Festive atmosphere and new meetings
It’s November 2014…. the first birthday of Mezen was prepared. The Cretan chef Michael Chasikos would be among the guests. I looked forward to meeting him, as he is the most “tasteful ” chef you could ever meet. A really vivid personality in the kitchen, with great taste and perception. He will always have an excellent cooking result, no matter the ingredients he may use. We had a great time together and we met again in March 2015, in his hometown Rethymno, Crete, this time.
Love at first sight….
I was in Crete to cook with Gregory Helmis, in a restaurant in Agios Nikolaos. Before leaving to Volos, we decided to go to Rethymno. I fell in love with the beauty of the old town. It’s a really picturesque and vivid town with many university students. We spend two amazing days there. We had great fun with the local people, we really enjoyed the food and the traditional drink raki. During my trip back to Volos, I couldn’t stop thinking about Crete! It is a place that everyone that goes there falls in love with it. I felt exactly the same when visiting Constantinople. I consider there is a positive atmosphere, it is a magical place that once you go, you want to go again and again. As time goes by I meet Michael every year, on Mezen’s birthday and I always learn something new.
If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad , then Muhammad must go to the mountain….
It’s May 2018, even though I had won the Master chef contest I didn’t have a job. I have never understood the reason why, even now! Suddenly, I found a job offer, Hasika was looking for kitchen staff. I immediately contacted Michael and I applied for the job. I told him I wanted to work and learn new things about Crete, its philosophy and products, to discover things that I didn’t know. The only difficulty was to find a house, due to the big number of students that study there. Luckily, I found one in Kalithea, a few metres away from the centre of Rethymno (3 km, about 30 minutes on foot). In late May, two days after Easter, I traveled from Thessaloniki to Heraklion. They picked me up and took me home. I stayed there for a year, I worked a lot and I learned even more. About meat, but also about the importance of food and people simplicity. Due to hard work, I only visited Heraklion, Plakia and the famous traditional cafe “spili”. Generally, I gained a lot of beautiful experiences, memories, new friends, as well as significant cooking knowledge.
Feeling nostalgic and hoping….
Generally, I had a really good time, even though I didn’t have time to sleep during the whole season. I really miss Rethymno, I was to stay a little longer, but things changed, luckily for good reason. Crete is a place that everybody should visit and meet that really different, but amazing lifestyle. I hope to meet the Cretan people soon, since they embraced me from the first time, as I did too.