Coming for the island of Rhodes and with a great experience, although very young, Michalis Chatzikalimeris talks about why he loves pastry making and what are the flavors that excite his palate. Read all about the pastry chef of Petra and Elements Restaurant.
1. How did you start pastry making and how did you end up in Canaves Oia Luxury Resorts?
I come from Rhodes where I started studying pastry making. I consider myself very lucky as at a young age I joined great companies and successful restaurants in Greece and internationally. I first came at Canaves Oia Luxury Resorts in 2018, a company that invests in gastronomy, which is great for us.
2. How did you decided to be a pastry chef? What excites you about pastry making?
It was very coincidental that I started with pasty making and then I realized that is what I want to do! I love creating things and of course making people happy. I personally love discovering new flavors.
3. Where do you draw inspiration from?
I try to combine my experience from the past years and always strive to create something special that will amaze the guest and I would feel happy with.
4. How do you collaborate with the chefs? Is it possible for a bad dessert to destroy a dining experience?
It’s true that a dessert can either highlight or ruin a dining experience. So it’s very important to work closely with the chef for a final great result.
5. Can you suggest a traditional Greek dessert to a traveller? What are your favorite combinations?
I love traditional Greek desserts. Especially when it comes to a freshly baked galaktompoureko with a velvet cream from orange, anise and lemon. It’s undoubtedly the best Greek dessert and I would highly recommend it to someone visiting Greece. In terms of combinations, I love mastiha, anise, cinnamon, almonds, for example the Greek halva along with Greek coffee. At Petra Restaurant, the menu is focused on all these flavors.
6. If one should try only one of your desserts, what would be?
I would suggest trying the rice pudding “rizogalo”. We tried to draw inspiration from the original recipe but offer a new version full of Greek aromas like anise, cinnamon and fresh milk. A very interesting dessert with an airy cream with rice, a marmalade of sour cherries, almond, milk ice cream covered with a peel of cinnamon, accompanied with a burnt milk skin chip, an anise salted caramel and goat milk jelly.
7. Is there a secret you would like to share with us?
I don’t keep secrets, especially in pastry making. I love to share my knowledge with others, as other people did with me. One thing I can tell you is that I can’t resist to ice cream.
8. Which pastry chefs do you admire the most?
In Greece, I would say Stelios Parliaros (he gave me the motive to start), Nikolaos Strangas, Thanasis Tsagliotis and George Platinos, who is the most devoted pastry chef I know. Stelios Parliaros made all Greeks love pastry making and showed us that it is a very romantic profession and a big love affair. Nikolas Strangas shared his way of thinking and how to combine aromas and textures. Because he was away from Greece for so many years, he has a different perspective. Thanasis Tsagliotis he was with me at the very beginning as a student and later on and he was the reason I worked out of Greece. There are so many great pastry chefs internationally but it would take ages to talk about them.