startups whose work contributes to solving the challenges of the modern food and hospitality scene.
Matija Babić will present his life’s project TasteAtlas, and the panel “It’s all about freshness” powered by Kaufland will focus on the importance of the freshness and quality of food. At the cooking show, young chef Santiago Lastra will demonstrate how his dish “Mextlapique of turbot with British pipian” is made. The cherry on the cake at the end of the programme will be the presentations by Dabiz Muñoz, the world’s best chef in 2021, and Massimo Bottura, the legendary gastronomist who will tell his vision of food and life in a conversation with Hrvoje Petrić.
Brazilian chef Janaina Rueda from restaurant ‘’A Casa do Porco’’ will make a presentation onstage and cooking show ‘’Brazilian techniques with Croatian ingredients’’.
The programme also includes numerous masterclasses where you will learn about sourdough bread, wines and olive oils, chocolate, coffee and gin. At the Best of Vinistra masterclass, guests will be able to taste the best wines from this year’s edition of Vinistra, which takes place during the same weekend in Poreč. Special masterclasses such as “Croatian Mixology” and “Smoke and Spirit of the Mountains” will delight even the most ardent hedonists.
During the festival, a number of dinners will be organised. The first will be the Best of Croatia dinner on Thursday, May 5, as a welcome to Rovinj and Croatia to visiting chefs and representatives of foreign media. The richness of Croatian cuisine will be presented by Matija Bogdan, Hrvoje Kroflin and Tvrtko Šakota, together with hosts Jeffrey Vella and Danijel Đekić from the Monte restaurant in Rovinj.
Friday, May 6, is reserved for two dinners of different themes – Sea and Forest – which will be held at the restaurants Agli Amici and Cap Aureo.
The original Agli Amici restaurant in Udine, headed by the famous Italian chef Emanuele Scarello, has two Michelin stars. Last year they opened a Croatian branch, Agli Amici Rovinj, which was bestowed with a Michelin star soon after it opened. As part of the Weekend Food Festival, this restaurant will host the Gala Dinner – Sea, and along with the host chef, this top gastronomic experience will be prepared by Italian chef Chiara Pavan from the Venissa restaurant, Portuguese chef João Rodrigues from Feitoria, and renowned Croatian chef Marina Gaši from the Marina restaurant in Novigrad.
At Cap Aureo, the Gala Dinner – Forest, will be prepared by Ana Roš from Hiša Franko, whose team includes the world’s best pastry chef, Maša Salopek, rounding off this special dinner with her desserts. Santiago Lastra, a chef from London’s KOL, who was named best chef in 2021 by GQ magazine, will also present his skills. Along with the host Jeffrey Vella, the Croatian gastro scene will be represented by Hrvoje Kroflin from the ManO2 restaurant, who has just entered the list of the 100 best chefs in the world.
On Saturday, May 7, the menu at the Gala Dinner – Green, will be completely vegetarian. It will be led by Austrian chef of Croatian roots Paul Ivić (TIAN restaurants, Vienna and Munich, 1 Michelin star each). Chef Ivić will be joined by well-known Turkish chef Maksut Askar from the Neolokal restaurant, while the Croatian representatives for this dinner will be the best Croatian chef in 2021, Tvrtko Šakota (NAV restaurant) and Deni Srdoč, the chef of the NEBO restaurant (1 Michelin star). One of the best Croatian confectioners, Tea Mamut, will round off this dinner with her desserts. The food that the chefs prepare will be paired with top-quality wines and cocktails.