Working Lives Croatia: Chef

Working Lives Croatia: Christian Misiraca

With a surname that means pumpkin in Croatian, and from a family involved in restaurants for many years, Christian Misiraca was perhaps destined to become a chef.

He's been cooking for 20 years, learning his trade from his family and then in the restaurants of New York before returning home to Zagreb.

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Christian is now executive chef at Tip Top, a restaurant in the very heart of the Croatian capital.

"There are three rules for a restaurant: location, location and location," he explains.

"It doesn't matter how good your food is if people don't know where you are."

In a kitchen that is definitely on the small side, he's serving up value-for-money dishes which he reckons are a recipe for success in tough economic times.

"We are not a really expensive place. We make our money on turning tables," he says. "Sometimes 100 people come into the restaurant and everybody wants the food right now, so it's very stressful."

Christian keeps his salary as close to his chest as his signature recipes, but admits he earns good money.

He confides that it is "above the Croatian average," which is currently around $920 (£602) a month.

But it is also hard work, he counters. Typically, he works around 12 hours a day, six days a week, and juggles time in the kitchen with taking and collecting his young son from kindergarten.

Despite the long hours, Christian can't imagine doing anything else for a living.

"I could never sit and read emails all day. I would shoot myself in three seconds," he jokes.

"I need this energy, stress adrenalin, and I love to put a smile on peoples' faces. We all love to eat good food."

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