Interviews

Meet the people of Paleochora

Follow our new series with interviews of the people who live and work in Paleochora!
(1) Photo Gallery

At irregular intervals we plan to publish interviews with people who live and work here in Paleochora. We hope you like this opportunity for everybody to get to know each other better :)

If there is a particular person you would like to read an interview about, let us know, we'll do what we can :) 

(6) Photo Gallery

Michalis Mountakis from the Café Karakatsanis

Ten Questions to the owner of the Café Karakatsanis in Paleochora

KRITIguide: Who are you?
Michalis: I am Michalis Mountakis, 30 years old, and in a relationship. I originally come from a village near Chania and studied computer science in Chania; a subject I found myself not fancying a lot, so after my degree I looked around for a different line of work. By chance I at one time helped out at the Karakatsanis confectionery and was instantly intrigued by them making all the special cakes and ice cream. Over the years I learned a lot about the process and we became business partners.

KRITIguide: What do you do?
Michalis: I am managing the Karakatsanis Café here in Paleochora. My business partner Nikos Karakatsanis and I opened the Café here in Paleochora two years ago. We came to Paleochora many years for our holidays, as we love the nature and the beaches here, and we always thought it would be nice to have a place here with our kind of cakes and ice cream. Then two years ago we learned about this shop space becoming available and decided to go for it.  

KRITIguide: Tell us about the Karakatsanis Café
Michalis: The most distinctive thing about our Café is that we make all our cakes and ice cream ourselves! And not just that; we take great pride in using only best ingredients, real milk and eggs, no powdered milk and egg, real vanilla and natural aromas, no artificial preservatives.  

We also make a great effort to blend the traditional Greek recipes, which often are a bit on the sweet side, with all the wonderful Italian, French, Swiss and German recipes. So during the season we will have special weeks  featuring pastries from a specific region; like an "Italian Week" with Profiteroles, Tira Misu and so forth. We started that last year and it was very well received. And not just the tourists like them, our local customers like those special cakes a lot. Still, our biggest crowd pleasers are our waffles! Hot, freshly made to order waffles, served with Ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce.


KRITIguide: How should your customers give feedback about the Café or how should they voice a complaint?
Michalis: Oh, I definitely would like them to speak to me directly, I am here every day and we care a great deal about what our customers think. Like for instance last year tourists asked for lemon ice cream; we didn't have a lot fruit sorts, as Greek customers more tend to prefer chocolate and milk based sorts,  so we made a lemon ice cream and people loved it.
Also last year a customer asked a lot about our cakes and ice creams and on his last day he revealed that he is writing the new update for the Lonely Planet travel guide for Crete and that we will be in the new revised Paleochora section. Things like that are very nice. We still don't have a facebook site... but I will definitely get to it now, so people can stay in touch.

KRITIguide: What would you be if not the owner of a Café?
Michalis: Well, definitely not computer science... I love hiking, being out in the countryside, I love riding my bike and photography! But those are my hobbies. One thing I could see myself doing if it wasn't the Café and that is making wine. Our family has a vineyard and as both of my parents are teachers, so no one in the family had ever time to tend to the vineyard professionally. But still, we keep it up as good as we can and the family and friends get together every harvest to make our own wine. We don't sell it, it gets divided to everyone who helped. But that is something I could imagine myself doing, fixing the vineyard up and producing wine.

KRITIguide: What is the one thing you would suggest to a visitor of Paleochora?
Michalis: To get out and explore the countryside!  Walk along the E4 path and soak in the rough unspoiled nature, the mountains, the sky, the fresh air, the wind- beaten trees.

KRITIguide: What do you like best about Paleochora?
Michalis: The countryside. It is a fabulous place for running, biking and swimming! And I love that it is far  from Chania, but not too far. In just an hour and a half I can be in the city, with all the busy buzz.

KRITIguide: And what do you not like about here?
Michalis: To be honest, as much as I like the busy season, I often hardly find time during the summer doing what I love doing most; running and biking and going to the beach. I do miss that sometimes on a 14 hour day in the Café.

KRITIguide: What would be your first action, if it was to you to improve the holiday quality in town?
Michalis: I like what they have done with the cobbling on parts of the main road and the square. I would like to have more streets of Paleochora fixed up this way, to make the place look nicer. It really invites you to stroll and linger.

KRITIguide: Your prediction of the season ahead?
Michalis: I believe it will be a good season. But I am an optimist :)

KRITIguide: Thank you Michalis for the interview!
Michalis: you are welcome! 

 

Interview, March 2013

 

+++ visit the Café Karakatsanis +++

(3) Photo Gallery

Michalis Papadogiannakis from the restaurant Odyssey

Ten Questions to the owner of the pizzeria restaurant Odyssey

KRITIguide: Who are you?
Michalis: My name is Michalis Papadogiannakis, I am 24, in a relationship, no children ... that I know of!

