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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 September 2019
10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Award-winning chef Natalia Gaspari: ‘My entire world was destroyed’ Award-winning chef Natalia Gaspari opens up about a heartbreaking 12 months that included her father passing away and her dream restaurant closing down Gaspari with her Australian Good Food Guide Award. CON STAMOCOSTAS Good Food Guide Awards just a few weeks after opening her dream restaurant Ble Greek Kouzina, she became just one of only 25 female chefs from across Australia to receive the award. However the Australia-based W Greek chef had little time to celebrate the success because in June earlier this year, Gaspari decided to close the doors to her Ramsgate Beach eatery. Ble follows several big hen Natalia Gaspari won a Hat in the 2019 Australian name Sydney restaurants that closed, including the Bridge Room, Sotto Sopra and Billy Kwong. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Gaspari was quite forthright in explaining why she decided to shut up shop. "It's not that the restaurant wasn't successful or that we weren't busy, it's just that the partnership with the coowners didn't work for me," she said. "Having a place of my own wasn't about showing off. I don't need to show off anything; for me I just love it, I can't live without cooking. Having my own restaurant was my dream since I was a kid, but I felt it wasn't my own business." For Gaspari running a what is Greek cuisine and this proved a major sticking point in the relationship with For Gaspari running a restaurant wasn’t about making money, it was about “ challenging convention for what is Greek cuisine and this proved a major sticking point in the relationship with her restaurant partner. restaurant wasn't about making money, it was about challenging convention for her restaurant partner. "Instead of being forced to change my culinary career like make more money or make a different plan that doesn't agree with my culinary skills, I decided to go," she said. "But I did make really good friendships out of this restaurant, people who appreciated the food and came regularly - that was an amazing thing that happened. People have been messaging me on Facebook 'we miss you, come back'. But I left because I couldn't be me. It's a good lesson for the next one. Never again will I have a partner." While she was happy with the food at Ble at the beginning, which was inspired by her upbringing in her Greek island home of Kefalonia, Gaspari felt frustrated at not being able to take her vision further. "It has to do with the understanding of the food," she explained. "What I wanted to be able to do was give the customers the best I could, from hospitality to great ingredients. I'm not the kind of person that is just going to make souvlaki. So instead of putting my level down, I left. I love Greek food and I love modern Greek food; I know our culture is a bit heavy, but we live in the 21st century and we have to keep updating." Gaspari with her beloved father in Greece.
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