At just 34, Sotiris Ananiadis is perhaps the youngest executive chef at a five-star property in Lebanon. The son of a restaurateur who grew up in Athens, Greece, Ananiadis exacted a veritable tour de monde before washing up on the shores of Beirut in 2010 to help open the luxurious Four Seasons. There he stands at the helm of the hotel’s upscale steakhouse, The Grill Room, as he mans a staff of 30 Lebanese chefs.

As a child, Ananiadis used to closely observe and assist the chef in his family’s restaurant. In little time, he displayed a knack for preparing delicious food, and the chef encouraged him to nurture his gift. At the age of 15, Ananiadis enrolled in a hospitality institute for two years, holding stints at the Hilton and Astor properties before moving on to university to study tourism, commerce, and marketing.



A traditional education did not suit his culinary aspirations—he found theory to be a time sink and longed for the hands-on nature of the kitchen. During his 18-month compulsory military service, Ananiadis served as a boat chef for 200 sailors. When it ended, he headed to Geneva to jumpstart his career.

There Ananiadis worked in a French restaurant and quickly improved his grasp of the language. This would become instrumental when he applied and was admitted to the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse for hospitality management in Lyon. After completing his formal education, Ananiadis traveled to nearly every corner of France, shadowing the seasoned chefs of Michelin-starred establishments in Bretagne, Avignon, and Cannes.



Eventually Ananiadis tired of French soil, succumbing to wanderlust and sunnier pastures. He declined an opportunity to work beside celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, instead opting to work on designing first-class fare for airline passengers in Bahrain.

Two years of intense travel and edification saw him relocate to the Maldives, where he acted as executive sous chef at the W Hotel. Here, Ananiadis learned the importance of seasonality in dishes and groomed his inventory management skills. After all, being a chef transcends the kitchen counter—there’s requisitioning supplies and equipment, conforming to hygiene and health standards, and hammering out production schedules.

The corporate F&B director of the Four Seasons discovered Ananiadis in the Maldives and lured him to the newly-opening estate in Beirut. The Greek chef, whose charming looks are evocative of Michael Buble, moved to Lebanon in 2010 where he labored painstakingly to grow the reputation of The Grill Room. In 2012, Ananiadis tore away to the Four Seasons Tokyo for an unrivalled opportunity, but his heart and fondness of the team in Beirut led him back to Lebanon a year and half later, in the capacity of executive chef.



Today Ananiadis crafts what he calls “non-fussy food” based on high-quality, seasonal products that are to a heavy extent locally sourced. He spends no less than 12 hours in the kitchen daily, working alongside executive pastry chef Mohammad Abbas, two sous chefs, and two junior sous chefs. He is the sole foreigner among the entire kitchen crew, but his command and charisma are unquestionable.

This past November, The Grill Room rolled out a new menu preserving the hallmarks of the restaurant—its succulent prime cuts of steak, that inimitable fresh-baked bread—while introducing a chicken rotisserie in addition to an array of new appetizers, salads, and side dishes. Diners can also opt for the chef’s grill selection, a mix of beef tenderloin, jumbo tiger prawns, and organic chicken roti imported from France. The restaurant’s signature dessert trolley remains.

So where does Ananiadis like to dine when he’s able to get out? Lebanese cuisine counts among his favorite, and he’s particularly keen about Fouad in Hrajel. Babel and Fakhreddine are close in tow.

Quite selfishly, one can only hope Chef Ananiadis never gets his fill of Lebanese cuisine. May Beirut forever hold him captive, so we may all be treated to his impeccable culinary finesse.

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Chef job in greek food

Raja Nasser Eddine on Sep 10, 2016 via mobile web
 
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Danielle Issa, it was a true pleasure meeting you and thank you for this great article! Looking forward to seeing you soon at the Grill Room. Until then, my warmest wishes for a fantastic 2015!

Sotiris Ananiadis on Dec 28, 2014 via web