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FOOD has always been a big part of Xanadu Winery’s head chef Melissa Kokoti’s life with aspirations of being a chef since she was 13.
Growing up with a strong Cypriot influence her passion for Mediterranean cuisine and travel is evident throughout her creations.
After working around perth in the industry Ms Kokoti made the move to Margaret River, with the lifestyle and fresh produce beckoning.
Ms Kokoti’s influence has contributed to numerous achievements by Xanadu for their high standard of catering, in particular the Gold Plate Prix d’Honneur Award in 2012 from the Catering Institute of Western Australia and a number of Gold Plate awards.
Ms Kokoti will be featured at Siemens Collaboration Dinner at Xanadu with Davide Scabin and Oliver Gould, as well as at the Gourmet Village.
The Mail had a chat with Ms Kokoti ahead of her sold out dinner event.
East versus west produce, whose is best?
I’m from the west coast, so I’d have to stick with that.
What will you be bringing that’s unique to the Gourmet Escape this year?
With the dinner, I like my food to be down to earth and not too intimidating, but still dish it up and plate it up nicely.
I use techniques that people wouldn’t normally use at home.
At the village we’ll be making pork croquettes. Again, it’s easy and something you wouldn’t think to make at home.
What have you learnt most about yourself during your career?
Becoming a head chef means I’ve become a lot more confident in all areas, management, in the kitchen, etc. As the years go on, confidence builds.
What is one ingredient you can’t live without?
Can I have five? (Laughing). Anchovies, lemon, garlic and cheese. What can I say, I’m Greek.
Who are you excited to see at the Escape this year?
George Calombaris. I love his style of cooking; it’s what I was brought up on.