Powell River chef profile: Telis Savvaidis

Restaurant you currently are working at:

Snickers

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How long have you been in the restaurant industry?

Since I was eight years old.

Why did you decide to become a chef?

I wanted to move back to my community, I was on the island, owned a clothing store and did a TV sports talk show and the opportunity arose to move back to Powell River; it’s the most beautiful place in the world. I moved back when I was 23 years old and opened Snickers Restaurant. Why the name? It was my favourite candy bar.

What has been your biggest influence?

I’d have to say the culinary tastes of Greece and the Mediterranean.

Describe your style of cooking:

Scratch. The majority of things we do is from scratch and originates from Mediterranean influence, French chefs and healthy food. Food that is good for the soul. The good thing about Mediterranean cooking is there’s not a lot of ingredients that go into it, but it’s the flavour that you get.

Favourite item on your current menu:

Anything Greek. Moussaka, growing up, that was my favourite dish that my mother used to make.

What is your signature dish?

Chicken Marsala, it’s something that I learned when I was really young. The flavours really pop and I like a lot of things that are creamy and bad for you.

Favourite meal to prepare at home:

Brihiam, it’s a slow-baked veg casserole, but the flavours are amazing with the tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini; everything starts to caramelize and makes the house smell amazing.

What’s your favourite food memory?

Christmas dinners. There’s only four of us in Canada and it’s a time that our family all gets together and we sit around the table for hours to talk and laugh.

Are there any foods you don’t like to eat?

Okra. I find it hairy; I’ve never been a fan of it at all.

Childhood comfort food:

Red chicken and rice. Mom used to make it on Sundays.

Favourite kitchen equipment or gadget:

My dough machine. I love the smell, texture and feel. I love making it every day and getting it ready for pizza. It would be hard to make the volume of dough we do in a day by hand.

Aside from your restaurant, what is your favourite place to eat in Powell River, and what do you usually order?

Iguanas, chicken chimichanga.

If you could cook for anyone, who would it be?

It’s hard to pick someone, but I’d say the Beastie Boys. I’d love to cook for them and listen to their stories.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to become a chef?

The only advice I truly have is to make sure that you love it 110 per cent; there’s trials and tribulations and it’s easy to get frustrated, and get discouraged, but stick to what you love. You have to have a real passion for food and flavour. A lot of times being a chef is a thankless job because you don’t get to talk to each and every customer about their meal, but you get to create art each time, and that’s the wonderful part of it.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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