Nenad Kukurin

Kukuriku, what is it?

Kukuriku is a long tradition, the surname Kukuriku, to put it simply – it’s me. Kukuriku was born in 1967. Even my father has changed his job from construction to the restaurant business. Kukuriku has a 120 years old tradition in this field of work. He has opened the first à la carte restaurant in Opatija and from the surname Kukuriku he got the idea of calling it Kukuriku. I believe that the logo and the catchy name were really good moves. For those times my father was highly cutting edge: already in 1967 they had a pool with live lobsters and he was very innovative and different in everything. He was a man ahead of his time. And when I have opened Kukuriku, it was of really good use to me the fact that I’ve had international experience; in fact, I have lived abroad for 6 years and this has helped me a lot. The idea was to open a restaurant in Kastav because I really love this town. So with this international experience I have returned in Croatia with a great desire to open a restaurant, and especially in Kastav. And it happened. When we opened it, we have seen that we have to be a little bit different, recognizable and that’s how we have chosen the slow-food concept. In the beginning the idea wasn’t just about slow food, but we have also started to cook differently, since we have had a different communication with the guests and a different presentation of the food, and this has spontaneously turned into slow food. Then I have established this way and we have had this style up until today. It’s especially convenient that we have done it without menu. Although I wouldn’t say that it’s really slow food, even though we practice great part of the slow food postulate which then presumes a wide selection of wines that combine well to the food, seasonal cooking, and we also try to use ingredients that we find in the immediate vicinities and in this way you get a unique recognizability of the smells and taste of the locality in the food; moreover, we force a wide selection of Croatian wines. What is the philosophy of Kukuriku? (the mission and vision from the guest’s perspective) We are in the hospitality business, and we entirely stress out the sub meaning of the word. We always try to make the guest feel like he is at home, to make him feel comfortable and relaxed. The environment alone and all the history are very much personalized to the guest, but in a charming and nice way, whereas professionalism remains always represented. Professionalism is at first place, and then there’s accessibility, spontaneity and kindness, in order to make our guests really feel hosted.

What is the philosophy of Kukuriku? (the mission and vision from the guest’s perspective)

We are in the hospitality business, and we entirely stress out the sub meaning of the word. We always try to make the guest feel like he is at home, to make him feel comfortable and relaxed. The environment alone and all the history are very much personalized to the guest, but in a charming and nice way, whereas professionalism remains always represented. Professionalism is at first place, and then there’s accessibility, spontaneity and kindness, in order to make our guests really feel hosted.

Who is the guest of Kukuriku?

This would be the guest who put emphasis on hedonism, people who are conscious of the eno-gastro story, people who love beauty and who love to enjoy. People for whom it is not important that food and drinks satisfy just the physiological necessities, but those who raise the consumption of food itself to a higher level and they mainly enjoy in it..

What do you try to avoid?

We try to avoid being boring. First of all we want to be fair and honest towards the food and towards the guests. We try to avoid our guests leaving unsatisfied and we try to avoid making mistakes. After all, we are just humans who make mistakes, but we try to avoid them and avoid our guest’s unsatisfaction. We want to be mainly recognizable and we don’t want to be copied, although that happens constantly.

What does Kukuriku mean for Kastav?

This is a place where people come gladly. We are predefined one for the other. Kastav is a wonderful environment where we function well, where guests come and relax, and then we add to Kastav a reputation that this town deserves. We complete one another.

Evaluations/expectations of the Restaurant Kukuriku and the Hotel Kukuriku.

We have closed one and opened another more bigger book, a more serious book where we will be able to express ourselves and to show what we know and what we can do, and that, in part, we weren’t able to do up until now. This is our project, but it is also the project of all the community and of the entire town. We have a very good precondition, we have set up a structure that cannot have any competitors in this sense, in the sense of offering a story so authentic and personal which we can complete with the accommodation alone, and that to be in the true sense of the word. We will maintain this level, but we will try to be better, we will insist on creativity and we will be able to set free imagination now that we have an infrastructure that will help us to achieve our goals. The standard of the offer that we now have to maintain is high, but it is also important to set up standards that you are able to achieve each day.

When and where are your culinary creations born?

There are many ways. One way is going around the world and observe what do those who are, let’s say, better than us or of the same quality do. They can even be of the same level, but the philosophy and the culture are different, and with that also the ingredients. Here we get our inspiration, but inspiration occurs and the dishes are created mostly – at the market. With the arrival of new ingredients on the market, new ideas also occur and then we carry out those ideas. That is why I don’t have a supplier, but I myself go almost every day to the market. Here I can really benefit because I can find “a kilo of something” that can be then transformed into something interesting. It is here that this honesty of the gastronomy that we represent is reflected, a fair gastronomy that comes from the heart. We cook what we would like to eat ourselves. We have quite a lot of experience and we like to eat and drink and we understand what we do, that’s why it’s not a problem for us to assemble new dishes. We cook like jazz music is played – we improvise because we have experience and on the basis there is always professionalism represented – and that’s how we can allow ourselves that.

Nenad Kukurin - Hotel & Restaurant Kukuriku Kastav
Nenad Kukurin