A PRIVATE CHEF ON HIS WAY TO QATAR
A dream may be about to come true for the Greek chef Christodoulos Pedes: He has just been offered a job as sous-chef in an emir’s kitchen in Qatar. In an interview he tells us about his journey so far, working first as a normal chef and later mostly as a private chef.
STARTING OUT AS A CHEF
Why did you choose to become a chef?
I decided to do it because I loved cooking as a young child. After year 9, I studied at a public cookery school, where I earned my first qualification.
Where did your career as a chef begin?
I was awarded my first grades as a chef at the first school, which is in Heraklion, the capital of Crete. After that I stayed in Heraklion to complete an internship at a five-star hotel. A year later, my school introduced me to another hotel.
What was your first impression after starting cookery school?
My first impression of cooking wasn’t the best. At the beginning, I was confronted with too much information and too many techniques, which overwhelmed me at first. Over time and with plenty of practice, I developed the routine and experience that were to enrich my career.
If you were to open your own restaurant, where would it be and what kind of culinary focus would it have?
I would like to open a restaurant in London offering Mediterranean molecular gastronomy prepared in a modern kitchen.
What was your first impression when you began working as a chef abroad?
My first impression was excellent. I was working in England, which I eventually left with a wealth of experience and expertise under my belt.
WORKING AS A PRIVATE CHEF
What made you want to become a private chef?
A former colleague was hired by a businessman to cook for him at his private villa on Mykonos. That’s where I got the idea.
As a private chef, are you free to adapt the menu based on your own ideas?
Whether you’re a private chef or cooking in a restaurant, it is your job to satisfy your customers and their different tastes and preferences.
What are the advantages and perhaps disadvantages of being a private chef?
As a private chef, you only have to cook for a few people, meaning you have more freedom to try out new and creative dishes. One downside is the fact that having individual clients can require me to work outside my regular working hours.
CULINARY DISHES AND INGREDIENTS IN VARIOUS REGIONS
To what extent are your dishes influenced by Greek cuisine?
The influence of Greek cuisine is still there, since it is known for excellent ingredients and dishes. The unique taste inspired me to create new Greek recipes.
What current trends and developments are there in modern Greek cuisine?
Our modern cuisine is based on Greece’s traditional dishes. For example, we used to produce oil from corn. There are a lot of changes occurring.
What’s life like in Qatar?
Four days ago, I was offered a job working as a sous-chef for an emir in Qatar. I’m currently awaiting official approval from the palace.
Are there are a variety of local ingredients there, or do the majority come from abroad?
The manager in Qatar told me that there are a wide variety of herbs and fish, most of which are tropical due to the warm water of the Indian Ocean.
What advice would you give foreign chefs interested in working and gaining experience in the Middle East?
First of all, I would absolutely encourage everyone to work in the Middle East. It’s a good opportunity to get to know the different dishes and spices. There are also plenty of different tastes, traditions and flavours there thanks to the different regions, from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.