Sylvia and Eleni Koumendakis’ production line ranges from gourmet finger food to delicious reminiscents of home cooking. Sisters in Thessaloniki, they left their careers in the field of advertising and biology respectively to create in 2007 originally a catering service that would cover small and large events and offer menu according to the season and the customer. The laboratory experience of Eleni and her love for food found the impetus needed from Sylvias’ twelve years of experience in the advertising market area and «chefstories» evolved.
The care and love for good food led them to the next step, to create jams and chutneys. Onion, tomato with thyme, pear with vanilla seeds, carrot with orange zest are just some of the handmade flavors with no preservatives, which are already launched. But what stands out is the chutney with pepper and ginger. Prepared so as to be close to the Greek flavors and without exaggeration in any spice, is the ideal accompaniment to all kinds of meat.
The next goal of Koumentaki sisters is homemade lemonade, but until then, Sylvia speaks to Popaganda about chefstories.
«We both came from different areas. Eleni was several years in biology, since that was her field of study and I was in advertising. At the mean time, several things happened that triggered us to start exploring new areas of interest. But because Eleni had great love for cooking and attended a school to broaden her knowledge and experience, we decided to start a catering service with handmade products in small events which had homemade style. In essence, what we would do for our home we did for others, who organized family or professional events».
«Chutneys came out of catering services in the last three years, through our own needs to create a different dish. Then we decided to expand and made sweet jams. Currently, we have created eight codes, slightly tweaked. The pepper has strong ginger, the thyme in tomato is enough that it is not flat sweet and sour sauce, in pear we have vanilla beans, we put the lemon fairly strong in the apple and so we made one sweet jam which also stands worthily even as dessert. Thats what we had in mind. We want to have the Greek raw material given, in order to stsay unchanged. This is just a part in our sweetsours that requires our attention, because usually jams in chutneys are overwhelmed by spices and the way they are prepared result in a very strong taste which fades the base».
«The distinctiveness of our product is that it comes exclusively from Greek raw materials. We want our creations to be produced in Greece. We follow the greek vegetable and fruit which originates from local nearby producers in Thessaloniki.».
«We have no regrets for our decision to leave our day jobs for this. What we are doing is creative. Also, we live in times where the trend is to search for quality food. The average Greek stopped eating just to fulfill a need, but searches for something different ».
«The product with the highest demand is undoubtedly the peppers with ginger, followed by pear with vanilla and third is the onion, which although reminds of toffee, it is actually a jam. We have started to produce fresh lemonade and we are thinking of standardizing the process».
SWEETSOUR CHICKEN WITH RED PEPPER CHUTNEY
Ingredients for 6 people
1 kg chicken breast into small pieces
5 fresh onions
2 red peppers in small pieces
2 green peppers in small pieces
2 carrots chopped
½ pineapple into small cubes
4 s.s sesame oil
4 s.s. soya sauce
6 s.s. red pepper chutney
1 spoon corn flower
In a frying pan or wok, heat the sesame oil and saute the chicken. When it gets some color, add all the vegetables and pineapple. When vegetables are tender, add some salt and pepper and the red pepper chutney and soy sauce. Dissolve the cornflour in cold water and add it to the pan. Allow to boil for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Serve with basmati rice.
CHEESECAKE IN A GLASS WITH PEAR OR CARROT JAMS
Ingredients for 8 people
For the biscuit
250gr biscuits (digestive type) grated
80gr melted butter
For the cream
800gr feta cheese
100gr powdered sugar
200gr sour cream
For the garnish
Carrot marmalade with orange zest
Pear jam with vanilla
For the biscuit, mix grated cookies with butter and spread them at the bottom of the glasses. For the cream, we create a smooth blend with all the ingredients. We spread that too in the glasses, over the biscuit. Place it in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours to cool down, and garnish with jam before serving.