Monday, 11 October 2021

Forbes 30 Under 30 Chef Mario Mandarić Readies for New Journey in Uganda

October 11, 2021 - The already famous Croatian chef Mario Mandarić, whose name was included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for his innovative waste-free Michelin-style meal, is readying for a new journey outside of the kitchen and in Uganda.

Mario Mandarić, welcome to Uganda - a group of Ugandan children shouted with a smile, sending a warm welcome to the famous chef in a video, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Madarić, currently employed as a chef at the Time Hotel in Split and the popular Baraka pub, will soon arrive in East Africa, bringing what is most important to them in life - water!


Namely, Madarić bought a one-way ticket and decided to live in Uganda and finance the construction of a well. In a country where 2,696 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea caused by consuming dirty water, a well means life.

Madarić shared the children's excitement in a video on his Instagram profile, as they will finally be able to quench their thirst with clean drinking water for the first time without fear of fatal consequences.

"And I don't want to stop at one well; that's just the beginning. I will finance them; without thinking, I decided to set aside 8 to 12 thousand dollars for them. But when I’m already going down, when I can already help, then it would be a shame to keep it on just one, and that’s why we’re organizing a charity donor dinner on October 16 at the Time Hotel.

I will prepare six top fine dining courses for guests, who will eventually help build more wells with their donations. It will be a minimum of 400 kuna per person. All the funds we collect at the dinner, and donations that will be sent to an account opened for that purpose, will go to Uganda," says chef Mario.

Mario is already well-known in the public eye. Last year, the prestigious Forbes included him on the "30 under 30" list from Europe in the "Art and Culture" category.


This was decided by a series of articles in a British newspaper praising his charity dinner of seven Michelin-style dishes made entirely from produce and ingredients that would have ended up in the trash.

He then explained to a crowd of dignitaries who attended that 47 million tons of edible uncooked food end up in waste every year in Europe, while at the same time, tens of millions of people have nothing to eat. Chef Mario forwarded donations from the dinner to the London Center for Young Homeless People. Mandarić also worked at the famous "The Fat Duck" restaurant with three Michelin stars. 

"The idea came to me one morning during this summer, which I spent cooking in a Hvar restaurant for higher-spending guests. I sat with colleagues from a restaurant over coffee, scrolled Google news, and at one point read about the problems of Ugandan children caused by dangerous, dirty water. I said I have to do something. I'm going down there; I'll build a well. I will make that money again, I am young, on the verge of 30, and it will mean a lot to them. I can change the life of an entire village that way.

So if I can do that, if I can impact their lives with that money, I want to help. And when I'm already building one, then I can make more, so I decided on a donor dinner," said Mario.

He contacted many people and finally got in touch with Amar Gader from Uganda, who is building wells in small villages with a few workers. An agreement was reached, and Mario will take off in a few months. And this all in a country where children are dying from not having clean drinking water, and which at the same time has vast reserves of drinking water underground.

"What an absurdity. The construction of the well costs from 8 to 12 thousand dollars, and the expectations are that the work will be completed in about 15 days. Amar has found the village, he is waiting for me, and then we go into action.

Yes, I will take an active part in it, I want to do it and help them. Maybe there are more people like me. If they are there, I invite them to join us," concluded Mandarić.

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Sunday, 11 April 2021

Young Croatian Chef Mario Mandarić Makes Forbes 30 under 30 List

April 11, 2021 - Forbes magazine has released its 30 under 30 Europe list for 2021. In the Art & Culture section is Mario Mandarić, a 29-year-old chef from Split.

The young Split chef was among the 30 most influential people in the world under 30, and ended up on the list because of his interesting Food Waste Awareness project, which he worked on in London last year, reports

The Food Waste Awareness project has proven extremely successful. Mario made a seven-course dinner of food that was supposed to end up in the trash and wanted to raise awareness about just how much is thrown away in the world’s big restaurants.

