George Mavrothalassitis

Jo McGarry
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Friday - September 22, 2006 Share | | podcast Podcast |

George Mavrothalassitis
George Mavrothalassitis

George Mavrothalassitis is chef/proprietor of Chef Mavro restaurant in Honolulu and one of the founders of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. In 2003 he won the prestigious James Beard Foundation award as the Best Chef in Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest. He was born in Marseilles, the capital of Provence, and grew up around fishermen and farmers and the exquisite bounty of fresh food, famous in the south of France. Not surprisingly, he is passionate about fish and can often be found in the early morning at Oahu’s fish auction, looking for the best catch of the day to serve at his award-winning restaurant.

Where did you grow up and go to school?

Marseilles on the Mediterranean Sea in southern France.

Earliest food memory?

Baby squid sautéed in squid ink, I was about 5 and I can still taste it.

What brought you to Hawaii?

I came to work at The Halekulani in 1988 and from that moment I felt that I had come home.

Culinary mentors?

Gerard Vie, chef at Les Trois Marches in Versailles. He is without doubt the most creative and talented cook I have ever worked with. As well as his culinary skills, he always knew how important a sense of humor is in the kitchen.

You’ve certainly had your share of food writers, gourmands and famous people visit your restaurants. With whom would you most like to have dinner at Chef Mavro?

My son Michel - he is a journalist in France and a gourmand with no mercy for his father, but I still love to cook for him. Beside him, Evangeline Lilly (star of TV’s Lost).

What’s always in your fridge?

White wines and cheeses - most of the cheeses I like don’t pair with red wine.

Do you cook at home?

Yes, almost every night after closing the restaurant. I cook, and my wife Donna shops and cleans up!

Favorite dish on your menu right now?

Marbled Tako.

Favorite movie?

The Piano.

Where do you like to eat when you’re not working?

Izakaya Nonbei (a small izakaya restaurant on Kapahulu Avenue).

Best dishes there?

Yamitsuki (natto, ahi salad with nori).

How do you describe Chef Mavro to people who’ve never been?

Contemporary regional cuisine with a touch of French craziness and perfect wine pairings.

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