FOURty seconds with George Venieris

14 Dec 2014
2 min read
Multi-awarded Greek chef George Venieris is a pioneer of new Greek cuisine having created landmark signature dishes for restaurants around Greece and abroad. FOUR spends FOURty seconds with him…

Tell me more about a Greek breakfast…

If you ask the average Greek the same question he’ll probably tell you that a frappeand cigarette is your classic Greek breakfast! That would be the new generation ofGreekanswering you though. The older generation did not grow up that way; theygrew up consuming a healthy and varied breakfast. Away from Athens such richbreakfasts are still the norm; having said that, you can find examples of mostinternational breakfast cuisines in the Capital. Additionally, in every neighbourhoodof Athens you can find the Royalty of Greek breakfasts, the Pie. Hundreds ofbakeries sell a variety of pies to suit all tastes. The cheese pie is the King of all pies.Do you know why? Let me explain. First and foremost, Greeks love cheese; secondlythey have one of the best quality cheese industries in the world and thirdly they arethe third largest producer of cheese in Europe. A large assortment of cheese pieshas developed as a result of these cheesy facts and they often sit alongside anequally large number of different veggie pies due to the diversity of vegetablesavailable in the country. There are thousands of herbs, greens and vegetables inGreece that are endemic to the countrythe kilos of daily sunshine are to blame forthe variety and sophistication of their taste. Who can compare with the taste ofGreek olive oil, yoghurt and honey? Noone! The passion and philosophy of Greekchefs weave all of the aforementioned ingredients into the beautiful, healthy andelegant tapestry that is the Greek breakfast.

What is a typical ingredient of a Greek breakfast?

A good example of aminimal breakfast is a Cretan ripe tomato full of blood redtaste, combined with high quality cold pressed olive oil from Messinia, a pinch of seasalt from the Aegean and a piece of sharp feta cheese from Epirus.

The UK is renowned for its cooked breakfast dishes. What ideas could you steal toinclude in your destination dining?

I want to fall asleep after a full English breakfast! It is out of fashion now becauseit’s too heavy and not nutritionally balanced. Having said that I could easily steal acanof baked beans!

Are there regional variations in the Greek breakfast? Which regional delicacies haveinfluenced breakfast at the Electra Palace?

I left Electra Palace three years ago but when I was there, I had a themed corner inthe breakfast area basedon a different region of Greece. There are too manydifferent varieties to mention!

Your ultimate breakfast?

Look at the answer for ‘a typical ingredient of a Greek breakfast’, add some olives,barley rusks and honey/tahini paste.

If stranded on a Greekisland, how would you improvise and what would youprepare for the love of your life?

I would try to find some figs and grapes and become friends with the local goat!Otherwise I would become a fisherman. If I was stranded near a taverna, I wouldprefer anice, juicy moussaka to present to my love!

What has inspired you to work with young chefs on your breakfast destinationproject?

That’s easy. Young people have the passion and energy to change things.

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