Dunja Gulin – our master chef and healthy cooking workshop leader
I always loved food. Over time, this love turned into my biggest passion; food and all in connection with food had to become more than just a hobby.
I feel so lucky to do what I love doing the most in this world: to work with food. To write about food, shop for food, grow food, prepare food, serve food and feed people around me with healthy & delicious meals prepared with the highest quality ingredients available. Approaching food with this kind of love and passion never fails to inspire. Feeding people feeds my soul.
The antique kitchens of my Istrian nonnas, my parents, aunts, neighbors and family friends were a perfect setting for my first culinary experiences. Seasonal gatherings of wild mushrooms, rosehip, wild radicchio, chestnuts, wild asparagus, fennel, blackberries, mussels, etc., and their preparation was a very insightful way of learning about food and cooking.
Living in London and being exposed to the western highly processed foods encouraged me turn to healthy and natural foods.
Being exposed to dorm foods, while studying, encouraged me to dig even deeper into the world of organic and whole foods.
I attended the Natural Cooking School at Makronova Institute and soon after started creating cooking programs, organizing workshops as well as working as a chef for groups on retreats in Croatia and abroad.
I’ve been working with chefs and cookbook authors from around the globe and held cooking workshops at festivals in England and the States. During my travels I’ve been collecting knowledge on many different diets and cooking styles; Mediterranean, vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic and raw food and managed to combine these approaches into my own recognizable cooking style.
- My first cookbook Doručakis published.
- I attended two important conferences on healthy foods:
46.Nobel Conference ‘Making Food Good’ @ Gustavus Adolphus College and
Healthy Foods Summit ‘Food For Thought’ @University of Minnesota
- The birth of Rentaj Chefa – a project that enables people to eat freshly cooked high-quality meals and share them with family and friends in the comfort of their own home. Services also include preparing healthy & delicious party food, individualized cooking classes, detox programs, cooking for groups, and much more.
- my second cookbook Raw Food Kitchenwas published.
- my third cookbook The Vegan Bakerwas published.
- my fourth cookbook The Vegan Pantrycame out! It’s a cookbook in which I share my favourite recipes for wholesome daily meals but I also included many tips & tricks to help you out on your cooking journey! The recipes are a fusion of vegan, macrobiotic and raw food preparation styles and I like to think of them as my “best of the best”.
This cookbook has been a huge success and has been nominated for theGuild of Food Writers 2015 Award in the category of Miriam Polunin Award for healthy Eating!
In 2014. The Vegan Baker was also translated to two other European languages:
- is the year of publication of yet another interesting cookbook, Fermented Foods for Vitality & Health wich will help you to boost your digestive and immune system, offering over 60 delicious recipes for basic fermenting methods, breakfast, lunch, dinner, salads, snacks, breads and probiotic drinks!
- is a very lucky year for The Vegan Pantrysince it has been translated to six other languages: German, Italian, French, Portuguese (Brasil), Swedish and Polish!
A couple more cookbooks are in different stages of creation and are patiently waiting for their turn.
All in all, there’s always something simmering, be it on the stove or in my head!
Ante Vuković – project creator and coordinator
I am a psychologist by profession, and I am also a permaculture designer, passionate agriculturist, a big Nature lover…
My homeland is my great inspiration. Its magical beauty and beneficial effect on our health have encouraged me to initiate this project. For that very reason I assembled a team of very capable and ambitious young experts of different profiles, who are also deeply aware of an immense health potential of our homeland. Probably nowhere else in the world has Mother Nature been so generous to men. I am genuinely happy to be living here. I would like nothing more than for you, dear reader, to experience at least to a certain extent this outstanding and harmonious balance of beauty and health.
I was born in Split, 30 November 1974. I have been living in Krilo Jesenice, near Split, my whole life. Krilo Jesenice is a small coastal town with a rich maritime tradition. Nowadays it is one of the most famous destinations of nautical tourism in Croatia.
Although I come from a family of sailors (my great-grandfather and my grandfather were sailors), I decided to follow a different path and chose psychology as my profession. I graduated in psychology at Faculty of Arts in Rijeka. During the past ten years the focus of my interest has been health-psychology. One of the most important conceptions of health-psychology is that our health mostly depends on us. Our health is the result of the life style we choose. Therefore, I myself am for the biggest part responsible for my health. Have I, then, really taken responsibility for my health or do I always leave it to someone else? This is an important question each and every one of us should answer candidly. Hopefully, this voyage will encourage you do exactly that.
Due to certain family problems, my grandfather was forced to sell his boat, but he simply could not imagine his life without it so he bought a small fishing-boat and went fishing his whole life. He frequently took me with him. I have numerous beautiful memories of time spent around sea imprinted in me… so many thrilling fishing moments… Just like my grandfather then, today I cannot imagine my life without the sea either.
I did not only spend time going fishing though. My family has always owned olive-groves, orchards and gardens and there was always a lot to be done so they often took me with them to help with numerous farming duties. Although there was a lot to be done, that was the sweetest fatigue of all. Such work actually relaxes you and fills you with a special kind of energy. I still work in those groves, orchards and gardens. I am a permaculture designer and the principles of permaculture make that work significantly easier. I managed to plant a lot of new olive and fruit trees. Planting a new tree is always a special event for me, especially if it is an olive tree. In my olive-grove there are trees which are only a few years old, but also the ones which are over 500 years old! Being in a presence of such an old tree fills you with a special kind of emotion. I often sit in the shade the old olive trees make, I watch the sea at the foot of the hill and the island of Brač in the distance… and then questions start to emerge: How did the man who planted this tree 500 years ago look like? What did he think about while watching the sea and the island of Brač? Did he admire, like I do now, this same Sun which graciously shone on each leaf of grass, each olive tree leaf, this hill, the sea, and him as he was watching it all? How many people had sat under this olive tree before it was my turn? Had this olive tree been planted before Columbus discovered America? At the foot of the hill, just along the coast, there is a road built by Napoleon’s soldiers. I imagine one of the soldiers climbing up to this old olive tree to sneak a nap in its shade. The olive was about 300 years old then. Who knows who will come after me to enjoy this view from this shade?
