Imagine having a job where one of the prerequisites is a visit to Europe three times a year to sample the gastronomic delights on offer from the different countries of the region.
Well, if you just happen to be CEO of the leading food lifestyle company Mediterranean Delicacies, this hardship would be one of the key aspects on your CV.
This role belongs to Costas Vayanos, a self-confessed chef who likes nothing better than creating a delightful Mediterranean inspired meal for friends and family (unless of course it’s tasting the food delights of the Mediterranean Countries).
“Europe is inspiring from a food perspective – so many cultures and food traditions in a relatively small geographical area. You cross a border from one country to the next, or one region to the next, and the food offering changes,” smiles the Mediterranean Delicacies CEO. “I personally love the Mediterranean countries and the foods they offer, so I tend to travel in that part of Europe most often, both for vacations so I can enjoy good food, and for professional reasons.”
The professional reasons mean looking for new concepts and trends in Europe that can be translated into the South African market via the MediDeli brand.
“We sometimes have to re-engineer products to suit the South African taste, but more often it’s dictated by the raw materials available in South Africa vs in Europe,” explains Vayanos who says that South Africans are well travelled and recognise good international foods, meaning that Mediterranean Delicacies seldom have to change MediDeli creations significantly to suit the South African market.”
With a particular passion for the Southern Mediterranean Countries, Vayanos can be found most often in Spain, Italy, France and Greece.
“Southern Mediterranean food is fresh, it’s outdoor, it’s flavorsome. I love Greek and Middle Eastern food for its simplicity and spicy recipes – a simple meal at a Greek taverna on the Greek islands is hard to beat. No fancy dining needed. Simple décor – but great flavour and variety, using fresh ingredients from the area,” says the food CEO. “And freshly baked bread,” he adds. “There’s nothing better than village baked bread.”
And as for his particular favourite places, Vayanos says: “My most memorable experience gets repeated every time I visit Greece – a visit to a Greek Taverna for pita bread, souvlaki, chips, Greek salad (tomato, cucumber and feta) and fresh xorta (or boiled greens) served with olive oil and lemon. A very simple meal enjoyed with family and friends – never disappoints! “
Spain on the other hand offers great seafood and tapas – my favorites for casual eating options. Then it’s on to Italy – pasta, pizza. Need I say more?”