"I worked in England, and I wanted to make a pop-up dinner for clients I met in Thailand. However, I wanted to stand out with something, and the whole time I had in my head how much food is thrown away in restaurants. Food that was not processed at all and that was supposed to end up in the trash.

So I came up with the idea of making a pop-up dinner out of food that the chefs knew would fail. One gave me 10 pounds of zucchini because he accidentally had excess, the other had some thawed ducks to prepare for a group that canceled, and so on. So I gathered many groceries, went to the kitchen, and started stacking dishes from what I had. I created a seven-course menu," said Mandarić.

He invited people from the industry to dinner - chefs, restaurant owners, and people who are connected to gastronomy. Between courses, he gave lectures on how to reduce restaurant waste, reduce waste at home, recycle food, and even taught guests how to compost.

“It wasn’t until the end of dinner that I told the guests that all seven courses they had just eaten were made from food that restaurants would throw away. I threw them some facts like that 47 thousand tons of unprocessed food in European restaurants are thrown away every year," Mandarić added for Index. He did not charge for dinner but collected donations. The smallest donation was £55, and everything he raised he donated to Centerpoint, a center for young homeless people in London.

“That project continued, but the lockdown prevented the organization dinners,” he said.


Mario describes himself as boring - he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, and goes to bed at 11 pm.

Mario Mandarić grew up in Omiš, where he enrolled in cooking school after primary school. He revealed he was attracted to that school because of the friends who enrolled in it and the stories about large chef salaries in big restaurants.

"A cooking professor knocked me down for years and told me I would never be a chef. Then I dropped out of school," said Mandarić, who really threw himself into cooking when he dropped out.

"I started working for free at restaurants around to learn the basics, and then I applied for a job on a cruiser going from Split to Dubrovnik. It was a good salary, and the boat took one week from Split to Dubrovnik. I thought, if I'm not satisfied, they wouldn't throw me into the sea. Still, I was satisfied and endured the whole season there. That was when I was 17," he said.

"By the way, I loved to cook," said Mandarić.

"I never wanted to be an assistant chef. That was a big mistake. I had to finish that school and go through some basics. I knew how to come to a restaurant and make foams and emulsions, and I didn't know how to make bechamel and soup. Still, I always pushed myself to learn as much as I could," he added.

After spending several seasons on the Adriatic, he traveled to Thailand as a tourist with 600 euros in his pocket. The trip ended with him opening a restaurant in a bay where there was no kitchen, electricity, or water.

"I went as a tourist for 20 days and met a guy who cooked for National Geographic and those who pretend to survive. He told me about a cove in Thailand where there is no water and electricity, where a group of 200-300 foreigners live like hippies or run away from some reality. That guy and I once went to a party in that bay, he lost his wallet, and he had to buy a ticket to Alaska. So we came to the idea to make dinner for those people in the bay, counting that about thirty people would come and pay and thus provide him with enough money for the ticket," said Mandarić about the beginning of the project in Thailand.

"We had one gas stove in that accommodation. We made eight courses for 20 people, and more than 100 came. Then we figured we could make money. I went back to Brač to work the season and then went to Thailand again. First, we cooked in a bungalow, and then we rented a beach facility made of bamboo, and it became trendy, especially among the stars, because no one could see them," he said.

He remained in Thailand for several years, worked on a tourist visa, and occasionally returned to Croatia. He raised money, said goodbye to Thailand, and decided to open a restaurant in Split.

"Split was ideal. And, honestly, I wanted to achieve something at home," said Mandarić, who upon returning to Split became the owner of the Šumica restaurant in Bačvice.

Mandarić found himself in the media not because of his chef skills, but because of the fire at Šumica after he became the owner. He said the fire occurred six months after becoming a co-owner or three months after he became the owner.

"We worked superbly; you can check that. I was not insured against such things, but the restaurant was insured against everything else. If I wanted to withdraw money from insurance, I could have done it easily; this is how my money burned," said Mandarić.

He then went to England, accepting one of the offers he had at the time. He cooked at a restaurant in the north of England and then got an offer from Dinner By Heston.

