Chrysa Lioni

Chrysa Lioni

Tell us about yourself.
It has never been so easy for me to talk about myself. But I like to talk about my work and food; I always feel excited! I can finally talk about myself this way. (probably)
Well, I come from a village in Evia, but I grew up in Athens.
specifically in the legendary Patisia (at school, we called it Patissia city, too hard to die)
I love my neighbourhood, although a hardcore area to grow up in as a child. It was (is) multicultural, with strong smells, diversity. Exciting for these ages, with lots of subconscious lessons.
After school, I studied to be an accountant, but I did not like it very much. I did not like the idea of working behind an office, even though accounting was respectful.
However, I had decided early on that I would be involved in the culinary industry, so I also went to cooking school. And that’s how cooking came into my life.
Spectacular, imposing and very demanding.
Probably that’s why I got stuck, as it caught my attention and intrigued me.

What was your experience in Denmark?
How did it affect how you approach food here in Greece?

My experience in Denmark will always be unique because it made me more confident about my next steps!
I was exposed to a different mentality and a working culture beyond my expectations.
I tried flavours and ingredients that I never had the chance to do again (like ants).
But the most important thing was that I worked in an environment that I thought was ideal in my mind. Teamwork, organisation, cleanliness, respect, simplicity, recognition were elements of the working culture there.
I was at Kadeau, a restaurant with two Michelin stars. Its philosophy is based on local products and their proper management.
I met wonderful people there!
I have always had a passion and love for Greek cuisine.
After this experience, it became even more significant.
I realised even more how rich and full of possibilities it is.
It is essential for us, the people who promote it, to highlight its products, scents, and people.

You have such profound respect for Greek culinary traditions.
How did that start?
How do you see greek food and hospitality generally evolving?

The importance of the Greek grandmother in the Greek family is well known.
It is never enough whatever you eat, in her opinion, and it is so easy for her to cook something fast. Always delicious.
So is my grandmother. Her name is Chrysi with golden hands.
I have her name, and I wish I had her perfect skills too.
She taught me the meaning of hospitality, sharing through food the love and care.
She showed me how to create with simple materials and movements.
But most of all, she raised me.
Simplicity is a virtue that Greek cuisine hides inside.
You can just eat bread and olive oil and taste something unique!
In my opinion, nothing else is needed to be an evolution and a future!
The culinary industry is an integral part of our country; let’s focus on it with respect because it has a lot to give on the map of gastronomy.

What’s one thing you love cooking/baking the most, and why?

I have been eating sourdough bread and pies in a wood oven since I can remember.
I love anything it has to do with dough or any recipe that cooked in the wood oven.
I love pies, bread, cheese, legumes, vegetables, the smell of a just-picked tomato.
If you ask me what you desire, I would tell you boiled greens with lemon oil or chickpeas, and of course, bread and feta cheese.
I like everything that cooked in a pot with five ingredients.
Not dull, just, it’s a challenge to get a taste of simple things.
Especially during the process of making sourdough, I learn so many things.
To show patience, perseverance and respect.
That’s why.

Do you remember what happened that made you realise that you want to be a food industry professional?
Did it give you ideas of what kinds of changes need to happen in the industry?

I think that everything was part of a bigger plan; actually, I like this idea.
I remember when I was in high school, I made breakfast for my friends on Sunday.
My first job was in an oven.
My grandmother.
My mother’s stuffed vegetables are not comparable. The phrase “can I make you something to eat”.
I first cooked when I was 7–8 years old spaghetti with tomato sauce.
Also, we had the “thermomix” at home, and I made homemade mayonnaise with french fries.

I have learned life lessons from my relationship with food and how I eat.
I have been in the industry for over ten years now.
Being in a male-dominated sector (and society), women professionals face many struggles. The new situation we live in with the pandemic has shown us the essence of things. Quality of life is a component of many factors, and we must invest in it in our relationship with ourselves and people.
Ultimately, we must change our attitude. And in 2021, change our society’s expectations for women.
With love, Chrysa or Goldy!




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