Karolos comes to Top Chef to create dishes with an architectural look!
The Food Architect managed to combine his two great loves: architecture and cooking. Karolos discovered his penchant for cooking when he was studying in England and had to cook for himself. Soon, he began to prepare original dishes for his friends, and as a result his fame quickly spread to Greece. His friend’s mothers called him to find out his recipes and tips. His talent in cooking led him to faraway Thailand when he won a cooking competition. After completing his studies in architecture, he realized that his great love is cooking. So he found a way to apply his knowledge to what he loved most; he created a page that showcases food styling projects, food investigations and original culinary creations.
“Top Chef”, one of the most popular cooking shows, aired on SKAI in 2021 and introduced the audience to the charming but demanding world of haute cuisine. 15 professional chefs who have in common the passion for gastronomy face each other every day, but also have to overcome themselves. They aim to stand out, stand out and conquer the top: the title of Top Chef and the grand prize of 100.000. Giorgos Venieris, Gikas Xenakis, and Asterios Koustoudis, three renowned chefs who have distinguished themselves in the field of gastronomy, evaluate the 15 Top Chef candidates and judge their future in the competition.
The offer to join this project came this summer while I was on vacation. To be honest I was never intrigued or fascinated to be on TV and it is something I would never do, that is why I finally said yes. The past few years, being a freelancer and being involved in many different fields and projects, balancing between architecture and food, has made me cherish and get the most of every creative outlet I get. Also, I have been fortunate enough to have had amazing opportunities and collaborations without making a huge effort, just by doing what I love and expressing who I am. Thus, I have not regretted any decision till now and this is why I decided to join Top Chef, knowing it is reality TV and acknowledging the consequences and difficulties I would have to face.
The reasons I said yes are two. The first has to do with the projects I am working on now. The one is a ‘ghost kitchen’ concept space and the other is a hub in Exarchia- in the centre of Athens. I talked with my partners and asked them if the projects would benefit from me joining the show. The second, is the representation of people like me on Greek TV. And you may ask, what makes you special? Nothing. But I realized that I do not know anyone from my school (a private school) or surrounding that has joined a TV show, and although maybe controversial I wanted to do something out of the box. A wider representation of our society on TV. Naturally I would be judgmental and scared. So, I said yes because I wanted to have the experience from the inside and could judge more accurately and fairly.First of all, I have to say that although I care a lot about what others believe about me and I am self-conscious and strict with myself, for a weird reason I do not care about my public image and being vulnerable. I really went for the experience and to challenge myself.
For many reasons I cannot share many details about the show, the production etc. What I can say is that TV is TV. And Tv is tough. It is very different seeing it from home and being on it. Many people are involved, many different deliverables that need to be reached, time pressure, etc. So, I did learn a lot about what happens behind the scenes, how things work, observe people, and understand a whole industry. The details are not important, although very interesting. Although I did not stay very long, I did learn a lot of things about myself. I am a professional but compared to all other 14 contestants I have never cooked in a professional kitchen. Which means that most of the appliances and tools were completely new to me. The contestants were so helpful and eager to aid me at any time. But still this made me feel very overwhelmed and stressed. The first two weeks it was impossible to not get in my head. This made me not enjoy cooking and not being able to concentrate and do what I love. This made me very frustrated, mainly with myself, not being able to control my anxiety. I know that I get stressed easily as a person and I have accepted that, but on TV everything is maximized so I had to face a very extreme version of who I am.
Another interesting aspect is having to cook in front of a camera, and simultaneously talk, explain, think and compete for your ‘survival’. Obviously, every TV person has had some time or training on how to multitask and be communicative and presentable in front of a camera. For all of us it was an experience we did not have and also no time to practice and adapt into. Cause a TV show is not only about cooking: it is about the characters, the personalities, the competitiveness, the failure, the emotional distress. In a way the show wants to present and imitate what happens in a professional kitchen. So, people need to take into consideration how difficult of a project it is and how many hours daily it takes for many people in order to produce such a show.
In time I will share more information on my experience on the show, the things I leaned and the things I gained. For now, what I want to conclude with is the happy moments we shared with the rest of the contestants. Although I was not there for many weeks, we spent so much time with each other, in this peculiar situation that a very unique bond is formed. You wake up and sleep with these people, share thoughts, emotions, everything in an extremity. Only these people can understand and share this experience with you and this makes it very special. And although we were all from different parts of the country, different experiences and knowledge, I was so impressed with how good hearted and open minded everyone was. Socially I felt very hopeful for our generation just by observing every single person there. It is a good sample representation of our society and I am glad I met these people. Everyone tried to help me, in their own way and capability, whenever I was down, or stressed or freaking out. And I thank every single one of them!
Bellow you will find some clips and videos from my time on the show.
Clearly stressed and very sweaty- especially the first week! 🙂