The head chef at the Argentinian steak house Fiesta del Asado, Aris Kabisios, first fell in love with fresh ingredients and coal-fired cooking at his family’s seafood restaurant
Tell us about your cooking
My style is loose, I like to be relaxed in my kitchen. I like to feel at one with my equipment, obviously I am closest to the grill as I have been cooking on a parilla for a number of years.
How did you become a chef?
Back home, I had a different line of work and I used to work at my family’s seafood restaurant during the weekends. This influenced me greatly and made me fall in love with fresh ingredients and coal fired cooking. My uncle was my biggest inspiration. We used to go out fishing together at night and we would catch squid, lobster, octopus, sea bass, sardines, prawns and small swordfish. We would then prepare, cook and serve these fresh on the very same day. Since then, I followed my passion for cooking and have been at Fiesta del Asado for almost a decade.
What do you eat at home?
I BBQ a lot at home when the weather is good. When it’s not, there’s nothing better for me than a good salad with some grilled lamb and olives.
Who’s the best chef in the world and why? And who’s the best in Brum?
I don’t take too much notice of others, for me it’s my relationship with my team and the dishes I cook that I concentrate on. What others do is not my concern.
Share a cooking tip
Always rest your proteins after cooking, whether meat, fish or shellfish, and use a good quality finishing salt.
What was your favourite food as a kid?
Greek salad with grilled halloumi and souvlaki. These take me back to my childhood and remind me of family holidays where my Mum would cook traditional food.
Food heaven and food hell?
Heaven is the Fiesta empanadas, while hell is lentils. Instead of ‘eat your greens’, for me it was ‘eat your lentils’. I never enjoyed the earthy flavour or texture of these.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve eaten?
That would be buffalo. A couple of years ago we were travelling back home from Wales and stopped off at a farm shop. Here I noticed buffalo at the butchers and picked some up to cook at home on the BBQ. Whilst cooked to perfection, the flavour was not to my liking. The buffalo had a sweet, earthy taste and whilst it was lean, the flavour wasn’t as strong as beef.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
TRY ARIS’S’S RECIPE FOR PIZZA DOUGH
Aris says: “In my opinion this is the best pizza dough in the world. It’s not my recipe and I can’t remember where I got it but it’s amazing and I have been using it for years.
First you need to make the poolish pizza dough – and the ingredients for this are:
• 200g of water
• 5g of honey
• 5g of yeast
• 200g of OO flour
Mix by hand for 15 minutes, leave out for 15 minutes uncovered, then cover and leave out for 1 hour.
Then refrigerate for 16 to 20 hours.
To complete the dough:
First, place the poolish in a bowl and add 300g of Manitoba flour. Then mix 300g of water with 20g of salt. Add 200g of OO flour to the poolish and Manitoba then combine with the salted water until all is used and mix by hand until the dough starts to even out. Oil it lightly and rest for 15 minutes then fold until a ball forms, being careful not to over-work the dough.
Split the dough into two, 270g balls depending on size required. Evenly flatten the dough by pressing the air towards the edge, when you get to the edge press down to seal the air in.
Don’t use too much flour as it burns, then place it on a sheet of baking paper. Using something flat, scoop it up and place straight onto a hot tray in a preheated oven that’s as hot as possible.
For the tomato sauce:
Simply place 400g of good tinned whole Italian plum tomatoes in a bowl with salt, ripped basil and olive oil.