KRITIguide: What do you do?
Michalis: I manage the Restaurant/Pizzaria Odyssey. Since I was 14 I have been helping out here and from the time I was 17, I worked here as a full time waiter. Since then, bit by bit, I have taken over most of the daily responsibilities of the business. Recently my sister Renata started to help as well, waiting on tables.

My dad still handles the orders (bulk/wholesale shopping) and tends to his little pig farm. This started by chance, when he nursed a number of piglets there, some 10 years ago. Now the pig farm is big enough to provide the restaurant with our own pork - which I really appreciate, because it means we use fresh, good quality, meat; meat which we know where it came from and we know what it was fed on.  

KRITIguide: Tell us about the Odyssey
Michalis: My dad opened a pizzeria called El Greco 24 years ago. He didn't want to offer the same as every other restaurant and thought a pizzeria would serve well. It was a small place in the main street and some years later my dad found this bigger place right on the waterfront. Not having a lot of money at that time, he did all the remodeling and woodwork by himself, which took him some two years. During this time he got a lot of stick from friends and neighbours about his strange ideas, such as having a palm leaf ceiling indoors and wall paintings from local artists. In memento of these first, hard, years he changed the name from El Greco to Odyssey, the name it has since then.

We care a lot about providing good quality; in food as well as in service. We aim at a fast, friendly and seamless service with good quality food at affordable prices. We love to cater for tourists but we care a lot to be a place were everyone who lives here feels comfortable to frequent on a regular base.

KRITIguide: How should your customers give feedback about the restaurant or how should they voice a complaint?
Michalis: I hope there is not too much reason for complaint, but if there is, please tell us! For praise, we hope people leave a comment on our Facebook page ;)

KRITIguide: What would you be if not the owner of a restaurant?
Michalis: I never had any big plans. I love the pizzeria! I hardly can imagine doing anything else. I even still like eating pizza myself.
A big passion of mine was wind surfing, but sadly the surf schools near by closed some years ago.

KRITIguide: What is the one thing you would suggest to a visitor of Paleochora?
Michalis: Enjoy the beaches!

KRITIguide: What do you like best about Paleochora?
Michalis: In the winter I like the intimacy and the relaxed life. In the summer I like the buzz of meeting many new people and making new friends.

KRITIguide: And what do you not like about here?
Michalis: That the people still cannot get to work together. Greed and envy stands in many peoples’ way; there could be much more done for Paleochora but all efforts get lost in petty fights. I really hope the younger generation, who are starting to step up now, will overcome these problems and succeed in changing that!

KRITIguide: What would be your first action, if it was to you to improve the holiday quality in town?
Michalis: Offer more attractions for younger people! More night life, festivals, beach life! And I would like to get the planned biological sewerage system going.

KRITIguide: Euro or Drachma as currency?
Michalis: Euro. We are in the EU, so it makes sense to share one currency.

KRITIguide: Thank you Michalis for the interview!
Michalis: you are welcome! And I would like to thank the people who support us so many years :)

Interview, July 2012

 

+++ visit the restaurant pizzeria Odyssey +++

(1) Photo Gallery

Maria Gentekakis from the restaurant Maria‘s

Ten Questions to the owner of the Cretan traditional restaurant 'Maria‘s'

KRITIguide: Who are you?
Maria: My name is Maria Gentekakis, I am 43 years young, married to my beloved husband Manolis and have two wonderful daughters, Franzeska and Georgia.

KRITIguide: What do you do?
Maria: I and my husband run the family restaurant - Maria's – and both of our daughters help as well. I am responsible for the menu and cooking at the restaurant and I also deal with our guests from both the restaurant and our rent rooms.

KRITIguide: Tell us about the "Maria‘s"
Maria: Maria, my mother-in-law, built this one story building next to her vegetable garden (today the second room of the restaurant) in the late 60s and it got its official restaurant licence in 1972. At that time it was the first and only restaurant on the harbour promenade.

In 1977 they built the rooms above the restaurant and started renting them. I then was still a little girl living in Athens. When my parents later divorced, my mother, originally from Gavdos, came to Paleochora to work for Maria and later I joined my mother helping out during the high season. I really always enjoyed my summers in Paleochora and working at Maria‘s. Manolis and I fell in love and I moved to Paleochora, now working full time at Maria‘s and learning all the secrets of Cretan home cooking from scratch. My mother-in- law, Maria, thought me everything I know about cooking; all the ways, handling food and the traditional recipes. Her Moussaka was famous! … and still is famous today as I prepare it exactly the way Maria thought me! But I also get a lot of praise for my fish soup and my beef stifado.

