The event, though not held until September, is already open for ticket sales, with chefs hard at work thinking about what to prepare. Kalandranis, a Mount Kisco resident and first time Festival attendee, spoke with Daily Voice about innovation, ingredients and what folks may be surprised to know about his intimate 30-seat Mediterranean restaurant.
Daily Voice: What does being named a "2016 Innovative Chef" mean to you?
Constantine Kalandranis: Without question any title of being named something special throughout a year's work is an honor. This was a year for us where many things challenged us in every way possible. To be recognized for innovation is a great compliment, especially in such a creative and dynamic industry.
DV: What kind of dish or dishes will you prepare at Greenwich Wine + Food?
CK: We are going to continue to ponder but it will definitely feature what we do at the restaurant. We would like to design a small plate with many techniques and contrasts that will be built around the ingredient. Since the Festival is in September we are thinking wild Connecticut oysters with a yellowfin tuna mignonette and a fermented cucumber cava chaser This could change, however, as ingredients continue to fascinate us.
DV: Do you have a favorite ingredient and if so, what is it?
CK: We have been falling in and out of love with different ingredients over our tenure, but I will say that we've continued to really enjoy the versatility of the cucumber. The varieties are more than most know and the outcomes of fermenting and pickling some of the seeds, flesh, and skins in various ways has been yielding some deep and interesting flavors that even have health benefits and taste mature and exquisite, especially for an event like this.
DV: Where do you get your cooking inspiration?
CK: I always try to really figure this one out...I know for a fact I am most happy when I cook for my wife. She has seen me cooking from different parts of my life throughout most of my career, and through some very unsure points in life. Many times when we are unsure or are getting beat up from reviews or so forth she has the strength to really help us remember how exciting food is and how important simplicity and purity is to the guests. It is a concept that never goes out of style and we try to always come back to that.
DV: What should folks who've never been to your restaurant know?
CK: 273 kitchen is the restaurant that I personally use as my laboratory for ideas. All the restaurants have their own personality, but 273 is the one that I just love to cook in and if I need to be on the line and cooking any given day this is where the ideas for the other restaurant dishes usually are birthed.
Greenwich Wine + Food will be held Sept. 23 to 24 in Greenwich. Go to www.serendipitysocial.com/greenwich-wine-food/ for more information.
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