It is with great pleasure that I announce the program for the Sani Gourmet Festival ’11, located in the five-star Sani Resort in Kassandra, Halkidiki (northern Greece). Dedicated to excellence in world cuisine, Sani Resort has hosted the Sani Gourmet Festival with this 6th year being centered on the theme of “New Greek Cuisine”.
Greece has a remarkable culinary identity: a cuisine of subtle flavours, aromas and incredible diversity are influenced by the many regional styles cooking from within Greece, its geographic location in the middle of the Mediterranean bridges east and west influences. Greek cuisine is based on simplicity, local, fresh and seasonal ingredients and the flavours of Greek cuisine are heightened by the creativity of Greece’s contemporary chefs who have one eye on creative panache and another towards maintaining the integrity of Greek cookery.
Thus, the Sani Resort invites you to join us from May 13th -22nd to for this gastronomic celebration that brings together some of the best chefs from Greece and abroad and joining them will also be some of the rising stars in the culinary world who are just beginning to make their mark in the kitchen. Each year Michelin-star chefs join the seasoned line-up of staff at Sani’s top restaurant’s to create dishes that are memorable, delicious and inspiring.
During the course of the 10-day period, guests are also treated to a number of workshops, presentations and wine tastings. The Sani Gourmet Festival takes place from May 13th- 22nd and I too will be in attendance! Over the course of the 10 days, The Ouzeri Sani Beach Club, the Water Restaurant, The Sea You Up, The Tomato and Byblos will all host and appeal to all your senses. Won’t you come join me? Sani Resort is located just an hour’s drive from Thessaloniki with regular flights connecting through all major hubs in Europe.
Below are the Chef’s bios and where and when they will be cooking at Sani Gourmet:
Nick KARATHANOS – Water Restaurant – 13 -14 / 5
“The kitchen is like the army, it requires discipline,” says Nick Karathanos, the young chef who, when he entered culinary school did not trust even his father. He quickly learned the secrets of the kitchen, while a training (and working to pay for his tuition) at the restaurant Octoberfest in Agia Paraskevi. Nikos has also cooked in the esteemed kitchens of Varoulko and Spondi, where he gained invaluable experience under the guidance of patisserie chef, Jerome Serres. Karanthos adds, “every cook must learn to make desserts and sweets”. Recognition came quick for Chef Karanthos (aged 28) with the restaurant Hytra earing a Michelin star.
KONSTANTINOS ERINKOGLOU – Water Restaurant – 21-22/5
For the past 13 years, Chef Constantine has been showcasing Greek cuisine at Notos restaurant in the European Union’s capital (Brussels). Notos has been voted “best restaurant” in Brussels for the past 10 years with creative flare and pure local and Mediterranean ingredients. Born in Kavala, with roots in Thrace and Constantinople and Istanbul, he is blessed with a “dowry” of the rich cooking styles of northern Greece. He has been honored with many awards, one of which was to be the best ambassador of Greek cuisine in Belgium.
ASTERIOS KOSTOUDIS – Byblos – 14-15/5
Born in Thessaloniki, he studied cooking in IEK College (Thessaloniki) and subsequently to the corresponding specialized programs. His participation in cooking competitions opened the door to Macedonia Palace hotel where he stayed 6 years, two of them in the restaurant Porfira. Chef Asterios then took his talents to Agioli restaurant in the Electra Palace. His biggest challenge came when he moved to Athens to cook for the Pentelikon Hotel at the Vardis restaurant, making the shift from classic French to Hellenic. Vardis was awarded a Michelin star in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Currently, Chef Asterios has been in charge of the Roof Garden Restaurant atop of the Grand Bretagne Hotel in Athens.
CHRISTOPHER PESKIAS – Sea You Up – 21-22/5
Christopher Peskias born in Cyprus and studied business administration at Boston University. As a student, he discovered the joys of cooking, which quickly developed into passion. Upon his return to Greece, he worked for three years as a chef at the restaurant Dash in Kifissia only to leave Greece once more for the US where he studied alongside chefs Charlie Trotter and Jackie Pluton. From 1997 to 2002 he put his personal stamp in the kitchens of restaurants Puerto Colina, Rock n ‘Roll and Balthazar, and then trained in Europe next to Ferran Adria, Mark Menaux and Joel Robuchon. In 2003 took over the restaurant 48 where he stayed until 2008, elevating it to the top-100 list of the best restaurants in the world of magazine Restaurant Magazine. In 2010 he opened his first Pbox in Kifissia and most recently at the second location in the Periscope Hotel in Kolonaki. Chef Peskias is a regular contributor to Kathemerini’s Gastronomos maganize and his won several awards.
