We caught up with Georgina to ask her a few questions about her love of cooking and influences.
Can you tell us a bit about what first got you into cooking?
I was lucky to grow up in a food focused family – my paternal grandparents had a Taverna in North London, and my mums parents had a deli importing food from Cyprus. Food is and was everything. My childhood revolved around the restaurant, every celebration, every weekend was spent there… my grandparents lived upstairs and I was constantly watching and learning. I’m fortunate to have these grandparents still around and I still cook with my yiayia (grandma) now.
‘I’m a very maternal cook, everything I do is with heart and soul.’
Your newest book Nistisima is full of plant based Mediterranean recipes inspired by food eaten during periods of fasting in the Orthodox faith. What do you think about plant based food, speaking as a carnivore?!
Writing a plant based book as a carnivore is such good practice! You know how amazing things can taste in every eventuality, so don’t settle for anything less. There are no meat replacements in my recipes – these are recipes that have been round for hundreds of years and just ARE vegan.They are delicious in their own right and a celebration of simple, good ingredients. Veganism isn’t a new concept, so many cultures abstain and have variations in their diets for certain events and occasions, we just need to delve further.
What would you say are your biggest culinary influences?
My heritage and my family. My family are all from Cyprus, a complex country with a big history. I am still learning, and have been lucky to have my grandparents teach me along the way (my yiayias are undoubtably my biggest influences). Whilst my roots are Greek Cypriot, to narrow the food down to Greece (amazing as it is) would be naive. There are recipes and flavours from Greece, Turkey and all over the Middle East. You have to acknowledge all of these places to understand the people, how and what they eat.
What and where are you happiest cooking?
I’m a very maternal cook, everything I do is with heart and soul. As a result I am always happiest cooking in my kitchen, in my garden or my yiayia Martha’s house. She’ll call me up when something is in season and demand I go round immediately so she can teach me a technique or recipe. Equally I recently built a wood oven in my garden and I love experimenting with this too – it reminds me of the one we have in our garden and the village back in Cyprus. These are my favourite days.
For your chance to meet Georgina and to taste her fantastic food book your ticket via our events page now.