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'I wish people would educate themselves about eating right'

I wish people would educate themselves about eating right

Talking food with Dimitris Lazarou, head chef, Ammos, Dubai



Published: Fri 20 Sep 2019, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 29 Sep 2019, 1:12 PM

Your best food-related experience.
My best food-related experience was at El Bulli - a 3-star Michelin restaurant near the town of Roses, Catalonia in Spain, run by Chef Ferran Adria. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant to the moment I walked out, I felt like I had been in another world. I tried a set menu with tastes and textures so simple, yet so satisfying. It really opened my eyes to the culinary world and to say I am proud to be a part of this industry is an understatement. To see how we, as chefs, can really turn food into art is an amazing feeling. It was an experience I will never forget.

Who do you admire most in the culinary world, and why?
There are a few; however, one in particular was Anthony Bourdain. I studied his books, admired his philosophy and could always relate to his way of working. His personality really reflected on the food he delivered and that's what I also want to achieve.

Your favourite culinary destination, and why?
That's easy. I would choose the small Greek islands every time. The simplicity of the products, especially the seafood, drives me back year after year.

How often do you eat out? What's your favourite place around town?
I am lucky if I eat out two or three times a month, as you will always find me in the kitchen during lunch and dinner hours. When I do have free time, I will always choose to go back to my favourite restaurants as I am very loyal to them. Luigia at Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR, is my go-to Italian restaurant.

If you could cook for a high-profile personality, who would it be and what would you serve?
Sade. Her music has inspired me so much over the years and I would like to do the same - inspire her with my Greek food. I would invite her to the restaurant, where I would cook a variety of my top dishes and offer the most authentic Greek dining experience she's known.

You're asked to invent an unusual dish - what would it be?
People have wildly different opinions when it comes to subjective matters of taste, but I would like to prepare a traditional Greek delicacy using ingredients that could be considered unusual, such as offal, or more commonly known as organ meats, which many would discard without realising that these parts of the lamb, beef or even fish can make for really delicious meals.
Kokoretsi, for example, is the most sought-after delicacy during Greek Easter, and is made up of skewered seasoned lamb or goat organ meat including the entrails, which are wrapped in caul fat and intestines. You roast it for four hours high above the charcoal fire with the final 30 minutes closer to the embers to achieve a crackling crust - unbelievably delicious. It would be interesting to serve such a dish to someone who has never tried Greek delicacies and I would love to hear their feedback.

One dish you can't stand, and why.
I don't like fast food. I can make simple and fresh food faster, and it will be so much tastier and healthier too. I strongly believe in the saying 'you are what you eat'. I wish people would educate themselves more and realise the importance of eating right.

Do you cook for yourself at home too?
Of course! The moment I reach home, despite being in the kitchen all day, I still make sure I prepare my own meal. I choose recipes that are quick and easy - something that I can whip up with just a wok, simple ingredients and Asian-inspired techniques. Salads are also a favourite, which is handy as they take less than five minutes to prepare.

Favourite comfort food?
A very simple tomato-based pasta with garlic and basil. It only takes seven minutes to prepare!

If you could choose a last meal...
I'd opt for a selection of the most expensive seafood in the world!

Where can we find you outside the kitchen?
Out and about when the weather allows. I love to travel so, when I'm based in Dubai, I like to spend my days exploring the city.
- Staff reporter


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