THEODORE KYRIAKOU – Sea You Up – 13-14-15 / 5
Born in Athens, Chef Kyriakou’s first job was a captain in the merchant navy. He traveled around the world, and later was active in Greenpeace missions to Iceland and Antartica. In 1990 he decided to “disembark” in London and return to his old love, cooking: which became part of his DNA written from when his parents kept a restaurant. In 1995 he opened his first restaurant, Livebait, a co-owner and head chef, who soon acquired a large group of restaurants. The Real Greek opened in 1999, breaking the stereotypes about Greek cuisine internationally. Today, The Real Greek has become a chain of seven restaurants that have won significant awards, and he has other similar activities, and significant presence in the literary field. The newest restaurant is in More Tooley Street, London.
DIMITRIS SKARMOUTSOS – Sani Beach Club Ouzeri – 14-15/5
Born in Athens, Dimitri left at age 18 for the US where he studied economics at UCLA and then attended the Culinary Institute of America. His professional career began in 1993 and 1996 he began working in some of the US’s largest & most prominent hotels and restaurants. Chef Skarmoutsos’ most cherished memory is working alongside Thomas Keller for two years at French Laundry in Napa Valley. Later, Dimitri was appointed the Sheraton Group’s corporate executive chef, overseeing the food for over 100 hotels and providing him with seeing the four corners of the planet and gaining much inspiration. Today he is the chef at Alatsi and he’s a judge on the Greek version of the reality show ‘Master Chef”.
YIANNIS LOUKAKOS – Sea You Up – 16-17-18 / 5
Yiannis was born in the US in 1973 and grew up in Athens. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University and worked in restaurants to cover education costs. Soon he realized that cooking was more than just “casual employment”, so he started studying at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and then work 5-star hotel in Phoenix, Arizona, where he stayed for the next two years. Chef Loukakos also worked at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and Park Avenue Cafe in New York. He returned to Greece in 2000 to cook at Boschetto, first as sous chef and later as a chef. In 2004 he collaborated as executive chef with Yes Hotels & Restaurants (Semiramis, Twenty-one, Periscope), winning several prestigious awards. Since 2009, chef Loukakos has gone independant, opening the restaurant “Psomi & Alati”.
GEORGE VENIERIS – Byblos – 20-21-22 / 5
George is the executive chef of the “gold chef’s hat” winning Electra Restaurant in the Electra Palace hotel in Thessaloniki. He also a professor of culinary school Chef D’Oeuvre, and one of the most award-winning Greek chefs, being recognized for his work as executive chef at Beau Brummel and George Venieris is one of the most award-winning Greek chef, a term also winning restaurants in Beau Brummel (executive chef), Spondi (chef) and stints at the hotel Astir of Paros, Hilton, Schiphol Airport Amsterdam, Vardis in Pentelikon Hotel, at restaurants Peters and Chochlidaki in Athens and Punta Folegandros, as well as the company Private Catering. Moreover, he was a consultant for restaurants Veggera (Patmos), Cavo Tagoo (Mykonos), Delfi (Utrecht, Holland) and Exo (Athens). In recent years involved the Sani Gourmet Festival and Cinema on the Plate. He has won international awards in culinary competitions and has participated as a guest on many TV shows.
DIMITRIS DIMITRIADIS – Ntomata – 18-19/5
Dimitris studied at the Tourism School of Rhodes, specializing in cooking and he entered the profession in 1994. He has worked as a chef in restaurants such as the Nabucco in Ekali (Athens), winning “Golden Chef’s Hat” at Byblos in Porto Sani and the Sea You at the Sani Marina (both at Sani Resort). He’s also worked at Amimoni in Nafplia Palace and has trained next to Jacques Chibois ( 2 Michelinstars ) and Alain Parodi (1 Michelin star), and at the restaurant Noma, awarded best restaurant in the world in 2010. Chef Dimitriadis is currently chef at the Cibus in Zappeion, featuring dishes of the Mediterranean inspired by the vibrant and colourful seasonal ingredients. He won an award from the Lions Club and teaches cooking at the Palmier Vocational Centre.
