From humble beginnings in his native Greece, chef Christos Lymperis arrived in the UAE in 2012. “Chef Chris”, as he’s affectionately known, was raised in his family’s Greek restaurants, learning traditional recipes and flavours from his family where his passion for cooking grew and led to a Chef’s Diploma and culinary certification at the age of 23.
Chef Chris travelled all around Greece, Europe and the Middle East on a hunt for new flavours and recipes, and is now known in the UAE for his trademark Mediterranean cooking style.
During his time in the UAE Chef Chris has received a number of accolades including Dubai Food Festival’s “Dubai’s Hidden Gems 2018” award for Best Mediterranean Restaurant, and the appointment as a Senior Member of the Emirates Culinary Guild in 2020. Chef Chris is now Executive Resident Chef at the Waterfront Market.
In a first-of-its-kind offering in the UAE, Chef Chris is based at the market and makes daily visits to the traders and fish mongers to ensure produce is being displayed and prepared to chefs’ standards. He also undertakes regular live cooking displays, sharing new recipes and helpful hints and tips to visitors. Working together with the Waterfront Market, Chef Chris aims to share his passion for food, guide customers in improving their culinary skills and to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle.
How did you get started in the food industry?
I have finally concluded that cooking is not only something you choose but in a great grade it is running in your DNA. My grandfather had a summer restaurant in front of the sea and my parents were also restaurant owners. I was always around my mum in order to teach me all her cooking secrets. Back in 2000, when I left home to go studying, it was the first time I worked professionally in a restaurant.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
Cooking memories of my early childhood are coming from my grandpa who was teaching me how to clean the eels he was catching and we were cooking them together on metal skewers on charcoal.
What is your favourite dish from your country?
It is one dish that my friends are always asking me to make for them as it is full of flavours, and of course we are talking about moussaka.
What is the one go-to and easy snack you love making for midnight cravings?
When midnight cravings are knocking on my door I love to get a French baguette cut it and put it in the oven to become crispy. Then I drizzle some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle some oregano, add small pieces of feta cheese and cherry tomatoes on top.
What is the one raw ingredient you cannot cook without from your country?
I love to use wild oregano from the Greek mountains. It is a very important ingredient for me as not only it gives strong taste to the food, but also it can transport me back to these mountains.
What is the best dish you have prepared with ingredients sourced from the Waterfront Market?
It is very hard to choose only one dish as Waterfront Market has all the ingredients you need to prepare a dish at home for your loved ones or in a restaurant. One of my favorite recipes I created having ingredients from Waterfront Market is the stuffed zucchini with fish and shrimps in egg lemon sauce.
Chef Christos Lymperis
Executive Resident Chef