He is charming, engaging, cooks an awesome moussaka and Chef Panagioti is only…. 9 years old!
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the young chef, who turns 10 on Valentine’s Day, has been cooking up a storm of loukoumades, papoutsakia, and even Nutella French toast!
With support from New York-born mother Stacey and Athens-born father Marino, Panagiotis has spent all the extra hours indoors honing his cooking skills and showing off his creations on his YouTube channel.
Greek City Times spoke with the young cooking superstar who is sure to follow in the footsteps of one of his favourite chefs, Akis Petretzikis.
Let’s start from the very beginning. Where did your love for cooking come from and why did you decide to start videoing your cooking?
I have been helping my mum in the kitchen since I was 2 years old.
We started our YouTube channel during the pandemic. It was something that kept us busy, entertained us and we got to entertain others too!
It helped us get through these difficult times. We had made other recipes prior to our first video about banana bread.
We had been cooking and baking and posting pictures on my mum’s personal Facebook
page for years. Everyone was telling us that we should have our own cooking show.
One of our friends shared her banana bread recipe with us, we had bananas that were already ripe, so there you go! We made our first video on YouTube.
You do not only cook Greek food, but a big variety, including American, Mexican and even Russian. Besides Greek food, what is your favourite?
I would say Mexican food because I like spicy foods, I like beans and cheese which are used a lot for most Mexican recipes.
Your melomakarona, karidopita, portokolopita, loukoumades and galaktebouriko look
delicious! Are these your favourite Greek desserts or are we still waiting for you to teach how us to make your favourite Greek dessert?
Some of the desserts were special requests. We make them and then we share them with our friends and family.
We try to surprise them by leaving treats outside their house. We love bringing
smiles on their faces.
I really like loukoumades with Nutella and galaktoboureko.
Some of the Greek desserts that we are planning to make in the future are kataifi and rizogalo.
Do you have a particular favourite chef that you often watch and learn from?
I like watching Akis Petretzikis, who we love, he is amazing.
Also, Alvin from Tasty, Nick DiGiovanni, and Bobby Flay.
I participated in The Rachael Ray’s Yum-o! Cooking Camp Team (virtual camp) the past summer.
I got to learn new recipes and cook with the following chefs:
Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Duff Goldman, Andrew Zimmern, Eithan Bernath, Jet Tila, Giada De Laurentiis, Buddy Valastro, Jernard Wells, Maneet Chauhan, Anne Burrell, Valerie Bertinelli, Jessica Woo and Carla Hall.
One of the things that I learned from Rachel Ray is that “It may not look good but it will taste delicious!”
I have not met any famous chefs yet but I’m sure I will once things get back to normal.
Learning Greek food is a great way to stay connected with our culture despite you being born in New York. Does learning Greek food make you feel closer to Greece?
I got to learn more about Greek traditions by cooking Greek food.
A few of my videos were used as commercials during Father Panteleimon’s (Holy Resurrection, Brookville, New York) LIVE lectures on Monday nights.
Some of the Father’s requests were to make Greek coffee, frappe and Prosforo.
I serve as an altar boy on Sundays, I go to Greek school and I am also a member of our church’s youth group.
My favorite Greek island is Aigina.
My pappou Yianni and my yiayia Sofia make arrangements for us to visit Aigina for at least 2-3 days when we go to Greece.
I love eating fish, octopus and kalamarakia by the water after swimming at Anavusso.
My yiayia Voula cooked a whole lamb on a spit the last time we were there to celebrate my name day. A whole lamb!
She also made snails, which you will not see in any of my videos!
Your YouTube channel is constantly growing and the videos are getting more and more
views. What do you hope to achieve with your channel in 2021?
I am hoping to increase my subscribers and make more videos with my friends.
Due to the pandemic, once the number of COVID-19 cases increased, we interrupted making videos with my friends, which was so much fun.
My goal for 2021 was to make my own recipe, my signature dish, which I
Watch my video making: FETACCINE A LA CHEF P!
I would love to create more recipes in 2021.
As a final question, I was hoping I can make a request for one of your upcoming videos. Could you cook one of my favourite foods that you have no filmed yet? Could you cook giovetsi as a main meal and bougatsa as dessert?
It will be my pleasure to make giouvetsi and bougatsa! It will have to be two videos.
They will both be dedicated to you.