Taking Greek food to Malaysia
Greek Australian chef George Diakomichalis treats Malaysian diners to a Greek feast
Greek Australian chef George Diakomichalis gave Malaysia an exquisite taste of Greek food, with a banquet at The Prince Hotel and Residence in Kuala Lumpur last month.
The fourth generation pastry chef, better known as the face and manager of Kalymnos Pastries in Adelaide, was invited to the hotel to provide the diners with an introduction to a traditional Greek feast.
An accidental meeting with the executive chef of The Prince Hotel, when George was travelling Malaysia last year, saw him being invited back this year to feed the patrons and foodies in Kuala Lumpur.
"I spoke to the chef about the Greek food we were creating back home and he was amazed with all the stuff, so he invited me to create a Greek Banquet at the hotel," George told Neos Kosmos.
Along with two assistants, the chef took over the hotel's kitchen for ten days and recreated a little bit of Greece in the heart of Malaysia.
"I basically ran the hotel like it was a Greek restaurant for that period. It was set up with Greek flags, ice sculptures, it went really, really well."
The feedback George received - as did the executive chef of the hotel - was all very positive, and George puts it down to the slight similarities of the cuisines.
"Malaysians cook with a lot of cloves and cinnamon as do Greeks but their food is more heavily spiced than ours," explains George.
The Greek team cooked 78 different dishes including savoury and desserts, with the only restriction being that they couldn't cook with pork or alcohol. They made stifado, moussaka, yemista, stuffed squid and briami. But it was the desserts that had the guests and foodies gobsmacked. Given that George's background is in desserts, and he creates them using traditional cooking techniques and methods, this desserts left a lasting impression on all the diners - so much so he has been invited to do it all again next year. People feasted on loukoumathes, baklava and syrup-laden galaktobouriko.
"I had old ladies asking me for recipes to recreate the food," he says, "we would sit there and talk and swap food stories and for me, that's the ultimate compliment."
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