Name: Stelios Pavlou
Restaurant/Concept: Solia – Mediterranean Cuisine
My Breakfast: Coffee, bread with butter and honey.
My Knives: Kai Shun Pro Tim Malzer.
Most overused spice: Greek oregano.
Favorite Foodie Destination: Tuscany, Italy.
Favorite Kitchen Gadget: Thermometer.
Favorite Food Aroma: White Alba Truffle.
Why did you first get into cooking?
It was about seven year ago when I left university to return to my hometown and get a job so that I can pay for my studies. I got a job in a restaurant as a steward, hoping that the time will pass quickly so that I can go back to university. However the daily routine of the restaurant was something that I really enjoyed, being involved in the daily preparation of the kitchen and service satisfied me. Day by day it attracted me more and more, until it made me realize that this was what I wanted to do for a living. Without any ambitions for fame or stardom, I was already in love with the industry.
Describe your favorite dish.
The sea bass with Vierge sauce at Solia. It has the aroma of the sea, an addictive combination of ingredients from the cultivated soil, and a balance of sourness, sweetness and saltiness.
Name three ingredients you can’t live without in the kitchen.
Extra virgin olive oil, fresh oregano and black pepper.
What is the most important part of a sandwich?
The bread. It’s the first impression that counts. It’s the first part of the sandwich that you touch when you come to eat it. For me, the bread forms the base, and the rest of the sandwich will depend on it.
What’s your favorite sauce of all time?
“Avgolemono” sauce. It’s a lemon and egg-based sauce which is commonly used all around the Mediterranean coast.
How does your personality differ inside and outside the kitchen?
It differs a lot. The kitchen requires you to maintain and create consistency levels that your daily routine may not always require. You have to be focused on your target and consistent in whatever you do. This unfortunately can affect your behavior to act in a totally different way.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you like to be?
I would love to have my own farm, to get in touch with the production of fresh ingredients. I believe it’s a great heritage that has passed through years from mother nature to us. The life cycle of a seed up to its harvest is something admirable.
If you could choose, what would your “last supper” be?
It could be anything, something simple. What makes it special is who you share it with. This is also what cooking is all about. It’s about sharing.
What do you think will be the biggest food trend of 2019?
Trends can be unpredictable. This world changes fast, and unfortunately the impact of media in people’s preferences and habits is a big one.