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Book Reviews

Here you will find some of the reviews written about The Loving Chef.

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Arts and the City Book Review

An amazing book! These are the proper words to describe it. From the very moment I picked it up I had the sense that this was not just another ordinary book but had so much more to offer. I was not wrong. It proved to be much more than I expected and made me want to finish it in one day. This makes it one of the best books I have ever read. 


This is the story of an artist from Thessaloniki, who loves haute cuisine and its secrets, and who decides to use his talent to pursue love. He learns to decode the personality of each woman he meets and connects it to the menu that will win her heart. The result is an amazing combination of sensuality and culinary art, creating a ‘delicious’, and at the same time incredibly addictive book, a page-turner.  The characters are well-developed, unique, and very realistic, convincing the reader that these are people you can meet in your everyday life. 


The two authors manage to combine the art of literature and the art of cooking – skills that each one possesses – proving that two elements seemingly contradictory can be successful in producing a very elaborate and beautiful result; this shows us once more that if you love what you are doing and dare to be different, you will always be successful. 


A book dedicated to the art of love and cooking, for those who dare to claim the love of life, but also those who want to rekindle the flames of a passion that has been long gone. Is it too late? 




Maria Andrikopoulou 


Lifo - Review by Christos Paridis

The city of Thessaloniki in the seventies, but also the later era of an increasingly extravagant quality of life, Olympou Street and the Oil Merchants district, Mitropoleos and Aristotelous Street, the generation that grew up after the junta, the once grey-looking mundane lifestyle that turned to the fabulous stories of success and wealth, a youth plagued with a guilty sexuality as well as the liberated, decadent one that followed, a historic and complacent Thessaloniki, all these are present in this novel consisting of interconnected stories.

The central hero is a young entrepreneur, very successful in the field of haute cuisine, with artistic interests among his other skills, who has found the way to seduce the women he desires, thanks to his great instinct and his talent for serving the right – always magnificent – meal, appropriate to the temperament of each woman. A well-written book that provides at the end of each chapter the unique and marvellous recipes the hero uses for each of his conquests.

Christos Paridis

Citrus Fruits

Bostanistas - Book Review

When I was a child, I despised receiving a book as a present. From the wrapping I could tell right away if the package contained something interesting (a toy) or it was just another book gifted by an unimaginative adult. But this attitude quickly changed. Now – with edible delicacies first on my list – I consider books as the perfect Christmas present, the most wonderful way to combat stress. Especially if the book is related in some way to food!  

Recently, Kiki Triantafylli gave me The Loving Chef, a book written by Dora Valkanou and Panagiotis Koukouvitis, published by Kedros. It is a novel consisting of interrelated stories, equal in number to the women seduced by the main hero. ‘This chicken soup can only be created for a woman you care for…’ That is how the first chapter begins. The narrative progresses in a similar vein to the end, with stories of conquest following a menu suitable to each woman’s temperament. The dishes are not too complicated, but are divine as far as taste, from aphrodisiac chicken soup and apricot ice-cream to veal with chocolate sauce. The main hero of the book, a culinary artist and painter who likes to experiment, has found the key to the heart of the women he wants to seduce.

A delightful book which is also practical: at the end of each chapter the reader will find the marvellous recipes that contributed to each conquest.

One of the juiciest stories is that of the hero’s best friend, Babis the hunter, and his sudden love for Stella. ‘She was nothing special, just a ragamuffin. Skinny like a tomboy, with brownish shoulder-length hair, largely unkempt, glasses with a round metal frame, resembling the glasses Venizelos used to wear at the turn of the previous century, denim trousers torn here and there, trainers that had seen better days and a T-shirt with greasy food stains. She could not have been taller than five foot something.’ That is the exact description of the girl. The problem is that Babis is dying with unrequited love and the only thing that can save him is a seduction menu: Pizza with portobello mushrooms, naked pie with broccoli, cheddar, feta and katiki cheese, a fondue with tomato and a variety of cheeses, and for dessert baked apples. Food delicious in its simplicity. The ragamuffin comes to know of ecstasy over the perfectly laid table and ends up married happily to Babis.

An erotic cookbook? Possibly. I do not know the exact term, but this is certainly inspirational and confirms the old saying: love goes through the stomach.

Look for the book, for yourselves - or as a lovely, slightly naughty, gift. Unattached men and women will doubly appreciate it.

Dimitris Boutos

Review by Constantinos Bouras

One of the most interesting and innovative books among recent publications. Dora Valkanou, a College lecturer and accomplished poet (mostly in the United States, though not yet in our modest provinces) has collaborated with Panagiotis Koukouvitis, an artist, as well as a specialist in the culinary art, and weave together a delightful novel, in which a chef is inspired new delicacies by his lovers and in turn provokes incurable, passionate desires. The novel, possibly influenced to some extent by Patrick Süskind’s Perfume, though without its darkness, is an ode to life and its pleasures, matching the so-called ‘lower’ with the ‘higher’ ones, as well as the art of fiction with the art of cooking.

As the author of the academic, but also practical work, Ancient Banquet (Armonia – Tegopoulos Lexika), I am particularly sensitive to anything that deviates from the ‘Canon’ of serious (or rather I should say pompous) literature. I adore the trailblazing Mediterranean people who do not aspire to an artificial paradise, nor to a threatening hell. Instead – as true descendants of the ancient Epicureans -  they strive to transform their life and that of others to something more than simply tolerable. The art of Living is more important than the ‘literature’ of the deprived, wretched, miserable people, who struggle with the monster within only to be defeated.

The joy of life, sprinkled with a little icing sugar, and a carefully constructed romantic idealism, carries the breath of humanism that we need so much today in our harsh reality. We have been flooded with suicidal psychopaths and schizophrenic murderers brandishing a pen (or a tablet, a keyboard, or a touch-screen cell phone). A little happiness never hurt anyone! Not everything is so dark and pessimistic. Enough is enough! It is true that we are experiencing a deep cultural crisis. Yes, we are sailing through the Cyanean Rocks. And the Sirens may be singing to us of our doomsday. But, like Odysseus, let us tie ourselves to the mast of tolerance and strive for what is brightest in our human soul.  

I read this book with its entertaining erotic-culinary escapades of the hero who goes through women and delicacies as if there were no tomorrow, but with the respect, the languor and the art of the Olympian Gods, who – since they are immortal – allow themselves the deviations of the Flesh.


Constantinos Bouras, poet, writer, critic

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