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Our resident executive chef Giorgios Mouskeftaras is a young rising star from Thessaloniki whose regard for his trade, like his love of authentic Mediterranean flavours, began in his grandfather’s kitchen.
‘My grandfather owned a taverna in Korifi Imathias, a small village in the mainland mountains, where he was almost as important as the priest, the doctor and the undertaker. One of his specialties was Chortopita, a layered filo pastry filled with cooked wild nettles and local herbs. This dish is traditionally served 40 days before Easter.’
Giorgios decided early on that he too would become a chef because he saw it as ‘a very direct way of being in the world, a craft that is full of passion for produce and for people, and work free of routine.’ He began his ‘lifelong apprenticeship’ at 18, first at the Byzantine Museum and then the Macedonian Palace, after attending chef school in Thessaloniki. But his defining moment and inspiration came from joining the Myconian Collection whose creative team of executive chefs set the bar at the highest level, with the haute cuisine philosophy of their three Relais & Châteaux coursing through all nine hotels. ‘Although there is a hierarchy, a good kitchen operates as one, with great knowledge transfer.’
Giorgios believes in educating the taste buds of young gourmets with savoury Greek delicacies, the food he himself discovered in his grandfather’s kitchen. Unsurprisingly, the favourite treat of his eight-year-old daughter Artemis is a plate of flash-fried anchovies tossed with wild capers and lemon zest.