Caecilia Sophia Stamatis
So, today we are super happy that we have with us Caecilia Sophia Stamatis.
She is a talented young chef, full of passion and dreams!
Let’s see what we discussed! Enjoy 😊
How would you describe yourself?
Hi! I’m Caecilia-Sophia Stamatis; my friends call me Cece or Chichi, 29 years old, half Greek, half danish, grew up at Amager, Denmark, and now a chef at Kadeau Cph.
I’m tiny, perfectionistic, and I guess dramatic in my own way; I blame my Greek genes - drama country number 1 (with that said, I need to point out my family lives in a small village in the countryside), caring, hardworking. Normally I leave other people to put in a word for me. It makes me uncomfortable describing myself in both a few and a lot of sentences. Also, I’ve never really needed to. And if I had to, I’ve never been satisfied with the result of what I’ve written. It sounds stupid. I’m more of a show-up-and-show-what-im-capable-of kind of type. And I’ve been lucky enough to poke the right people at the right time for both them and for me to be where I am today.
How do you feel about your Greek identity, and how is it reflected growing up in Denmark?
I’ve felt torn about having two identities when I was younger. I don’t anymore. I know who I am.
I always felt like I belonged both places because even though I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, spoke only danish fluently, had danish friends, and looked Scandinavian, I still grew up in a house with both a Dane, a Greek, and another half/half like me, my big brother. My father and his side of the family called me by my Greek name and spoke to me in Greek, and my mother and her side my danish name and in danish. That is still the case today. I react to both names but from different people. I don’t think I would turn my head around if my mother called out Sophia.
I was lucky enough to go on vacations every year for months in Greece. Summertime mostly, but also autumn, winter, and Easter.
As I grew older and became more independent, I travelled to Greece by myself, stayed for months, made friends and connections, and really started feeling like I belonged. And with that came the confusion of wanting to be both places at the same time. It didn’t seem fair that I couldn’t. I wouldn't say I liked it. Sounds spoiled. It was my feelings.
Now I’m old enough to be thankful I have two homes and finally, understand that doesn’t mean I have to have two identities. Today I live and work in Copenhagen close to my parents, have my big brother across the world in Melbourne, half my wardrobe in Ancient Corinth and my boyfriend in Athens. I’m ok with having everything I love to spread out globally, even though it is hard sometimes.
What images and memories pushed you to become a professional chef?
I started working at the age of 12. I delivered newspapers; I cleaned gum of carpets at toy stores; I did assistant jobs, cleaning jobs, caretaking jobs, babysitting. I never knew I would start and finish chef school.
My parents had me and my brother helping with dinner and stuff in the kitchen since I kids. I never thought it would be something I wanted to spend my life doing.
I spend most of my time painting, drawing making sculptures. I knew I wanted to do something creative in the future but went and finished high school like everybody else in my circle. To have something to fall back on. And because everybody else did it.
After that, I knew I had to try out something more creative, so I spent some time working and going to graphic design school and art school. I realised painting every day wasn’t my dream, so I just continued working.
The job that pushed me towards getting an education in the culinary world was a job that just happened to pop up. It was a kinder garden chef job. I had to cook for 36 children and 10 adults. The children were actually babies. From 9 months old to 3 years old maximum. Some with allergies or intolerances, some with religious backgrounds, some with parents who wanted to raise them as vegetarians. I had no experience, but I got the job. I was bad at it at first. Made flat buns and salty food. I struggled to make the portions right and deliver at the right time. It was hard because I knew it was a huge responsibility to feed these little kids the right food every day, week after week.
I got sent away to take courses for a few weeks. I got better. I got good. I suddenly understood making a different but always fitting menu every week, economics and so on, and I stayed there for 4 comfortable years. It took me that amount of time to feel the need to learn more, want to have somebody to teach me all the stuff I couldn’t figure out myself, pushes me and inspire me, and so on, I started school.
Is your job a means of personal expression, and how?
It is. I get to show creativity every day. I’ve always wanted to fill out my every day with creativity. Even though my job is hard, and I struggle sometimes, it makes me happy in the end.
What is it that you really enjoy about working as a chef? What are your expectations for your future in the industry?
The most important for me right now is that I’m working with an amazing team; they are family. We’ve spent a lot of hours together at work but also days off, we know each other, we’ve seen each other at the most stressed at the calmest, at the happiest, at the saddest.
With these people, I get to aim for perfection on a high level. I get to come up with ideas, try them out, do testing on my own, win and fail, get to teach, talk to guests, learn and work on what I’m capable of in the kitchen but also my social skills. This is what keeps me going.
My expectation for the future of the industry is to keep seeing the industry evolve on all levels. To keep seeing people fight and work hard no matter what challenges come our way.
Thank you, Sophia. ❤️