Meet the Chef – Owner and Chef Vassilis of Taverna Opa
To be a good cook, you have to have a love for the good, a love of hard work and a love of creating.
– Julia Child
The kitchen is the heart of the home (or restaurant) and the talented chefs at The Pointe bring boundless culinary experience and passion to every dish they serve. From fresh seafood steaks to elevated tavern fare and pub classics, there is a taste for every palate at The Pointe.
This month’s culinary spotlight brings a touch of the Mediterranean to Orlando. Taverna Opa is known for an abundant selection of fresh seafood delivered daily as well as Lamb Chops, the restaurant’s best seller. Signature selections such as Tzatziki, Hummus, Greek Yogurt and Dolmades are made daily on premises and from scratch.
Let’s meet Owner and Chef Vassilis of Taverna Opa.
Tell us about your culinary background.
I grew up in the kitchen cooking with my mom and aunt for all the family gatherings. The aromas from the kitchen would fill the entire house and stick to my clothes all day. I always enjoyed playing with flavors and techniques taught by my family.
What does your inspiration come from?
Our family’s travels inspire me the most. We travel back to Greece yearly to visit family and to see what is trending in the market. Greece has really elevated its culinary scene in the past decade, which is extremely exciting. It challenges me to level up our dining experience!
If you must select one, what’s your favorite dish on the menu?
Our Lamb Chops, for sure! It’s our signature item— it’s full of flavor. We marinate them in herbs and garlic for 36 hours, so you can imagine how good they are once we cook them on our wood-fire grill and serve them with lemon potatoes and vegetables.
How do you incorporate seasonal offerings or flavors into your menu?
We feature some seasonal items throughout the year. Sometimes they are inspired by the actual season or Greek holidays. For example, we take our dessert called Galaktoboureko, which is phyllo dough filled with custard, and pair it with fall flavors like pumpkin.
Any “pro tips” to share for loyal guests such as a special sauce or preparation style to order?
Our Ladolemono, a house-made sauce made with lemon juice and Greek extra virgin olive oil, is a sauce we use to flavor our dishes. Some guests want us to bottle it up for them to take home. It’s definitely a must at home for your lemon potatoes, chicken, and rice. I put it on everything!