Christos Georgogiannopoulos – Head and Consulting Chef in Greece
Christos Georgogiannopoulos is head and consulting chef in Greece. Read here if you want to know more about this fascinating cuisne.
Today you are Head and Consulting Chef in Greece. How did you culinary career started? Why did you become a chef?
My culinary career started at the age of 17 right after I graduated high school.I was working in a restaurant in my hometown Pyrgos as an apprentice. At the age of 14 I said for the first time, that I want to become a chef. To be honest, at that age, I don’t know how this came into my mind, because I didn’t have any culinary background from my family or my close environment. From that point I never stopped cooking.
Which cooking school did you visit first?
I visited “Le Monde” culinary school in Athens.
Tell us the story of your career start as a cook.
My career started out somewhat problematic, because my parents own an accounting firm and their dream was that I study finance and then take over the family business. After some argument they understood that cooking was my dream and so I started as an apprentice in a busy restaurant in my hometown. I was peeling potatoes, onions and carrots everyday, but I was really happy that I was actually working in a professional kitchen. Then I moved to Athens to attend my culinary studies, where at the same time I was working in small restaurants, trying to get as much experience as I could. My first big job was in the 5-star hotel “St. George Lycabettus” where I worked for 2 years and I can tell you that I got the right fundamentals to become a good chef.
What surprised you most about ones you started to become cook?
What surprised me more at the beginning, was the transformation of ingredients. The diversity in taste and textures you can accomplish by using different cooking techniques.
What will you never forgot about your first years as cook?
It is a little bit funny, but I will never forget one incident.
We were catering a wedding at the hotel I was working at. I was supposed to deliver the cheese platters, the wedding cake and the desserts. On the way we had a small car accident and everything was destroyed. We called the chef and we told him what happened. The pastry chefs prepared everything again and brought it themselves. The thing is that I went to the wedding in changed clothes and I worked normally. I was so young and passionate about my job that I didn’t even check if I was hurt somewhere.
What is the best part of being a chef?
The best part of being a chef is that you do a job , that is creative, gives you motivation and is a profession that never stops developing. And of course the joy it gives you, when customers are pleased with your food.
And what is the hardest part of the chef job?
There are few things that make this job hard, like the long hours, hot environment. You will cut or burn yourself and even sometimes you will be so busy, that you will not eat. I believe that the most difficult part of being a chef is that important days (Christmas,New years eve, etc. ) you can’t celebrate with your family.
How would you describe the Greek kitchen best?
Literally the word that I can use to describe best Greek cuisine is “Seasonal “. Greece has a great variety of ingredients throughout the whole year.
Modern Greek kitchen; what does it mean/ what are some good examples of it?
Modern Greek cuisine means the start of new techniques , use of new equipment to modernize the taste and recipes.
How would you describe your culinary line today?
My culinary line is very simple, cooking fresh and seasonal. Prepare everything from scratch to give customers the real feeling I have for food.
What are some of the new developments/ trends you see at the Greek restaurant/ chef scene?
Some trends I see in the Greek culinary scene is that chefs are getting closer to the producers, getting to know their ingredients better in preparing their food, respecting the raw materials.
What is your master/ special dish?
If I could pick a special dish that I cook it would be “Pantzarosalata”. It is a classical Greek recipe of a hot beetroot salad. So I took the recipe and I modernized it with new techniques and some more elements, like instead of boiling the beetroots I bake them in the oven to give a chestnut taste and I make a nice garlic cream instead of putting it raw.
What are some of the less known spices and vegetables you us?
Some lesser known spices I like to use is sumac , which is dried deep red powder that has a very rich flavor giving aromas of lemon and berries. Also, I use “throumpi” or (savory) ,which is something between oregano and thyme,but has a more strong and wild taste.
Can you share some of your unique cooking/ preparation techniques with us?
I don’t think I am using any unique techniques in my cooking. I am doing what I have learned all these years and by getting experience I am trying to take the best result in taste and texture. I am following the new ideas and techniques, and I am trying to incorporate them in my cooking style and philosophy.
What would you do if you would have to worry about your income for one year?
I think that if I had to worry about my income in the future I wouldn’t give up on cooking. I would try to find better solutions, that again should be around food.
Any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day in the future?
From the first day I began my cooking journey, I had two goals. The first was to work one day in London, which happened due to my recent relocation to work as a Sous Chef in a restaurant. The second destination is New York, which I believe is the “Mecca “ of the culinary world.
Thank you Christos.
What is your plan for your future as a chef?
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