Forbes 30 Under 30 Chef Mario Mandarić Readies for New Journey in Uganda

Daniela Rogulj

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Mario Mandarić, welcome to Uganda – a group of Ugandan children shouted with a smile, sending a warm welcome to the famous chef in a video, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Madarić, currently employed as a chef at the Time Hotel in Split and the popular Baraka pub, will soon arrive in East Africa, bringing what is most important to them in life – water!


Namely, Madarić bought a one-way ticket and decided to live in Uganda and finance the construction of a well. In a country where 2,696 children under the age of five die every year from diarrhea caused by consuming dirty water, a well means life.

Madarić shared the children’s excitement in a video on his Instagram profile, as they will finally be able to quench their thirst with clean drinking water for the first time without fear of fatal consequences.

“And I don’t want to stop at one well; that’s just the beginning. I will finance them; without thinking, I decided to set aside 8 to 12 thousand dollars for them. But when I’m already going down, when I can already help, then it would be a shame to keep it on just one, and that’s why we’re organizing a charity donor dinner on October 16 at the Time Hotel.

I will prepare six top fine dining courses for guests, who will eventually help build more wells with their donations. It will be a minimum of 400 kuna per person. All the funds we collect at the dinner, and donations that will be sent to an account opened for that purpose, will go to Uganda,” says chef Mario.

Mario is already well-known in the public eye. Last year, the prestigious Forbes included him on the “30 under 30” list from Europe in the “Art and Culture” category.


This was decided by a series of articles in a British newspaper praising his charity dinner of seven Michelin-style dishes made entirely from produce and ingredients that would have ended up in the trash.

He then explained to a crowd of dignitaries who attended that 47 million tons of edible uncooked food end up in waste every year in Europe, while at the same time, tens of millions of people have nothing to eat. Chef Mario forwarded donations from the dinner to the London Center for Young Homeless People. Mandarić also worked at the famous “The Fat Duck” restaurant with three Michelin stars. 

“The idea came to me one morning during this summer, which I spent cooking in a Hvar restaurant for higher-spending guests. I sat with colleagues from a restaurant over coffee, scrolled Google news, and at one point read about the problems of Ugandan children caused by dangerous, dirty water. I said I have to do something. I’m going down there; I’ll build a well. I will make that money again, I am young, on the verge of 30, and it will mean a lot to them. I can change the life of an entire village that way.

So if I can do that, if I can impact their lives with that money, I want to help. And when I’m already building one, then I can make more, so I decided on a donor dinner,” said Mario.

He contacted many people and finally got in touch with Amar Gader from Uganda, who is building wells in small villages with a few workers. An agreement was reached, and Mario will take off in a few months. And this all in a country where children are dying from not having clean drinking water, and which at the same time has vast reserves of drinking water underground.

“What an absurdity. The construction of the well costs from 8 to 12 thousand dollars, and the expectations are that the work will be completed in about 15 days. Amar has found the village, he is waiting for me, and then we go into action.

Yes, I will take an active part in it, I want to do it and help them. Maybe there are more people like me. If they are there, I invite them to join us,” concluded Mandarić.

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