“I was born in Athens, but I grew up on Poros and this is where I went to school. After finishing high school I registered for the university to study Christian Orthodox theology. I chose this subject as I was very interested in the history of humanity. I had a chance to study the Bible, also in Hebrew language. We also had classes about psychology and sociology which I enjoyed very much. Basically we learnt how religion affects a human being. I found it very intriguing. After my studies, in 1991, I came back to Poros to start a business together with my father. The first business we had was a supermarket which I ran until 2012. Unfortunately, when the crisis came, I had to sell this business and I kept only Taverna Rota, which was established in year 2005. I didn’t have much experience in the restaurant field, but I managed to learn quite quickly and become successful. I have been running Rota with a lot of care and I believe it is one of the best restaurants on Poros island. We are open 365 days in a year, with the same crew. Since 29th April 2005 up until now we have missed only 2 weeks because of an accident we had in our shop. But that’s it, we have been open the rest of the time. This means people can enjoy good food all year round, not only in summer when there is a lot of tourists visiting. We respect our customers. We serve them with or without profit. We offer authentic Greek cuisine. From my side I make sure everything is top quality and prepared from the best ingredients.
I love running a taverna, it is a very exciting business. Everyday you meet new, interesting people. Of course you also make a profit, but in a very enjoyable way. We have to work hard to satisfy our customers so that they want to come back. Our motto is to work intensively and with a lot of care. Up until now we have been successful. A lot of people encourage us to keep going which is great motivation. And we enjoy what we do.
My family used to own a farm on the mainland, close to Kalloni village. This is where I spent most of my childhood. That farm was very close to the sea. I very much enjoyed going swimming and playing with the animals. It was a very nice and relaxing time of my life. I have great memories from my childhood. It was in the 70’s, which was a prosper time for Greece. The local farmers taught me a few very important things: be honest, be authentic (real) and that a simple life can be very enjoyable! These farmers were very happy even though they did not have much money. Nowadays people are never satisfied, they always need more money to buy more things. And yet with all the things they buy they keep being unhappy. So this is basically my “compass” in life.
I have been married for 24 years. Next year we will be celebrating a silver jubilee. I have 3 sons: 22, 20 and 18. They are all studying at the moment, which is a difficult time for me as I need to support them. The oldest son is studying dentistry, the middle one agriculture and the youngest is about to take his final exams and enter university. My wife is a teacher, she is a principle in an elementary school on Poros. She is a very nice person and I love her very much.
Whenever I can, I enjoy travelling, especially to places where I have friends. My favourite trips have been to London and Geneva. I also use this time to speak to the local restaurant owners, exchange ideas, compare experiences.
One of my favourite books is called in Greek “H Megali Chimera” which could be translated as “The Great Illusion”. It was written by Michalis Karagatsis. It is one of the most exciting books of Greek literature. The characteristic of this book is “psychographma” which is a book that describes with a lot of detail human’s soul. When I started reading this book I could not put it away! It was so exciting! It became my favourite book.
If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would like to go to the Far East. I’m very pleased with what I have seen so far, I have been very lucky. One place I would love to visit again is Ethiopia. We went there last spring and we absolutely loved it. The country is beautiful. Maybe the natural beauty is better in other African countries, but for me the people in Ethiopia are amazing. They had nothing and yet they were smiling. They passed me a lot of good energy. This is something that is missing in the modern societies. There was also something else very special about the people of Ethiopia: they are deep believers and they take courage from their faith. A lot of people don’t realise how much strength one can get from faith. Of course as long as it is not extreme faith. Not like these jihadists that kill people.