The Goran Milić Culinary Academy
The first meaningful project of the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee was to establish the Goran Milić Culinary Academy at the Resource Center for persons with speech and hearing impairments in Kotor, Montenegro. The purpose of the culinary academy is to teach young students from the Resource Center the basic skills of food preparation for entry level positions in the restaurant business.
Several of our promising young chefs have interned at restaurants in Montenegro, Italy and Los Angeles, as well as attended classes at the Culinary School at Santa Barbara City College. Many of our students have been offered full time positions at prestigious restaurants in Montenegro while others have been offered internships at that we hope will lead to meaningful employment.
Santa Barbara City College culinary student, Landen Ghen, arrived in Montenegro this month to work at the prestigious Regent Porto Montenegro for the summer of 2023. When approached by the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee and professor, Stephan Rapp, of the Culinary Arts department of Santa Barbara City College, Landen embraced the opportunity to work for the summer at the Regent Port Montenegro. Landen is a first-year culinary student, having graduated from Ventura College, with an Associates of Art degree in 2015. Before pursuing his dream of becoming a “chef” he worked in the construction field. He was inspired by his grandfather who told him, “You have the makings of a chef. If not in this life? Which life?” To which Landen quit construction and started working at restaurant Gotetsu – Kushiyaki and Sake House in Ventura and enrolled in SBCC’s Culinary Arts program. Landen is energetic, enthusiastic, and eager to learn all that he can while working at the Regent Porto Montenegro.
Landen Ghen follows in the footsteps of three previous Santa Barbara City College culinary students who worked and interned at the Regent Porto Montenegro; Alberto Santamaria, summer 2022, Ava Engle, summer 2021, and Marcelo Chacon, summer 2021. The Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee is pleased to have established a meaningful culinary exchange program between our Sister Cities that touches the lives of young people in the culinary and hospitality field.
In 2012, Charles Fredericks, a professor in the Culinary Arts department at Santa Barbara City College, traveled to Kotor to teach a select group of students at the Resource Center for Children with Hearing and Speech Disorders. Chef Charles taught the students basic culinary skills to prepare them for entry level positions in some of the finest resorts and restaurants in Montenegro. One of these students, Semir Ćorović, was chosen to intern at Divino restaurant in Brentwood, California, which led to full time employment at the Aman Resort in Montenegro. Another student, Ermina Sumović, stayed in Kotor and, with help from the Resource Center, found herself well prepared for a career in the kitchens of Montenegro.
One of the goals of Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister Cites has been to help students with hearing and speech disabilities find meaningful employment. We’re delighted to share with you the success of Semir and Ermina, who began their journey with us in 2012, and are currently employed at the Hotel Splendid, in Budva, Montenegro.
Our sincere thanks to Nedeljko Moskov, Director of the Resource Center, for his cooperation over the years to the benefit of many of his deserving young students and to Goran Milić, owner and chef at Divino restaurant, for his unwavering devotion in helping these young chefs succeed.
Santa Barbara City College culinary student, Alberto Santamaria, has been chosen by the Santa Barbara – Kotor Sister City Committee to intern at the prestigious Regent Porto Montenegro for the summer of 2022. This informal program had its beginnings in 2010 when Randy Bublitz, former chair of the Culinary Arts School at SBCC, traveled to Kotor to teach a group of young students from the Institute for Children With Disabilities the basic skills for entry level work in Montenegro’s resorts and restaurants. These students, despite their hearing impairments, thrived in the restaurant environment creating multiple employment opportunities for disadvantaged youth.
The success of the program also resulted in SBCC culinary students, Ava Engle and Marcelo Chacon, being invited to intern at the Regent Porto Montenegro in the summer of 2021. The impression these two made on the manager and chef of the Resort resulted in an agreement for continuing the relationship between SBCC culinary tudents and the Regent Porto Montenegro Resort.
The Santa Barbara Sister City Committee is pleased to have established a meaningful exchange program between our Sister Cities that touches the lives of young people for years to come.
In our first exchange since the beginning of Covid19 SBCC Culinary Students Ava Engle and Marcelo Chacon received paid internships in the kitchen at the Regent, Porto Montenegro. Along with the experience of working at one of the finest resorts in Montenegro they had the opportunity to work with employees from several other countries. Their work effort was exceptional and resulted in an invitation to continue this program in 2022.
Melinda and Troy were our first students from Santa Barbara to attend our Culinary School in Kotor, Montenegro. After completing the course in Kotor both interned at Divino’s and found employment in prestigious California restaurants
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider with Goran Milic and culinary students from Kotor. Goran and the students prepared a dinner for our “Friends of Kotor” following which the students spent two months interning at Goran’s Divino Restaurant in Brentwood, CA.
Professor Randy Bublitz from the Santa Barbara City College Culinary School, offered to teach at our Culinary Academy at the Resource Center in Kotor, Montenegro. Randy was assisted by former student Semir Corovic who was, at that time, working in the kitchen of at the prestigious Aman Resort in Montenegro.
Students of the Academy who showed interest and special ability were chosen to intern at Goran’s Divino Restaurant in Brentwood, CA. At the completion of the internship all received offers for positions in some of the finest resorts and restaurants in Montenegro.
The first program the Santa Barbara - Kotor Sister City Committee established was the Goran Milić Culinary Academy at the Resource Center for persons with speech and hearing impairments in Kotor, Montenegro. The purpose of the culinary academy is to teach young students from the Resource Center the basic skills of food preparation for entry level positions in Kotor Resorts and Restaurants.