ATHLEISURE MAG: Tell us about your culinary background.
CHEF GUY KAIRI: I grew up in Tel Aviv in a family of Greek and Egyptian immigrants and food was always a big part of my life. I went to culinary school in New York and when I graduated, I kept thinking about working in Europe even though New York had a great culinary scene. I just wanted a more classic setting where I could perfect my skills. I spent some time in France, about six months since I could not afford to work for free for very long! I apprenticed in a few restaurants in Paris and a butcher shop in Normandy, absorbing whatever knowledge I could along the way. When I returned home to Israel, I wanted to put my classic training to use. My first five years were spent at a super busy bistro at a boutique hotel. I learned to work very fast in the kitchen while still maintaining the quality of food. This was a good first part of my career and made it easier to take a step up to fine dining. Then I heard about a Japanese chef coming from the UK to open a restaurant in Tel Aviv, also in a boutique hotel. It was a very interesting project as it took 13 years to renovate the building. A real passion project from a guy from London who wanted to have his favorite London restaurant, Dinings, in the hotel. [I actually was connected with him through some friends in the art world, his art dealer was my friend.] It was a complete switch from French to Japanese, like starting from scratch. The whole approach to the experience was completely different so I immersed myself fully into the process. Usually to be a sushi chef, you need 7 – 10 years of training but the chef said I would be ready in 3 years. By the end of my time there, I was able to execute the menu at a very high level. I did learn that you can make amazing things in a small space. All it takes is to be adaptable, creative and have a skillful hand. By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I knew sushi was not my passion. My real passion is more connected to cooking with wood and live fire with a clear connection to nature and what’s going on around us. I was always drawn to the sea and seafood. My focus became more about cooking simple preparations but using the best ingredients. I’ve also worked in San Sebastian and was very inspired by my time there.
AM: How would you define your style of cooking?
CHEF GK: For me, it all starts with the ingredients, which is then backed up with Japanese techniques and classic French preparation.
AM: What led you to become the chef/ owner of Concord Hill located in the Brooklyn?
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