Most Greek households worldwide have a “Tselemente” the most popular Greek cookbook named after famous chef Nikolaos Tselementes.
The legendary chef from the island of Sifnos studied the art of cooking in Vienna. When he returned to Greece he started working for many foreign embassies and the talented visionary also began to share the international cuisine secrets he learned.
Tselementes became widely known through the launch of the monthly magazine “Cooking Guide” which was first published in 1910.
Nikolaos also headed to America, where his talent established him as a chef at some of the finest restaurants. At the same time, he continued his cooking studies, confectionary, and dietetics. Upon returning to Greece in 1932, he published his famous cooking book entitled “Odigos Mageirikis” (Cooking Guide), the first complete cooking guide in Greek. In 1956 he published his only book in English “Greek Cookery”.
His cookbooks became every Greek housewife’s cooking bible and a ‘must-have’ item for every new bride!
Tselementes was famous for combining Greek and French cuisine, and showed Greeks how to prepare béchamel sauces, pirozhkies, bouillabaisse sauce and to add vinaigrette to dishes, as well as many more tips and ideas on how to cook!
Moussaka and Pastitsio as we know it today is thanks to Nikolaos himself, who taught Greeks worldwide how to add the béchamel sauce to both these famous Greek dishes.
Decades later, Tselementes remains synonymous with cookbooks in Greece, and his recipes are passed on from generation to generation.
The remarkable chef’s legacy is also honoured and celebrated each year at the Cycladic Gastronomy Festival, which takes place on Sifnos every September.