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Pioneering Greeks: Yiannis Loucacos, Chef

Welcome to “Pioneering Greeks”, the weekly column of GTP Headlines, which highlights the Greeks that stand out for their creative thinking in the business world. “Pioneering Greeks” is a collaboration between LoveGreece.com and Greek Travel Pages (GTP).

This week we introduce Yiannis Lucacos, the chef focused on Greek cooking with a twist, combining the country’s recipes and ingredients with various international references.

Chef Lucacos gained wide recognition in Greece thanks to his participation in the TV show “Master Chef” as a member of the judges panel. It was an experience, he says, which helped him expand his potential and delve into new culinary journeys. Prior to that, he recognises various milestones in his career: First of all, his studying Mechanical Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University, in USA, where he gained knowledge which proved to be extremely useful even after he decided to focus on cooking professionally. Then, his work as a chef at “Semiramis”, a member of the “YES!Hotels” group in Kifissia (a northern suburb of Athens), where he was head of the hotel’s restaurant for the very first time. Another milestone was, of course, the opening of his very own restaurant, which meant acting as a businessman apart from being a chef.

When asked what has determined his culinary personality, chef Lucacos reminisces upon his childhood memories and explains that “what one eats growing up can affect both the way one cooks and the way one consumes food”. The smells coming from his mother’s kitchen was what first got him interested in cooking, at a time when it hadn’t occurred to him that this could be a viable professional choice. What started as a hobby, soon allowed him to make extra income while studying at the university, until it was obvious that becoming a chef was his calling and he enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.

His approach results to a personal style which might change according to season, but always has quality as a cornerstone. In 2009 he opened “Psomi & Alati” (meaning “Bread & Salt”), a restaurant in Chalandri, Athens, where he also created “The Seminar Project”, a place where he gives cooking lessons. Apart from these, he does consulting at other restaurants, has published books and done cooking shows on TV, and maintains a strong presence online, through his website and the social media.

One of the most distinguished Greek chefs, Yiannis Lucacos believes that Greek gastronomy has evolved impressively over the years, yet there is still room to improve while also supporting Greek producers. It is a strong belief of his that Greece has a lot to offer the international culinary scene, that’s why expanding abroad is one of his goals.

Inspired by the dynamism and creativity of the Greek entrepreneurial spirit, LoveGreece was founded in 2013 as an initiative to boost and promote the country’s image abroad by profiling talented and successful Greeks. With their ethos and vision, Greece’s entrepreneurs and professionals are an important aspect of the country worth highlighting to the world. LoveGreece is powered by Gina Mamidaki, the founder of the G & A Mamidakis Foundation.

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Εμπνευσμένο από τον δυναμισμό και τη δημιουργικότητα του ελληνικού επιχειρηματικού πνεύματος, το LoveGreece ιδρύθηκε το 2013 σαν μια πρωτοβουλία για την ενίσχυση και την προώθηση της εικόνας της χώρας στο εξωτερικό, παρουσιάζοντας ταλαντούχους Έλληνες με εξωστρεφή νοοτροπία. Οι Έλληνες επιχειρηματίες αποτελούν σημαντικό παράγοντα της χώρας που αξίζει να παρουσιαστεί σε όλο τον κόσμο. Το LoveGreece υποστηρίζεται από την Τζίνα Μαμιδάκη, Πρόεδρο του Ιδρύματος Γ. & Α. Μαμιδάκη.

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