Pastry Chef of the Week: Manolis Stithos, Athens, Greece

We’re thrilled to characteristic Manolis Stithos, a younger and tremendous proficient pastry chef from Athens, Greece. Manolis is 30 years outdated and he’s Govt Pastry & Bakery Chef on the well-known Funky Connoisseur Restaurant, a two-star Michelin restaurant within the Greek capital.

For the previous three years, Manolis has additionally taught seminars, workshops, and masterclasses at among the prime culinary colleges in Greece. 

Funky Connoisseur is closed in the interim as a consequence of relocation, so together with preparations for the brand new menu, Manolis is workıng with the well-known Greek Pastry Chef Stelios Parliaros for his pastry store Candy Alchemy.

1. What impressed you to turn into a chef? 

As a toddler I by no means thought I might work within the gastronomy business. My ardour was sport. Nevertheless, after failing my exams for the College of Bodily Schooling and Sport Science twice, my father impressed me to review pastry. That was it! From the primary day I knew that this might be my dream job. The factor I wished to do all my life.

2. The place did you practice to prepare dinner?

I studied Pastry & Bakery again in 2009 on the State College of Tourism Professions in Anavissos. It was one the primary colleges on this discipline to be based in Greece and has a protracted historical past of tourism research. It’s situated in a very lovely location, subsequent to the ocean, in a constructing that was once a resort. Though as an adolescent I by no means actually appreciated finding out at college, I graduated prime of my class in pastry from the State College.

3. Inform us about your work on the Funky Connoisseur.

In 2012, after pastry faculty, my internships, and one yr on the Intercontinental Resort in Athens on the Premiere restaurant, I started work as a pastry chef at Funky Connoisseur. Then, the restaurant had one Michelin star, however gained its second star two years later. From the beginning, I took over the pastry part alone. As time handed, the confectionery crew grew and I began gaining increasingly more expertise and felt that my artistic temper skyrocketed!

Now I’m Govt Pastry & Bakery Chef with a crew of 4 chef de events and for the previous couple of years I’ve taken care of the desserts on the menu.

4. How a lot stress is there to carry out in a two-star Michelin restaurant? 

Working in a Michelin-starred restaurant is like successful a championship. The stress is nice as every little thing must be excellent each single day. You must give 100% of your self in each state of affairs.

Chef Manolis Stithos

5. The place do you discover inspiration?

I primarily create my desserts experientially, with recipes that begin from scratch. My creations are based mostly on an idea and a narrative. I attempt to make distinctive dishes that pull the shopper right into a strategy of dealing and taking part in with the meals. I really like creating feelings and evoking folks’s reminiscences! 

Touring can also be a supply of inspiration for me. I like to journey and I believe it’s the finest present you can provide to your self. Touring opens your thoughts as you meet new cultures, flavors, and traditions. 

6. Do you’ve a signature dish or a favourite dish that you just take pleasure in cooking? 

Every dessert I’ve created is exclusive for me, has a particular that means, and  has been created in a really particular means. Nevertheless, perhaps I might single out the Comfortable Boiled Egg, an phantasm dessert that appears like an actual egg. The shell is made out of a combination of white chocolate and cocoa butter coloured like a brown egg. The egg white is coconut sorbet and the liquid yolk is made out of mango and fervour fruit. 

Salt and pepper utensils containing dried coconut and grated tonka beans are positioned subsequent to the egg so prospects can add their very own (as they might salt and pepper on an actual delicate boiled egg) and the entire dish is accompanied by a brilliant delicate vanilla cake for dipping within the yolk. 

Different favourite basic desserts usually are Tiramisu and the Black Forest, which I take pleasure in cooking very a lot, in addition to consuming!

7. What’s your favourite ingredient to work with?

I really like contemporary vanilla beans. For me, they’re one thing pure but glorious. Particularly in the event you discover a selection with a robust aroma and distinctive taste, then you should have one of the best ingredient you should utilize in a dessert and a very fascinating consequence. I additionally like fruits. I imagine fruits can present cooks with an enormous palette of flavors, textures, and colours to work with. 

Final however not least, I like utilizing chocolate as a aspect ingredient, particularly for coatings with cocoa butter.

8. Inform us a bit about Greek desserts. What are the highest conventional Greek desserts we have to check out.

Greeks love desserts. We love their sweetness. Historically, we prepare dinner quite a lot of spoon sweets, every one made with completely different fruit or contemporary nuts. 

Folks have to attempt the Walnut Pie, a cake with walnuts, cinnamon, and sugar syrup.

Revani, or Ravani, can also be a cake with sugar syrup made with semolina and flavored with mastiha. Galaktoboureko, is a well-known dessert with semolina custard flavored with vanilla, enclosed in filo pastry, baked within the oven, after which drizzled with sugar syrup. 

After all, there are nonetheless many different desserts yow will discover in Greece that you will love!

9. What’s the most underrated foodie vacation spot?

I don’t assume there’s an underestimated meals vacation spot, since each delicacies I’ve tried has its personal place on the worldwide style map. Every nation has its personal viewers in accordance with their historical past, custom, and merchandise and, due to this fact, each delicacies has its followers in addition to its enemies.

10. The very best dessert you’ve ever had?

Brioche full of vanilla ice cream and caramelized apples in Barcelona.

11. What’s the factor that you’re most pleased with?

I’m very pleased with my household, my little son and my spouse, who can also be a chef. Each make me actually completely satisfied and proud daily.

Chef Manolis Stithos

12. You might be additionally a part of a culinary consulting group. Inform us a bit about your work there.

I’m a part of a consulting group as Govt Pastry & Bakery Chef. This group supplies companies corresponding to Culinary Idea Improvement, Menu Consulting, and way more, in Greece in addition to everywhere in the world. I’m answerable for the entire pastry and bakery sector in creating menus and organizing operations.

13. What recommendation would you give somebody who desires to turn into a profitable pastry chef?

I might advise somebody to be affected person, persistent, exhausting working, and to not cease studying. Cleanliness and group are additionally key.

Chef Manolis Stithos

Everybody can study strategies and comply with recipes and generally, in the event that they don’t have these traits, expertise just isn’t sufficient.

14. Please present a tip for residence cooks that might assist them enhance their cooking.

Maneuver in cooking conditions, use your intuition, continuously style the meals if you prepare dinner, belief your scent, assume outdoors the field, and go away your creativity utterly free! 

Chef Manolis Stithos

Keep in contact with Manolis on Instagram, the place he shares his unbelievable creations.