A Greek Chef in Belgium has been recognized as one of the top young chefs of the year, according to the prestigious “Gault & Millau” awards.
George Athanasopoulos, who owns the restaurant “Màloma” in the Schaerbeek region of Brussels, said he loves collaborating directly with local producers to create his delicious dishes.
“I ask them what they have to offer. It’s not me imposing what I need or a method of production; it’s truly a discussion between us,” explained George Athanasopoulos.
The name “Màloma” derives from the term “malolactic” in ancient Greek, referring to a fermentation process used for certain types of red wine to enhance and sweeten them. The menu at the restaurant changes monthly, adapting to the availability of seasonal products.
Reflecting on the challenges posed by the pandemic, Athanasopoulos stated in 2021, “Experiencing the second lockdown, we had to be inventive and find ways to retain our clientele while maintaining quality in our kitchen, aspiring to be a gastronomic restaurant. Therefore, we created a menu that is easy to transport yet elaborate in presentation and flavors. The acceptance from our customers and their positive comments brought us to be one of the best restaurants for take-away. Our ambition remains greater beyond the coronavirus.”
The award-winning chef did not neglect to sing the praises of Greece, his ancestral home, saying, “Although I was born and raised in Brussels, my love for Greece is a given, as is the need to showcase the treasures of the Greek land through my cuisine. I use high-quality Greek products such as olive oil, olives, Kozani saffron, oregano, Chios mastic, mountain tea, sheep yogurt, and some wines.”
This recognition not only highlights Athanasopoulos’s culinary talent but also underscores the global influence of Greek flavors and products in the international culinary scene.