From an early age, while growing up in Miami, Chef Richard Gruica saw how food and drink could unite people, regardless of their backgrounds, making everyone happy. With his ambitious passion for gastronomy, Richard Gruica had the opportunity to travel the world working for some of the best Chef’s after getting his culinary degree. After working in kitchens for many years and eventually owning his own signature restaurant, Chef Richard decided to leave the kitchen and became the founder and driving force behind the very successful dining and social group Good Eats and Meets (the world’s largest Food Meetup group), which has groups in Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbia, Greenville, Miami and Washington DC, as well as several outposts in Europe, one of which is Dubrovnik, Croatia. Although he was born in Jamaica and raised in Miami, his parents happen to be Croatian.
Embracing his roots in Croatia, Richard created Captivating Croatia. Immersive, specialized food-centric tours that offer an intimate perspective of this country that has emerged as the “it’ destination in Europe. In carefully tailored itineraries that have a dynamic emphasis on culinary traditions and regional specialties, you will journey through the cultural, historical and natural highlights of Croatia.
A longtime member of the Slow Food movement, and as a guest speaker at the 2014 Terra Madre Balkan Conference, Richard laid the foundations for Captivating Croatia, with the dream of sharing authentic experiences that explore the incredibly rich and varied cuisine of Croatia. With the show stopping natural beauty of Croatia, stunning fortified cities and rural off the beaten track secrets, Captivating Croatia tours take it up a notch above a regular tour getting you to the heart of Croatia, the where, what, how, and why of the “Croatian kitchen”, from the rustic taverna to modern innovation.
Richard’s extensive research has led him on paths to some of the finest examples of tradition, craft and small production, but more significantly to the people that have a true passion for what they do. From the ancestral oyster beds of Ston, to award winning olive oils and in-depth exploration of the world of incredible Croatian wines from Istria to Peljesac, the two renowned wine routes. Discovery and passion lead the way when it comes to how and why Richard created the most amazing adventures with Captivating Croatia.
As he spends part of the year residing in Croatia, he also created Croatia Food Tours and the Sights and Bites Food Tours, which offer intimate food tours in Old Town Dubrovnik and the areas surrounding Dubrovnik. Lastly, his unique passion project of pop up dinner events called The Gypsy Table, which brings together some of the best chefs in the world to amazing locations to create the most unique event experiences possible.