The Greek island of Santorini has long been regaled for its beauty and stunning views, but that’s not the only reason to visit this magical island. As Chef Vassilis, of our cooking vacation Greek Gastronomy on Santorini, can attest to, this island also has a plethora of local ingredients that make some wonderful gourmet dishes. Hear all about Chef Vassilis’s love of Santorini cooking and food in our latest chef interview.
What’s your first cooking memory?
I think the first dish I ever learnt to cook was dolmades. My mother comes originally from Istanbul (Constantinoupolis) and she loved to cook recipes from there. There was a Greek society there.
What’s your favorite ingredient or food to cook with? Favorite dish to make?
I love fava! All the dishes that are made of fava are appealing to me. The fava of Santorini is magical. I personally love making one cream with fava beans. I cook it traditionally with onion and olive oil. I mix it manually and as soon as it becomes creamy I just add a little more olive oil and fresh butter. I serve it with mince coming from Santorinian sausage, savory, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. I also serve egg poché.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to someone just starting to cook?
The truly best advice I can give to everyone is to use simple, in season, authentic ingredients without trying to do straight away something extraordinary. Cook simple!
What do you hope people gain from your cooking programs/classes?
I strongly believe that despite the fact I create a lot of “gourmet” dishes, all the dishes taste deliciously because I use only local Santorinian produce. So the people who attend my classes (or participate on hands on classes) and/or eat my dishes, definitely come very close to the use of fresh local ingredients. Maybe the recipes are uncommon and unique, but believe me the real skills to learn are the excessive use of local, fresh ingredients.
Anything else you’d like to share with clients of The International Kitchen?
What I would like to share with all the clients is that a good day starts with a good breakfast. And the best breakfast is good bread being spread by Santorinian tomato puree, olive oil, and salt from the island of Astypalaia (next to Santorini)!
Discover more about the cuisine on Santorini Island during our newest Greek Islands cooking vacation, Greek Gastronomy on Santorini.
By Liz Hall
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