The olive tree makes me feel so small, but also as a part of the big entirety at the same time.
Ana Vuković – hostess
I was born in Split, in 1983.
I graduated fashion design from University in Zagreb, in 2007. I design and make clothes and bags. I love theatre very much, especially opera and ballet, so I often draw costumes for such plays.
In my free time I greatly enjoy designing interior and landscape of my own home. I do this with the utmost care as my goal is to create a very cosy, pleasurable home.
Preparing food and designing dishes is another great passion I have. It started in my early childhood and has been going on since. I like experimenting with different groceries in search of the best taste. A few years ago I came across George Mateljan’s findings which had a great influence on me. I realized that the healthiest food was at the same time the tastiest food – if prepared correctly in the healthy way, as proposed by George Mateljan. After my organism has got used to the unique flavour of natural, organic food, it now infallibly knows what is good for it. Processed food, full of taste enhancers and other additives became rather repulsive to me. Besides, I was startled by the effects which different chemicals used to treat food have on human body and health. I want to give myself and my family all the best, so I started my own little garden in which I managed to grow different,all organic, produce. i find that the food which I, myself, mange to grow with love tastes the best and it has the best effect on me and my health. I follow my plants through all the stages, from being a seed, until the time they are picked, and that to me is priceless. I find working in the garden and preparing a meal from freshly picked products very relaxing and I would recommend it to everyone!
Nature is my great inspiration. I adore being outdoors and being a part of Nature. Nature’s perfect beauty and balance help me find beauty and balance inside myself.
Since i was a child, nature was my biggest inspiration.I was born on the southern part of Croatia which is colourful, full of citrus trees and wild plants.I always felt happiest when being out there, among trees and by the sea in continuous movement. I moved to Split to study science about movement, and now i hold a Master’s Degree in Kinesiology.Healthy food was always a big passion of mine, and through the years i started to realise that not only your body will be made of what you eat, but the very food you eat will influence your thoughts, your feelings and your consciousness.It is not about will it make you live “forever”, it is about how you live and feel today, in this moment.If you follow the rules of your body, if you listen carefully, you will become one with the nature, one with yourself.That cognition gave me desire to learn more about nutrition and i feel happy when i can transfer my knowledge to my clients and my friends. I have been working in one of the best fitness centres in the area, but i came to realisation that fitness centres today conflict with my vision of being healthy and fit.Fitness is not about the looks or muscles or synthetic proteins.Its not about perfection.It is about your own progress, journey and self-realisation.
Ivica Dragan Elez – fitness instructor and workshops leader
I was born in Split 1978. Since early childhood I showed great interest for natural world and growing plants and I have spent lots of time playing and in sports. I have been training soccer and basketball but I have won most trophys in atlethics namely running middle and long distances. Besides that,I have trained free climbing and boxing. I have acquired Bachelor degree in Physical education Teacher and during my studies I have collected wide knowledge in many sports but my specialisation is in the field of general physical conditioning and fitness coach. Combined interests in sport and nature have resulted in choosing the activities and jobs that were also combination of those; sport,play and nature. I have worked as skipper on wild waters,parasailing instructor, fitness instructor, instructor for osteophorosis prevention for seniors ,NGO(Healthy city) volonteer and employee,author and leader of the ‘Project of Afforestation’, leader of excursions and Schools in nature (ecological activities educator and sport workshops), Split Scout Association sport activities leader,strength and conditioning trainer of Vedran Đipalo;famous croatian Olympian,multiple croatian boxing winner and winner of bronze medal at Mediterranian Games . Currently I have been working as head coach at ‘Gymnastics club Kaštela’ and besides, as Dalmatian ecological beekeper and the president of ‘ Kaštela Association of beekepers ‘. I have also finished Beekeping schooling. Besides beekeping,I grow famous Ljubitovica garlic (the healthiest garlic in the world according to some international scientific researches) as well as other vegetables and fruits according to ecological and organic principles. I have completed many courses as; ‘Beach lifeguard ‘, ‘Alpinist school’, Leadership seminars in Croatia and abroad( SAD,Romania).. I have been author of the Curriculum-‘Games and sports as a means of character and selfconfidence building and creating a positive working and learning environment of tolerance,nonviolence and fairplay’ -every individual can express himself trough unveiling his or hers best abilities and qualities. It has been implemented in several Primary schools in Split and around Croatia as well as in scout associations,sport clubs and seminars of team building in Croatia and abroad.
Saša Metejić – physical therapist and instructor of energy exercises
I was born in 1975. in Split and earned my bachelor degree in Phisiotherapy at the University of Split, School of medicine. Currently, I have been working as senior physiotherapist in Association for Multiple Sclerosis. I am also a lifelong lincensed yoga instructor and have attended many national and international training courses and seminars. I have an immense experience in working with people of wide range of age and do my best to help people completely relax and feel comfortable. Besides that, I have also earned a diploma of reiki master and use reiki as some sort of backup.
In my work I combine knowledge as physiotherapist with ancient knowledge of yoga and thus achieve great health-related results.