Thanos Stasinos – Gives us an insight into the Peruvian cuisine
Thanos Stasinos tells us what makes the Peruvian cuisine so special. Read here this amazing insight report.
Today you work as Executive Chef at Nikkei, the first Peruvian restaurant in Greece, where you create original Peruvian kitchen with a Japanese touch. This task requites a lot of passion for the chef job. Where your passion does comes from?
Actually I’m not working at Nikkei restaurant any more. We created this concept in 2015 in Athens and we updated a new member in Mykonos island in 2017. In September 2018 we stopped our cooperation in order to create my own Nikkei spots in food industry over this new trend.
My passion for this job came from my childhood memories. The tastes and the smells from my mother’s house. Gradually I started to inspire from the Greek cuisine and this passion increased a lot.
Peru’s culinary tradition has various cultural influences such as from Japan. Peru has the second largest ethnic Japanese population in South America. This combination of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine is known as NIKKEI the. Japanese-Peruvian fusion food. When did you come first across with this special kitchen?
In 2008 in Monaco, in a restaurant named Pacific Monte Carlo, where I was a sous chef. One year later, we created a new member in Athens, where I took over as the head chef. After this, I started becoming passionate with Nikkei cuisine and increasingly fell in love with it.
The Peruvian kitchen itself has lots of special Know How, and the Japanese kitchen is a capital for itself. So, to understand both kitchens as a European chef is difficult. However, combining both kitchens under NIKKEI; seems to be far beyond complicate. Where does your knowledge about this kitchen comes from?
Actually is not difficult to make this fusion. You only need to understand how the ingredients should be used. After all, you need knowledge of the thousands of ingredients that exist in the Amazon forest. You have to go there..!!!
How would you describe NIKKEI with one sentence? Does NIKKEI is a “50/50 mix” of Peruvian and Japanese kitchen; or more Peruvian kitchen influences by Japanese elements?
I would characterize it as a union between two worlds. Actually Nikkei doesn’t have 50/50 combination. You can make whatever you want. My Nikkei option, is something like 80% Peru and 20% Japan. I prefer the Peruvian power.
The Japanese-Peruvian fusion food/ kitchen is based on fresh fish; what sort of fish do you use?
In Greece, we have big variety of fishes. I like a lot fresh grouper and octopus.
Nikkei combines high gastronomy of Peruvian food that is cooked by using special Japanese techniques. What are some of these special Japanese techniques?
The Japanese techniques is very simple. But you need a lot of respect not only in ingredients, but also in the philosophy of the gastronomic civilization. It’s a culture that comes from the ancient times… Method of knowledge, respecting your knives, the ingredients etc.
Your dishes include all the Peruvian ingredients. What are typical ones and where do you get them from?
A lot of ingredients… potatoes, peppers, roots. Peru has more that 3500 varieties of potatoes and more than 130 varieties of peppers. Unimaginable amounts are cultivated there. Until now, in the Amazon forest, new varieties of plants are being discovered.
What are some of your typical dishes which describes the NIKKEI kitchen best? Does NIKKEI kitchen is as well popular in Japan?
”Causa” of course… Also, special nigiri with Peruvian influences, scallops with Aji limo peppers etc. Japanese people do not accept very easily other cultures in their food… I’m not sure if they would love Nikkei.
How often do you change the menus?
Two or three times per year. We don’t change, we develop our menu.
Where are you getting your inspiration for new creations from?
I don’t know actually …when I’m drinking my coffee, ideas are coming out of my head and I write them down in my booklet . Also new ideas are born, when I’m driving or while having a drink in a bar. Many times I’m inspired from other chef’s ideas.
A perfect NIKKEI dinner completes with a rich cocktail made exclusively for NIKKEI. What is a typical NIKKEI cocktail?
For sure it’s ‘Yuzu Pisco Sour’.
2015 awarded as the Best New Restaurant in Athens, ranked No1 for 2015-2016 in the category of Best Bar Restaurant and awarded as one of the top 100 restaurants in Greece. Did these awards set you under a kind of positive pressure?
Awards are awards…the result for a restaurant is the clients.
If you would have the time to come up with a chef/ culinary book, what would it be about and what would be the title?
For the moment, I do not have in my mind something like this. It is not in my schedule. If I did though, I would like it to be something about global food waste.
How did you start your career as a chef?
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