CHRYSANTHOS KARAMOLEGOS – Tomato-13-14-15-16-17 / 5
Inspired by memories and from his heart, chef Chrysanthos Karamolegos creates dishes that mix past and future, touching upon the history and cultures of varying regions, memories and emotions. Always pushing the boundaries of Greek cuisine, Karamolegos is known as the creator of ”Green Cuisine” where fresh ingredients are a prerequisite for each of his creative dishes. In the “Apla” restaurant in Athens and Tomato in Sani Resort, chef Krysanthos creates a wonderful mosaic of flavors, with dishes that are sometimes influenced by people, places and experiences, mood and emotion. Chef Chrysanthos is a one to watch in the coming years, considered the a trend-setter in New Greek Cuisine. Besides trying out his unique dishes in his kitchens, you may find some of his food in BHMA’s Gourmet magazine.
YIANNIS BAXEVANIS – Water Restaurant – 18-19-20 / 5
Chef Baxevanis has studied in both Greece and France (where he worked for five years), -John Baxevanis is one of the major Greek chef, with several distinctions, including awards from the International Academy of Gastronomy. He considers himself “lucky” having managed to make his hobby a profession and believes that a good chef must travel to gain inspiration and apply his experiences into inspired dishes. His has a weakness for Greece’s unique ingredients and he loves to create “paintings” through his creative plates. Chef Baxevanis has worked in large hotels and restaurants (Elounda Beach, Mirabello, Grecotel Mykonos Blue, Hytra, Kitrino Podilato) and today he is a consultant to Hotels Grand Resort Lagonissi, Dubai Majestic, Kyrimai in Mani, Premier Luxury Mountain Resort in Bulgaria and Kastelorizo Group. He has written the cookbook “John Baxevanis – my best.”
MANOLIS ASLANOGLOU – Sani Beach Club Ouzeri – 20-21-22 / 5
Born and raised in Piraeus, chef Manolis got an early start in restaurants – first as a waiter and soon after helping in the kitchen. His passion for cooking led him to Le Monde School of Athens and soon after he moved toSwitzerland, where he worked until 2007 in luxury hotels and restaurants.Aslanoglou continued to cook in France, Italy and Spain (the latter in Arzak Restaurant with chef Juan Mari Arzak, 3 Michelin stars). Upon his return to Greece he worked as Executive chef at Elounda Gulf Villas & Suites Hotel and Rodos Park Suites & Spa Hotel, and then to Vasilena in Piraeus. Today, chef Manolis’ dishes are enjoyed at the restaurant Gaspar, where he and Chronis Damala collaborate and create East meets West cuisine with interesting and inspiring results. With several awards to his credit, Manolis Aslanoglou ever strives to push the boundaries of Greek cuisine without neglecting tradtion or wonderful flavours.
KATERINA SYROU – Sani Beach Club Ouzeri – 16-17-18 / 5
Katerina Syrou’s specialty is traditional Greek cuisine and she comes from nearby Arnaia, Halkidiki where she also began her career at serving up delicious food to townfolk and tourists alike. Katerina then honed her cooking skills at the legendary Krikeli that still caters to artists, businessmen and politicians.The course of Catherine the Syrian cuisine with an emphasis on Greek cuisine, began in Arnea, Halkidiki from which comes with a ouzeri under her maiden where successfully cooked dishes fascinated demanding villagers. Then the talent utilized for over ten years in the kitchen of the legendary restaurant in Thessaloniki Krikelas regulars featured artists, businessmen and politicians. It’s well-known that Constantine Karamanlis went on to Krikelas for chef Katerina’s spanakopita! In 2002, Katerina left for Cologne, where she serves up her wonderful traditional dishes at Sofia’s estiatorio, voted “number 1” in a list of best restaurants in Cologne (2010).
ARGYRO VARDA – Tomato – 18-19/5
Argyro Varda began her culinary career in Heraklion where she opened the restaraunt “Olive and Mint”. Visitors to Olive and Mint are taken back deep into the food memories of Agyro, even before she could read or write and one is taken deep into a gastronomic journey of Cretan cuisine. One is transported back in time when grandmother’s cooked comforting meals, the family dinner on Sundays.. There, the visitor finds the thread that unravels the tangle of childhood memories of a girl even before catching pencil and paper, discover the secrets of Cretan cuisine. The Olive and Mint flavors travels in time with recipes that awaken memories charged with the warmth of smiling grandmother, the Sunday family dinner, combining the experiences of traditional cuisine in a cozy family room and aesthetics.
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