Chistina Mouratoglou is currently Greece’s culinary ambassador in the UK with “Mazi”, the popular and distinctive restaurant in Notting Hill, London. Now, the Thessaloniki woman and her husband and co-owner Adrien Carré have published the book Mazi: Modern Greek Food.
Mazi is not just a Greek restaurant serving the standard fare one would find in all places where Diaspora Greeks live, whether it is Astoria in New York, or Melbourne, Australia.
Shortly after opening in May 2012, Mazi was featured in the Wall Street Journal and Time Out, but also made it in top guides like Michelin Guide 2013. In 2012, BBC’s magazine, Olive elected the 29-year-old Christina as the woman of the month for November.
A restless spirit, the young woman is very passionate about what she does. After the success of Mazi, she and her life partner co-wrote the book that has Mazi’s most popular dishes, but also includes a few of Mouratoglou’s beloved family recipes.
Speaking to The Independent about it, Mouratoglou described her upbringing and her true passion for quality Greek food. “I grew up in a family where when we would have lunch, we’d be discussing what we would have for lunch the next day. Our life revolved around food. They all are true foodies. They would go miles to pick up the right ingredients,” she said.
Mouratoglou does not see Mazi as a restaurant only. Along with Carré, she works seven days a week and takes no holidays. But it is not only for business reasons. “What keeps me going is the love for what I do. It’s my pleasure to go to work and serve our customers.”
Along with great food, Mazi offers a great experience. As she told The Independent, “One of our regular customers is a local, famous British film director and he told me once that what we do here is like a theatrical show. Whenever it’s 6pm, we dim the lights, light the candles and open the doors.”
The feeling is intoxicating she said: “You become a little bit of a rock star. You learn to crave the applause, you want to hear, ‘Oh my gosh, this is delicious’.”
Despite the fact that she incorporates other elements in her dishes, Mouratoglou insists that, “We don’t want you to taste it and say it doesn’t taste Greek.”
For instance, one of the most popular dishes served at her restaurant is feta tempura with lemon marmalade and caper meringue. This is definitely Greek, as all ingredients spell Greece, but the dish has a modern twist to it that makes it special.
Now that the book is published and the restaurant enjoys six years of acclaim, Mouratoglou and Carré are planning on opening a new restaurant, next autumn.
It will serve Greek cuisine, of course, but with a new twist, she said. After all, passion never fades away.