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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 November 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2017 15 FOOD FOR THOUGHT One chef that left a powerful impression on Tsirekas was Gikas Xenakis from the popular Athens fine diner Aleria Restaurant. "Gikas is the Tselementes (iconic Greek chef and influential cookery writer from the early 20th century) of our modern times; evolving Greek classics without transforming them into science projects. "He has kept the elements of taste, texture, and wholesomeness of Greek tradition in food but given them a new finesse. Kind of like the hope shown during the Hellenic enlightenment period of art and philosophy after the victory over the Persians. "Along with a new breed of chefs he is bringing great hope to a fine-tuned cuisine but maintaining the essence of philotimo of food and its importance to Hellenes." LOOKING TO 'NEW GREECE' FOR INSPIRATION While Tsirekas feels Greek cuisine needs to move forward and evolve, at the same he believes it is just as important to keep referring to the 'homeland' for guidance and inspiration. "In my opinion most of the Australian Greeks are [more closely] linked to the traditions brought over by my parents and theirs of the generation of postwar migration. In a way, those Greek traditions have been kept in a bubble or a time stood still. "It is a Greek way of life and tradition that's reminiscent more of the post war villages where most of the migration happened and came from. "The earlier migrants from Kastellorizo and Kythera etc, are far more westernised and have had a huge impact on the path of hospitality, that is milk bars and fast food of the US, Canada and Australia, to be palatable to these tastes. "The new generation have to go back to see how far Greece has come from post war to the present and to appreciate the food and wine in constant change, and development of food culture in Greece even with the tavernas still being prevalent there. "It's important to see, feel, taste, and smell the environment of homegrown Hellenes and how their traditions are being transformed and developed and not held in a post war stasis." SYDNEYSIDER A FAN OF MELBOURNE SCENE The Sydney/Melbourne rivalry holds no interest for Tsirekas who is quick to point out the virtues of the Greek food scene in the Victorian capital. "People like George Calombaris have set the bar down there along with others like Angie Giannakodakis. "Melbourne has a different personality to Sydney, very similar to the differences of Thessaloniki to Athens. "We in Sydney are very 'what's in fashion' driven and follow the trends set by an elite few but Melbourne is more about making it accessible to all at all levels, which is what food is about. I think that's what Greece where does really well." THE LURE TO KEEP GOING BACK GOES BEYOND FOOD AND WINE Culinary interests aside, Tsirekas has a genuine passion for Greece and its people that will ensure a return to his ancestral home on a regular basis. "For me it's abandonment of material possession and First World problems. Call me a romantic and less of a realist but every time I go to Greece all of that stuff doesn't matter. Maybe it's being on holiday, but I always get a sense of living and breathing every moment of life there." Feeding David.
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