Tampakis learned first-hand that female chefs come to the kitchen with a different type of strength from their male counterparts, which can be helpful when dealing with the big personalities of Michelin-starred chefs like Gordon Ramsay, with whom she worked in London, and Heston Blumenthal, a molecular gastronomy pioneer.
“Large, mostly male kitchens need that female touch to keep it all in line, to achieve more of a balance,” she says. “The culinary world has changed, and the aggressive, male-driven, egotistical kitchens are a thing of the past. Women are proving that when they are given the opportunity, they can not only excel but shine in their kitchens.”
She’s bringing that balance to Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, where she was recently named executive chef. Her menus highlight fresh and local ingredients, inspired by those languid summers in Kalamata, Greece: “This summer, we had Faroe Island salmon with Long Island corn, Jersey tomatoes, fresh herbs, Greek aged feta cheese, red wine vinegar and Greek olive oil,” she says. “It’s not unlike something that my grandmother would’ve made. I think she’d be quite pleased.”
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