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The Loving Chef is my first novel, co-authored with the chef and connoisseur of slow food, Panagiotis Koukouvitis. It was published in Athens, in 2014, by Kedros Publishers, one of the most prestigious publishers in Greece. I am currently translating the novel into English.


Synopsis: Nicholas is a young artist who lives in Thessaloniki, the most erotic city of northern Greece. One day he stumbles upon a peculiar little shop owned by an old man selling delicacies and rare food ingredients. Nicholas soon learns the secrets of gourmet cooking and aphrodisiac recipes and embarks on a life dedicated to exquisite culinary experiences and superb lovemaking. Nicholas creates the perfect menu for each woman he wants to seduce, knowing that the personality of each woman will determine the kind of food she finds thrilling. All the recipes are original and are included in the book.

Here you will find some excerpts from the ten stories included in the book, plus one unique recipe: Byzantine hot-pot!

Meet my co-author

Panagiotis Koukouvitis

Panagiotis Koukouvitis was born in 1956 in Thessaloniki. He is a specialist in gourmet ingredients for haute cuisine. A founding member and president of the Greek Gastronomy Club, he was also the Vice-President of the Greek Slow Food for a number of years. He has written extensively on gastronomy for specialist magazines and reviews, and has organized seminars for the Club of Chefs of Northern Greece and for schools of culinary art.


Apart from his engagement with haute cuisine, Panagiotis is also a well-known painter, whose art works can be found in the Gallery of the Society of Macedonian Studies, in online galleries, as well as in private collections.



As Nicholas grew older, his personal aesthetics changed, together with his taste in women. He could no longer imagine himself making love to a skinny girl, who might be fretting over each bite he had prepared for her. The realm of sensations is very demanding. The right dosage is always necessary. The greatest pleasures are found at the place where mind and body go together, hand in hand, where excess and deprivation are both under control. Most people believe that passion is a weakness, a loss of all moderation. Nicholas knew it was not so and he had learned that in his own kitchen. Use more pepper and you will spoil the dish; less salt and it will be inedible.


Passion is a balancing act on a tightrope. It requires patience, confidence, tranquillity, slow steps. It needs faith and love, respect for the abyss down below. It calls for impulsiveness but also caution.


Nicholas had discovered that mature women knew that secret. They ate with a hearty appetite, relished the meal without excessive anxiety, opened themselves to his food and his love. That was the reason these days he was hardly ever attracted to younger women, unlike other men his age who were looking for self-confirmation. Nicholas did not need any confirmation other than a woman’s moans of pleasure. The older his lover, the better. For mature women would never be seduced with cheap tricks. They demanded the truth.


He lifted Eva from the couch and carried her to the bedroom. There he would extinguish the fires he had himself lit. He took off her clothes, one item at a time, slowly but purposefully. Now there was still one thing left to do.


‘Are you my canvas?’ he asked her.


‘Oh, yes…,’ she moaned, not really understanding yet.


He popped to the kitchen for a moment, leaving her purring in bed like a feline, and brought back the two small jars containing their dessert: white and dark chocolate mousse. He placed Eva on the dark duvet, white on black, and started painting on her naked body with his finger. Around her nipples he drew white daisies. He counted her ribs with lines of dark chocolate. On her belly button he placed a small raspberry. One more a little further down, on her mons Veneris.


He looked at her with admiration for both the canvas and the work of art.


‘And now my love, I shall eat you,’ he said. ‘But first - a monotype.’


He removed all of his clothes and lay on top of her. The sweet imprint passed onto his own body too. Having both become art, they licked each other until no trace of chocolate was left on their naked skin. Only the two raspberries were still in place, one on Eva’s belly button and the other at the centre of her femininity. Nicholas pulled those off softly with his teeth. He gave the first one to Eva, mouth to mouth. He ate the second one; it was sweet, with a touch of sourness. He imagined paradise tasted the same.


Then they celebrated together the age of maturity.




Ravioli in spicy broth

Spicy avocado salad

Veal in chocolate sauce with mashed potatoes

White and dark chocolate mousse

(The original recipes are included in the book.)


It was a chilly night and Violeta, who was dressed lightly, started to shiver. The balcony on the seventh floor below was full of potted flowering plants and thuja trees. The eighth floor, where Nicholas had his flat, sported a somewhat receding balcony; this created the illusion of a garden below their feet. The view from here was majestic: the Upper Town resembled a postcard. Tsaus Monastery was glowing in the night. An orange, perfectly round moon, emerged from behind the clouds.


