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Touch of spice > building an appetite for a great cause February 29, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Greece, Greek Taste Local.
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29-02-08_gb.jpg  Restaurant with a view. The Grand Balcon at the St Georges Lycabettus hotel in Kolonaki, Athens.

Nothing like building an appetite for a good cause. Charity and gastronomy meet at the table next month, as “Food for Life” a culinary event at the Grand Balcon restaurant of the St George Lycabettus hotel, opens its doors on Thursday, March 6.

Taking place on Thursdays next month, the event brings a group of prominent, British and Britain-based food masters to Greece. At the Grand Balcon, guest chefs Atul Kocchar (March 6), Anthony Demetre (March 13) and Martin Wishart (March 20) will be preparing signature dishes for their Athenian diners.

Proceeds from all three exceptional dinners currently being organized will benefit charity organization “The Child’s Smile” for the construction of a new ward at Paidon, the children’s hospital in Athens. The ward is destined for the treatment of teenage cancer patients.

Britain’s culinary craftsmen have come a long way – steak and kidney pie aside. From the simplicity and nature-friendly take of the Naked Chef, aka Jamie Oliver, to the likes of haute cuisiniers Marco Pierre White and Gordon Ramsey, among many more, the art of cooking has fast become a booming business, a vast playground for big and small egos in state-of-the-art kitchens and a fountain of international culinary expertise.

Executive chef and director of the Benares restaurant in London’s upmarket Mayfair, Atul Kocchar became the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin star. Born in Jamshedpur in Eastern India, Kocchar began his career at the Oberoi group of hotels in India, before moving to London to open the Tamarind restaurant in 1994. Though based in Britain, Kocchar travels frequently to his homeland, researching ingredients and recipes. In Athens, Kocchar will present an evening of Indian colors and flavors, essentially a culinary marriage between traditional and more contemporary Indian dishes.

Chef and co-owner of Arbutus in London’s Soho, Anthony Demetre is also behind the hugely successful Wild Honey restaurant in Mayfair. Arbutus has been hailed as down-to-earth with value for money prices, voted Best New Restaurant by Time Out in 2006. Known for its British and Mediterranean flair, the restaurant’s top scores go to dishes such as braised pig’s head with mashed potatoes and caramelized onions.

Meanwhile Wild Honey earned a Michelin star only a few months after its inauguration and accolades such as “The kind of place that New York or Paris would kill to have. You can’t eat better that this,” according to Giles Coren of The Sunday Times.

While chef Demetre will be working on the food side, Ranald McDonald, director of London’s celebrated Boisdale restaurant and jazz bar will present diners with an exclusive selection of whiskies and Cuban cigars.

“Scotland’s next big thing, no question,” is how uber chef Ramsay talks about chef Martin Wishart. The Restaurant Martin Wishart situated in Edinburgh’s port of Leith, is a Michelin star awarded establishment for heavy-duty fine dining. At the table, the chef’s native Scotland meets gastronomic queen France, resulting in a contemporary Scottish take with a French twist.

St George Lycabettus Hotel, 2 Kleomenous, Kolonaki, Athens. For table reservations contact Joanna Evangellou at 210 7234435 and 210 7290711. Price per person set at 125 euros, including wine. For those wishing to participate in all three evenings, the price is 115 euros per dinner. All three evenings begin at 7.30 p.m. with cocktails and canapes. Dinner will follow at 8.30 p.m.

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