After England, he returned to Roxanich in Motovun and then moved to Noel Buje, which closed half a year later.

Mandarić is now deciding between an offer in Scotland and the chef position at a restaurant on Brač.

"There is one concept that I am planning for Split, but it will not happen for at least another two years. Because of the concept, the restaurant must be in Split," concluded Mandarić.

Read about Mario on Forbes.

To read more about lifestyle in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Ivan Mrvoš Featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe Class of 2019!

February 12, 2019 - Another day, another stellar recognition for the thriving young entrepreneur from Solin, Ivan Mrvoš. 

Chances are, you probably already know a thing or two about Ivan, the CEO and Founder of Include, the leading global manufacturer of solar powered street benches. Their flagship product, the Steora smart bench, is already on 40 markets with more than 930 benches around the world. The Steora benches all have the same core - PV modules, device charging, Wi-Fi, ambient light, data gathering, cooling system, and the dashboard, though there are six different models with additional features - like the super bright 19" display of Steora Urban, or Steora E special features for indoor usage, and more. 

After they were named the European Startup of the Year in 2017, a large investment followed, and the recognitions haven’t seemed to slow down for Include and Mrvoš since. 

Last year, Ivan Mrvoš was nominated for MIT Technology Review's ‘Innovators Under 35’ award in Europe. In 2017, Include was selected among the 50 best innovators in Europe, and on that occasion, Ivan Mrvoš presented the company at the European Parliament in Brussels during the European Innovation Summit.

Back in October, Include won the “Rising Star" award by the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program, which is described as a program that recognizes and profiles the fastest growing private or public technology companies in Central Europe.

Mrvoš wrote in a Facebook status then:

“Include – the fastest growing company of Central Europe in Rising Stars category by Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program.

We are the first Croatian company to win in this category, with 1950% growth rate in the last three years of business operations.

Back in 2014, we started out with modest initial capital and big vision - to build the largest smart street furniture production company in this part of Europe. Four years later, with 35 highly skilled employees and products placed in 39 global markets, we can proudly say that winning the Deloitte Rising Stars award is one of our company’s greatest accomplishments so far.”

And just a few weeks ago, the first smart benches hit Qatar, prompting Mrvoš to reflect on the brilliant start to 2019. 

“Our new flagship product (Monna Smart Bench) has sold a total of 14 copies in the first 20 days - 11 for Canada, 2 for Denmark and 1 for the Croatian Market.

- We also sold 35 Steora smart benches worth over one million kuna (which is already the monthly standard that continues to grow), out of which around 20 are Urban and Urban + (benches that have a display for digital advertising purposes). We seem to be creating a new trend in two industries - street furniture and outdoor digital advertising - by merging them into one and further enhancing it because our benches and campaigns are accessed/managed through our web application.

- We’ve opened in one and a half new markets - Bermuda (officially part of the UK, and a week-long fight to decide who will go to install it) and Poland (a much smaller fight), so we are now in 42 global markets

- We’ve hired new employees - business developers, embedded software developers, python developers (ads can be found at:

- We have continued media coverage outside of Croatia: (installation of three Steora Urban+ benches in Qatar) although it is a mistake to say that these are the first benches in the GCC region - no, there are probably thirty or forty.

For the first twenty days - quite solid.”

Today, however, the 23-year-old from Solin has been named in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list under the Manufacturing & Industry category in Europe for 2019. 

Ivan Mrvoš took to his Facebook to try to make sense of yet another brilliant acknowledgement. 

“Every time I think: 'ok, we've won all the recognition that could be won' and then life says 'wroooooong!'.

So, today I found myself on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list under the Manufacturing & Industry category for 2019 in Europe. As far as I can see - I am the youngest on almost all lists and the only one from Croatia (if there is someone else on the list - my apologies).

An absolutely huge recognition not only for my work, but for the whole team's work at Include. Great work, team.

And the year has started well, with only 1.1 million kuna worth of products sold in January.”

Include also shared the happy news of their founder and CEO. 

Bravo to Ivan and the Include team! 

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page