Suddenly, she felt Nicholas against her back, pushing her softly towards the railing. Holding her firmly with his right hand, Nicholas lifted her dress with his left hand, revealing the silicone stockings she was wearing. The cold night air glided over her thighs. She moaned. Was that where he would make love to her? In the balcony, seen by all? Before the main course?


She looked at the lit balcony doors in the apartment building across the street and she thought she saw a woman peering at them.


‘We will be seen,’ she ventured, attempting to prevent the inevitable. She was, nevertheless, already aroused.


‘They are my neighbours, not yours,’ Nicholas said curtly.


Violeta felt the intensity of the phrase even before she understood its meaning. What a thing to say! It was as if he had decided to carry on his own the entire weight of her guilt. He was even scolding her for feeling ashamed!


She started rubbing up and down against his body like crazy. Now she wanted to be seen! There was nothing she desired more in the world than the secret gaze of strangers, behind the semi-transparent curtains of Alexandrou Svolou Street. She imagined them looking at her face with curiosity, ecstatic as she seemed over her own desire. In her mind’s eye she saw them shake their head with disapproval – and yet, they would still be unable to take their eyes off her. 


She bent forward a little more and swayed slowly in front of his hips, right to left, forming a circle of lust. She had gone wild now. The cold air did not have the expected impact on her. On the contrary, it made her feel hotter. She had lost all sense of place and time. And the thought did not even occur to her that what was happening had nothing to do with what she had planned for the evening.


Suddenly, his hands withdrew. A sense of loss overwhelmed her. But… why? Violeta, half naked, held onto the railing like a broken puppet.


That summer, Madame Kiki moved to the four-storey apartment building that had no lift. The entire neighbourhood heaved a sigh at the sight of the explosive maturity of the forty-year-old woman. She could be heard giving instructions to the two men with a van carrying her sparse items of furniture to the small flat on the fourth floor. Nicholas and his mother lived on the first. The young man came out to the balcony to watch the whole affair. 

That was the very first time he saw her. She had a peculiar body type. Without being particularly tall, she possessed a domineering aura, perhaps due to the size of her bosom. She wore one of those old-fashioned bras, very pointy, which made her look like a double-barrelled tank. Waist that could be enclosed in a pair of hands, thin hips, muscular legs, peep-toe shoes, pencil skirt barely covering the knees. And the canons above.

Nicholas swallowed hard. Waves of arousal pierced him, and his Lee Rider stretched dangerously over his crotch. He stood there staring at the woman, as she walked back and forth in the alley, while the movers silently complied with her instructions, given in a mellifluous voice, with her R’s rolled to perfection – carrrreful and this firrrrrst. Rough-looking men, covered in sweat, wearing dusty coveralls and tattered trainers, they bent their heads in front of the proud bosom of Madame Kiki, filled with an indescribable awe. Nicholas was also ensnared in the woman’s seductiveness. He went on gazing, until the last coffee table and the last cardboard box had been transferred into the cool interior of the building’s entrance, and from there to the small penthouse apartment of the fourth floor.

That same night he dreamed of her. As expected, he woke up with the wet sheet clinging to his body. He quickly washed the spot in the bathroom sink; he did not want his mother to see it. He made the bed again, knowing the sheet would dry out very fast. It was turning out to be an extremely hot summer.


Byzantine hot-pot


  • 500 gr beef knuckle

  • 500 gr pork shoulder

  • 500 gr chicken (use three boneless legs)

  • 500 gr lamb (use ribs with their bone)  

  • 4 finely cut garlic cloves (remove the green germ from the garlic)

  • Salt and pepper


Optional: 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon vinegar

Alternate version: If you do not use honey and vinegar, you could add 150 gr kefalotyri cheese (cubed) or pecorino.


We wash and drain all the meat. We mix the cuts of meat and lay them out in the pot, sprinkling with the finely cut garlic, salt and pepper. Cook in a pre-heated over at 180° C for 2 hours. Towards the end, sprinkle with honey diluted in vinegar – or, alternatively, with the cubes of kefalotyri cheese or pecorino.

Note: This dish does not require any oil or butter. If you add onion, it will lose the taste of the unique synthesis of the meat.


(Recipe: Koukouvitis)

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