When I opened my first resto in Athens, I had an absurd and also intense fear. What exactly? I thought that I would die during the inauguration day!!!
I was, then, affected by a culinary novel. Myron, the book’s hero, had decided to leave his job (as exactly I had done) and follow his dream, open a restaurant. What a fucking coincidence!!!! But, unfortunately for him, on the inauguration day, Myron had a heart attack and died. Thank God, I didn’t have Myron’s bad luck and I enjoyed my resto for years.
The author of the book is Elias Mamalakis, a Greek cook, tv presenter, actor, journalist, documentary maker and above all a magnificent human being, a sweetie.
Blessed as a communicator, one of the best ever seen, with a very characteristic voice and an unforgettable look, deeply educated and perfect connoisseur of the (difficult) Greek language he was, for more than 2 decades, the most famous culinary person in my country.
He also left his job as a company director when he was 42, initially to write his books and later to present numerous tv shows. His first books, Mageirikon (Culinary) 1 and 2, Mediterranean Gastronomy and Cook or Captain are, in my opinion, his best and even if I don’t practice the Greek cuisine, were some of the ones that have determined my culinary philosophy.
Mamalakis has written more than 15 books, among them one for children and one especially made for the imprisoned addicted people, he also used to cook in prisons, gratis of course. Nevertheless, he considers himself a cook and not a chef, as thousands of ridiculous idiots do. His dishes are simple, popular, but well made and they also have normal names and not hilarious descriptions.
But Mamalaki’s masterpiece is his novel “Do not pay, it’s all on me”, a book that gave me one more reason to become a cook, although the book’s hero, Myron, had such a bad end, as I already mentioned.
I’ ve never met mr Mamalakis in my life, even if I ´ve passed many times by one of his shops at Kifissia and seen that my beloved Greek cook was inside. Actually, there was no need to, as Mr Elias, one of my culinary heroes, can be found so deeply in me.
“Have a nice time Mr. Elias. It was good and it will be good. I will remember you for a long time”