International Gastronomy Critic and Ambassador of Greece on the Committee of Cooks without Borders
When you sit with Hristos Gotsis you realize immediately that his endless love of cooking and the purity of his character are his dominant traits. He is vice president of Chefs Club in northern Greece (Read the news about the club on Facebook). He is Greek ambassador in the World Federation of Chefs Committee, and specifically on the no borders committee .He is also an international gastronomy critic.
When talking about his life we learn important things and about things that left their mark on him. This does not mean,however, that he or the Chefs Club of northern Greece are trying to promote themselves, since their goal is making contributions. What is more, the reason we got together with him was the World Conference of Salonika this September where 1000 remarkable worldwide chefs will meet and taste our wonderful Greek cuisine .
Photos: Dora Topalidou(www.brightside.gr)
How did a high school student from Nigrita, Serres become a chef? It started as a “pile-up” at the beginning of his life and consequently because of his DNA his grandfather influenced him. Hristos says, “ I started out as an aide to a waiter, and when I went into the kitchen I never left. I have been in the kitchen for twenty-three years. What is more, the cooking virus is in my DNA, since my grandfather was the village cook. Hristos Gotsis, together with the Chefs Club of northern Greece took part in a “miracle” in Edomeni. He was determined that “Nobody would go hungry and be left without a warm meal.”
He adds, “We came up with the idea long before we put it to practice. In the middle of 2015 we had thought about helping in Edomeni as Chefs Club of northern Greece in a manner we saw fit.That is, we came up with the idea of serving from 2500 to 3000 portions of meals.Then summer came and we could not cover the shifts. It was in October of 2015 that we could do so.Without wanting to become well known, we went to Edomeni and we cooked meals for 5000 people. Nobody went hungry . Until then, everybody had been eating cold meals, sandwiches, biscuits or anything given by local organizations. We felt happy giving the people a hot meal, regardless of their religion or country of origin. That was our goal.We saw such happiness in their eyes. It made an impression on us watching everyone who, despite the hardships, waited in line with both patience and respect. Not one individual pushed to get in front …It was quite and experience!
Since then, we have been cooking meals for these people around their eating habits, which involve lots of vegetables and no pork. We can do this because we have the right people and the right equipment. We can do this because we have the right people and the right equipment. We will continue cooking until the Edomeni camp closes permanently. We had help from MKO and other organizations in Edomeni. Moreover, we were given donations, which we collected,cooked, and gave out to people.
All this requires great organizational skills and human work, since we are dealing with thousands of people. In everything that we do we are guided by the phrase “No one is to go hungry”. This has always been our philosophy. A lot of people say that there are hungry people in Greece as well. We offer meals without advertising and we offer to the unemployed ,the homeless,the refugees, families…”
Hristos Gotsis, besides being and international gastronomy critic with rich experience from contests, represents our country on the World Federation of Chefs Conference without Borders. He explains,”This committee had originally started so that there would no be hungry people in Africa. Subsequently, however, the committee extended to other areas in need. For example, there is a need in Nepal. The local committee then informs of the needs, kitchens are set up and the cooking begins. We collect food and money to do these things. There was even a time when we set up a kitchen in Asia and did the cooking until a whole city was rebuilt.”
In an effort to promote the field of Chefs, Greek cuisine and products in other countries the World Federation of Chefs Conference has been invited to Salonika,or more specifically to Helexpo,on the dates from September 24 to 27. There will be 1000 chefs from 100 countries all over the world who will participate in order to learn about gastronomy, producers and the culture of Greece. It will be the first time such a meeting will take place in the Mediterranean. Important chefs, such as top chefs in the field of catering on airplanes, and owners of the biggest chain of hotels in Dubai are expected to be there…and much more. And obviously, the presence of chefs and l producers of olive oil and other Greek products at the Exhibition has been deemed necessary.