Former chef at Alpha and Beta Bar and protege of esteemed Greek-Australian chef Peter Conistis, Natalia Gaspari’s tireless efforts and sumptuous creations at Sydney’s Hellenic Club in the last 6 years have well and truly paid off, first with her successful stint on the SBS cooking show The Chef’s Line and now with branching out on her own to create her dream restaurant Ble.
Her experience, flair and absolute confidence with food belies her youth. At just 28 years of age she is gearing up to wow her loyal fans and new customer base with authentic, mouth-watering dishes from her homeland, shining a light on the island she was born and raised in, Kefalonia. “It is modern Greek dishes incorporating traditional elements like using Ksilokarvouna (wood charcoal) which will transport diners to various points of Greece,” says Gaspari.
Diners familiar with Gaspari’s prowess in the kitchen know that fresh produce, authentic flavours and Greek hospitality are of utmost importance. She is also known for being able to give traditional dishes a modern twist, both in ingredients and presentation. “My goal with Ble is to set us apart from all the other Greek restaurants,” says Gaspari.
“Ble is the culmination of years of hard work and inspiration. It’s a piece of me which has been created with a lot of love, passion and meraki. The name comes from the blue which in Greece is everywhere- the beaches, the sky, the flag- they are all ble!”
Gaspari is warm, welcoming, passionate about food and proud of Greek cuisine, including the dishes of her beloved Kefalonia and is excited about being able to give diners a taste of its flavours. “The Kefalonian cuisine is very unique,” she says. “It has a lot of Italian influences in its traditional dishes, which sets it apart from the rest of Greece. Unique aromas such as marjoram, throumbi, which is a cross between oregano and thyme, and myrtle waft through the air of many Kefalonian kitchens. We will also be showcasing Kefalonian wines, including the famous Robola.”
Gaspari’s enthusiasm for showcasing dishes from all over Greece will see her refreshing her menu and recipes every 2-3 months. “Every place and island in Greece is unique,” she says. “At Ble, people will not only encounter the flavours of Kefalonia but all parts of Greece.”
“It’s hard for me to choose a favourite dish because I am in love with every dish on the menu. They have been designed just for Ble and are so different. I can say that I do have a weakness for the Kefalonian octopus pie, the lobster ravioli, the fresh ricotta and lobster tart, the chicken with hand made pasta, but also the salad with smoked herring!”
Ble Greek Kouzina has opened its doors A: Shop 2, 203-207 Ramsgate Road, Ramsgate Beach, Sydney, Australia. P: (02) 9529 4335
*Images by Nick Bourdaniotis for Greek City Times (Copyright)