Reprinted from Britic, the British Serb magazine (5/29/2021)

Jovana Milosavljević shares her story with Novosti about how she weaved Serbian cuisine into the menu of a restaurant near Bristol.

The 23-year-old young woman from Vrnjačka Banja in Serbia starts her West Country story in Spain. She was studying Hospitality and Tourism there three years ago when she came across Terry and Annette Andrews. They immediately hit it off with one another that Jovana jokes he called them “her English parents”.

The Andrews owned an eatery in Midsomer Norton, which is around 17 miles south of Bristol. Jovana has visited them at least once a year since they met.

Despite the couple being traditional in their taste in food, they were intrigued when Jovana suggested adding Balkan cuisine to the menu every Saturday night. It appears to have been an overnight hit in the town of 13,000 people.

Every week the Balkan menu would change. For around £10, Jovana would prepare meals including domaća supapasulj, goulash and sarma. Desserts included Dani’s baklava (named after her mum Danijela) Nanna’s jam roll (to recognise her grandmother).

Once the proprietor of a nearby restaurant offered to buy her recipe for apple pie. She refused to sell, so he kept returning to try to guess what went in. Jovana says there was one ingredient he never could got and that was the love she put into making it.

She told the daily that a dedicated Balkan restaurant would definitely succeed in the West Country since the nearest competition is over a hundred miles away in London.

Jovana says she had invited Serbs living nearby to sample her cookery. Sadly the pandemic put an untimely stop to the visit and Jovana returned to Serbia. However the Andrews are waiting for their “Serbian daughter” to return and continue her culinary quest.

She says she plans to return and to enroll in a Masters degree in international marketing.