He gathered the necessary experience needed to be able to run some of the most difficult and demanding restaurants with great success. His thirst for development and knowledge attribute to his character and even though he is very successful, he remains a humble man.
I met him at the age of 17 as my student when he first started his culinary education. I could see in his face his hunger wanting to learn faster and better than the rest of his class-mates. He followed me overseas to international exhibitions and cooking competitions and he was always remained restless.
He did not wait for jobs to come to him, he was after them. And whenever he was doing something new you could see the excitement in his face while at the same time he was thinking of his next step. The following is what he told me… this is Chef Marios Tsouris.
MT. from my very young age I enjoyed tasting different dishes and everything eatable. I never refused to try something new. My mother’s relation with her kitchen was almost ceremonial so I was used to good food and the fact that good cooking needs time. I got to love eating well, nothing like the rest of my friends. So with this in mind when time was right for me to decide for my career I chose the kitchen immediately.
When I started working for a local meze type little tavern I realized that my choice was correct, so I joined the culinary school IEK DOMI, and at the same time I started working for a very good Italian Chef.
After 15 years already in the kitchen and half my life already in the industry I can say that I have created my own style of cooking with clear simple taste and sensitive aromas. I would say that I cook Modern Greek dishes with a district touch from kitchens around the world.
I have learned to respect the restaurants where I have worked for and the needs of every particular clientele. And even the fact that
I run two completely different restaurants on the same island, the one place doesn’t influence my style for the other. My menu and my work are tailored to the needs of each restaurant.
Solymar is one of the biggest and most famous restaurants on the island of Mykonos and Lotus is a new smaller restaurant in the center of town.
I believe that my style of cooking is a result of extensive search of techniques, ingredients and secrets of other ethnic cuisines. My personal way of executing my recipes is matching classical and modern cuisine. The Greek factor in my dishes comes from my respect for the Greek tradition and the amazing ingredients this land offers us.
The Greek cuisine is a hidden treasure to be found. So I try to look for these treasures and when I find them I put my own touch and imagination to make something original but still under the traditional way.
In Mykonos there are plenty of good restaurants that promote the traditional Greek cuisine as well as plenty of other ethnic and gourmet cuisines.
If I had to choose one traditional dish for myself it will be “Sofrito” from Corfu and my favorite ethnic cuisine is Japanese. I think the best school for me was when I worked for Nobu-Matsuhisa in Paris and in Asteras-Vouligmenis Hotel in Athens. I learned incredible techniques there and Chef Nobu is my idle.
Also the time I worked for Spondi restaurant which taught me things I use with respect.
Still when I talk about my style I always say I can show you but I cannot describe it… that is why when you eat my food, you can taste its Greekness but still it takes you to a different level.
I like to choose my staff carefully because I give a lot of emphasis to the people I have around me, still I like discipline in my kitchen and I am not easy to work with. I take nothing for granted, and because I manage 2 very successful restaurants today that don’t mean I have to relax and stop trying for new challenges. I have my own personal plans and I will reach my goals very soon, to finally have my own restaurant just the way I imagine it to be.
Personal success for a Chef is the respect you receive from your staff, from the people you work with and the appreciation from your customers. The dream? To receive a Michelin star, no question about it.
TGC: well Mario, the future is all yours, I will be next to you to watch you, be proud and brag about you as I always have.