Before starting the journey in the hospitality industry, I was a swim and water polo coach. I would supplement the meagre earnings in the pool or as a lifeguard on the beach with casual jobs in the hospitality industry where I picked up basic skills.
In 1998, I was offered my sisters partnership at an inner west (Sydney) classic restaurant called Perama. At this stage my skills and knowledge of Greek cooking were very basic and my knowledge was primitive.
I began my journey of understanding Greek cuisine by going back through history and reading ancient literary texts to help build the picture of where Greek cuisine had come from, what path it has travelled and how it has evolved to where it was then. In essence my Greek cooking depicts Greece through the ages, portraying elements of all these periods.
Perama got its first Sydney Morning Herald good food guide hat in 2001 and kept it until 2011 when I then moved to Xanthi in Westfields. He continued the trend of doing Greek outside the box but with traditional foundations. At Xanthi I also received a hat each year until we finally closed the doors in 2014.
I have been Executive Chef at Universal Hotels since the project 1821 was announced in January 2015. I have worked on the conception, the development and construction of 1821 with Jim Kospetas, the founder of Universal Hotels. I have worked closely with the family to implement a quality of cuisine throughout all its venues and continues to develop the different food offerings within the organisation.
I have now moved on to more of a consultant role where I consult for 3 venues in Chicago , USA , The Greek Club (Nostimo Restaurant Bar) in Brisbane and now working on menu development for Zeus Street Greek.
What is your feature flavour these days?
It would be anything that’s charcoal BBQ.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Everyday people who can teach me something personal and unique about their style of cooking. It can be a well-known Chef, my mum or just anyone who has a love for cooking a meal from their hearts.
What do you love about this business?
Making people remember the meal I cooked for them. Having them come to me unsolicited and telling me what a wonderful meal they've had. Making them smile and watching their facial expressions as they eat the food.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
There's no one ingredient I can't live without, it’s the creativity of the mind that drives me to utilise the ingredient/s I have before me. If I become reliant then I become predictive and boring.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
Pork Belly baklava.
Caramel Baklava Ice Cream or the twice-cooked BBQ lamb that has been renowned from Perama to Xanthi to 1821 to current.
Deliciously Greek and deliciously authentic, Nostimo Restaurant Bar on Edmondstone Street transports diners to the Mediterranean from the heart of Brisbane. Featuring white rendered walls, cascading worry beads, thatched ceilings and terrazzo finishes, this hot spot offers the best seat in the house from the famous terrace of The Greek Club, where sweeping views of the city skyline await. Meaning ‘tasty' in Greek, Nostimo serves authentic flavours with modern sophistication by renowned Chef David Tsirekas, offering starters of fried calamari, lightly dusted in rice flour, with Ouzo mayonnaise. For the main affair, delve into braised lamb skaras, finished on the grill for a smoky flavour, with herbed yoghurt, wilted leek and spinach; before caramel baklava ice cream, caramel fudge and nuts.