Stefanos makes food. Together with Marijke they run a small Greek restaurant in Amsterdam. Here they cook meals for people. In summer they’re in Greece. There they cook for themselves.
I never realised how important hearing is in the kitchen. According to Stefanos all senses are important here, not just seeing, smelling and tasting. When Marijke calls an order from the shop, Stefanos hears it and reacts. When I distracted him for this project he jumped up the second he heard the hissing sound of something burning.
Of all the tools Stefanos uses his knifes should be considered the extension of his hands. He cuts vegetables with an incredible speed, without looking, while looking at me. I guess that’s how it’s done when you’ve been cutting vegetables every day of your life.
Apart from smell and taste you also need your eyes to judge the quality and doneness of food. Of all the senses Stefanos talked the least about his eyes. Maybe they’re too obvious to talk about?
Stefanos is on his feet all day. While he prefers to sit. Ideally he would like to employ some staff to do all the work for him. So he can sit down and enjoy a glass of ouzo. But alas, they need that money for other things, like supporting family in Greece and paying the bills.
Apart from cooking Stefanos does a bit of programming as well. He’s the one who, years ago, explained the whole idea behind open source software to me by sharing his receipes with me. The idea was that I would try them out, change them, maybe even improve them, and then share my findings back to him. That never really happened though. I’m a bit of a lazy cook.
Stefanos uses his head for tasting, for smelling, for listening, for seeing and for thinking. All necessary in a professional kitchen. While at work he uses these senses to create a continuous quality for his clients. When on holiday in Greece he uses these senses to cook delicious seasonal meals that he wants to eat.
This is the shop, Romios. Stefanos never works here up front, he doesn’t have the patience for people. He works in the back, in the kitchen.
The reason why Stefanos makes pita with gyros is not so much that he loves the art of making it. It’s simply because he needs to pay his bills. When he’s in Greece during the extended summer holidays he cooks for joy. It’s a different kind of cooking. In Greece you eat with the seasons. Most of us, who’ve visited Greece during our summer holidays, would probably not recognise the Greek winter kitchen. It may come as a shock, but there’s no moussaka in winter.
Like any professional kitchen, Stefanos’ kitchen is filled with all kinds of tools. Like these pans. But there’s also an old laptop in there for streaming Greek radio and for talking with family in Greece.