John Jugum


John is a culinary wanderer with a passion for bringing the rich flavours of his Croatian heritage to life through Italian cuisine.

Born in the bustling city of Auckland, New Zealand, John was raised amidst the vibrant flavours and aromas of Croatian cuisine. His father, a master of the kitchen, delighted in cooking for his family of six.

I’ll never forget the tantalising scents that filled our home, especially on lazy Sundays when the whole family gathered around the table, John often remembers.

Fuelled by a curiosity for the world and its myriad flavours, John set out to explore different cultures and cuisines. From the bustling streets of Europe to the savoury delights of North America and the Pacific, he embarked on a culinary odyssey that would shape his career and life.

John’s travels became his greatest teachers, each new flavour and aroma adding to his culinary repertoire. Along the way, he honed his skills in some of the most iconic restaurants, including GeeGees, The Abbey, and Wagamama.

After years of exploration, John found himself back where it all began – Auckland, New Zealand. Armed with a wealth of culinary knowledge and a passion for innovation, he set out to make his mark on the local dining scene.

In 2019, John realised his lifelong dream of owning his own restaurant with the opening of The Golden Olive. Nestled in the heart of Farm Cove, his restaurant serves up a unique blend of Croatian-infused Italian dishes that delight the senses and warm the soul.

At The Golden Olive, we’re more than just a restaurant; we’re a family. Every dish we serve is infused with the love and passion that I learned from my parents many years ago. From our hearty pasta to our mouthwatering risotto dishes, each bite is a taste of home.

John continues, As I look to the future, I am excited to share my passion for food with the world. Whether it’s through new culinary creations or by inspiring the next generation of chefs, I am committed to making the world a more delicious place, one plate at a time.

Find out more about John Jugum
Recipes written by John Jugum
  • Recipe: Risotto Dalmatino
    Risotto is a traditional Italian dish, however John's recipe provides a small twist by adding smoked paprika and chilly. We hope you'll enjoy it!