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Greek Cuisine Revisited

by Francine Cohen

They say that you should beware of Greeks bearing gifts. But if Michael Psilakis’ theory is true - that all chefs are gift givers – then Christmas came early when Psilakis opened the doors to two new restaurants, Kefi and Anthos.

Opening one restaurant is a big challenge for any chef. And if opening one restaurant is a challenge then it would seem that closing two (Onera and Dona) and opening two (Kefi and Anthos) almost simultaneously would land most chefs in the loony bin. But not Psilakis, who saw this new pair of restaurants as two unique opportunities to showcase Greek cuisine and express everything he loved about the food he grew up cooking and enjoying with the large extended family he describes as straight out of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Psilakis, 37, grew up in a tightly knit community of Greek aunts, uncles, cousins and friends who based their social lives around the church and activities like folk dancing. For proof, next time you’re at Kefi see if you can spot the picture of the chef in his younger days, clad in native costume and balanced atop a bottle. This Long Island native and first-generation American is just a few years into his cooking career, yet he has already garnered numerous accolades, with his dishes turning up on “best of” lists around town.

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