Sifnos Nikos Tselementes

The chef Nikos Tselementes from Sifnos: Sifnos plays homeland to the very famous Greek chef, Nikos Tselementes. He was born in Exabela Sifnos, in 1878 and was highly educated and a master of the art of cooking. In fact, he was the most influential Greek chefs of his time. Nikos trained in Europe and worked in some of the world's finest hotels. He wrote a 500-page cookery book, Odigos Mageirikis (Cooking Guide) in 1910 that sold about 100,000 copies by the time he died in the year 1958.

It is till date the cooking bible of every Greek housewife. He is most well known for his knowledge of authentic Greek cooking. But his book has not only taught generations of Greek folks, traditional cooking but also helped them learn a fair deal of hybrid dishes, combining the best of Greek cuisine with that of Western European cuisine.

A lot of his dishes had a distinctly French touch to them especially the sauces and their methods of preparation. He preferred butter to olive oil and more elaborate sauces to bare dishes and paid special attention to the presentation which is quite contradictory to traditional Greek cooking which is simpler in nature.

He is well known for transforming two of the most famous Greek dishes, moussaka usually made with eggplant and ground meat and pastitsio which is essentially pasta and ground meat. People saw a certain kind of sophistication in his recipes.

Many chefs tried to imitate his techniques in an attempt to attract an international audience. While for some, he is almost a God-like figure, the ultimate authority as far as Greek food is concerned and the epitome of all that tastes good, others hold him responsible for diluting and corrupting traditional Greek cooking and creating a class-based system where his French-influenced creations were for the affluent classes and traditional simple Greek cooking was more for the lower class. Either which way, few do not recognize this name that has today become synonymous with Greek food.