Our Team

Richard Gruica
Founder
Maro Kockovic
Co-Founder
Pero Bule
Co-Founder

Captivating Croatia is led by Croatian-American chef and adventure diner Richard Gruica aka Foodzilla.  It is his love of Croatia, from the centuries-old sea salt mines to the stunning vistas from the vineyards that has led him back to guide travelers in showcasing the wonders of the Adriatic in all its splendor. Richard is the Founder of Good Eats and Meets, the largest dining and socializing group in the United States with groups in 6 cities and tens of thousands of members. For the past seven years, Good Eats and Meets has organized thousands of events and is looking forward to doing the same in Croatia. Richard has been a longtime member of the Slow Food movement and was invited to speak at the 2014 Terra Madre Balkan Conference, which laid the foundation for idea of Captivating Croatia.

His partner in this endeavor is Maro Kockovic.  For years Maro has led Adriatic Productions, one of Croatia’s premier film production companies. He has the inside track to the best spots to eat, drink and experience all the wonder that is Croatia. Maro, is also the Founder and Director of Kinookus, a prestigious Food Film Festival that takes place in Ston every year in September. The Festival emphasizes all aspects of sustainability and maintaining the ancient craft, techniques and artistry of foods from around the world, but with a heavy emphasis on Croatian Gastronomy. Maro is an integral part of the Slow Food movement in Croatia.

Another valued piece of the Captivating Croatia pie is Pero Bule, whose family has lived the lands for centuries and has an intimate knowledge of the area. After nearly three decades living in the US, his love for Croatia’s sun, sea, culture, food, wine, people and laid back lifestyle has never diminished.  Instead of chasing the dream of corporate success, Pero chose to live the dream of travel and share it with others through the flavors, smells, colors and sounds of the Adriatic region.

Captivating Croatia is rounded out husband and wife team Bozidar Jukic and Ana Bitanga Jukic, who act as our eyes and ears on the ground in Dubrovnik. Bozidar Jukic is a proud Dubrovnik local with extensive experience in various fields of incoming tourism as well as the food & beverage industry. Entrepreneur, local guide, and lover of the outdoors, his interests are too diverse to cover in this modest description, but one thing is a permanent value in his life – his passion for wholesome homemade food and sharing that passion with others.

Ana Bitanga Jukic is another passionate foodie in our midst. Her career in the restaurant business in Dubrovnik, spanning over a decade, did much to instill in her a a true sense of pride and respect for the culinary traditions of Croatia that will be part of Captivating Croatia, but also a hunger for new and undiscovered culinary paths. Ana’s work experience with food and wine (she is a certified sommelier) might be a guarantee of her expertise for some, but one taste of her cooking will convince even the most hardened of sceptics. They are welcome additions to the Captivating Croatia team.

By combining each member’s respective backgrounds and skills, the Captivating Croatia team is ready to give all the lucky guests a truly special and one of a kind tour filled with memories that will be cherished for a lifetime.