After my engagement to Manolis, Maria, bit by bit, handed the responsibilities over to me and she eventually retired. Since then, Manolis and I have worked here every day of the season, lately with the help of our daughters  Franceska and Giorgia, opening in May and working through till the end of October. I really still love my work, I love to cook, I love to care for the customers: this is really me! I wouldn't want to do anything else and I hope our guests can tell.

Sadly my mother-in-law just passed away a few weeks ago. We hope to honour her memory well by cooking all her wonderful recipes.

KRITIguide: How should your customers give feedback about the restaurant or how should they voice a complaint?
Maria: Tell us! Myself, Manolis and my daughters Franceska and Giorgia are always open to listen. We don't get many complains, as we very much care for every of our guests to be happy, but if there are ever any worries, just let us know! 

KRITIguide: What would you be if not the owner of a restaurant?
Maria:I never had a big dream, or thought much about what to become. In my young years I spent the summers here in Paleochora helping in the restaurant and I always loved the work and being here. And now, all these years later, I couldn't think of doing anything else. This is me and I love my work.

KRITIguide: What is the one thing you would suggest to a visitor of Paleochora?
Maria: Definitely to enjoy the beaches! Here you don't just have one small beach for all town, here you have miles of coastline in walking distance or just a short drive away and even in mid season you can find a lovely spot for yourself.

KRITIguide: What do you like best about Paleochora?
Maria: The beach! Ha ha ha! I love to slip away for 1-2 hours around Midday when all is quiet and I can have some time with my husband, at a beautiful secluded spot, to relax and enjoy a swim in the clear water.

KRITIguide: And what do you not like about here?
Maria: I don't like that there are hardly any waste baskets along the promenade. I absolutely hate it when I come from the beach and cannot even find a place to throw my chewing gum. There are far to few waste baskets anywhere; the few it has are filled to overflowing, the litter lies all around and then gets dragged all along the roads. I really don't like that neglected look.

KRITIguide: What would be your first action, if it was to you to improve the holiday quality in town?
Maria: A real good clean! All the roads, the beach, all the gardens, backyards.... and loads of waste baskets... and get money to pay for a better local garbage collection.

KRITIguide: Euro or Drachma as currency?
Maria: This is very complex, I don't now much about all this money business, Manolis says it would be best to stay in the Euro.

KRITIguide: Thank you Maria for the interview!
Maria: you are welcome!

Interview, June 2012

 

+++ visit the restaurant 'Maria‘s' page +++

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Dimitrios Michelerakis from the restaurant Kapitan Dimitrios

Ten Questions to the owner of the restaurant Kapitan Dimitrios 


KRITIguide:
 Who are you?
Dimitris: My name is Dimitrios Michelerakis, I am the owner of the restaurant Kapitan Dimitrios. I am 31, in relationship with Eloise Evans and the proud father of my son Efstratios who is now a little over 6 months old. 

KRITIguide: What do you do?
Dimitrios: I manage every aspect of the restaurant and am responsible for the restaurant‘s menu. 

KRITIguide: Tell us about the Kaptain Dimitrios.
Dimitrios: In the late 80's, after my grandfather died, my dad and my uncle, who both worked in the navy, decided to turn the former family house into rental rooms with a restaurant at the bottom. After refitting the house the family opened the restaurant, which was among the first ones on the harbour promenade, for one season. Still holding their regular jobs they decided to rent the restaurant out to someone who could pursue the business full time.

When I finished my studies in gastronomy in England to become a restaurateur, my parents wanted me to return home and take over the family business. To meet this commitment I worked at several restaurants during and after my studies in Manchester, to refine my chef and management skills, and in 2010 I felt ready to take on the responsibility to operate my own restaurant. We refitted the restaurant to merge the cherished Cretan kitchen style with a modern Mediterranean gastronomy style and opened Kapitan Dimitris in June 2011 for its first season under my management.

We have adjusted the menu and some ideas after the experience of the first season, and just now in April we have opened for the second season after the winter break and we hope to win many new fans of our kitchen.

KRITIguide: How should your customers give feedback about the restaurant or how should they proceed if they would like to voice a complaint?
Dimitrios: Everyone can tell me anything directly, praise and complaints alike. We also have our restaurant‘s facebook page, were I am happy to stay in contact with all our guests!

KRITIguide: What would you have become if it wasn't chef and owner of the restaurant?
Dimitrios: A photographer. I would have loved to learn photography early on and be able to just focus on creating pictures.

KRITIguide: What is the one thing you would suggest to a visitor of Paleochora?
Dimitrios: People who come to Paleochora should take the chance to relax. To absolutely savour the laid-back atmosphere here and enjoy a stress-free time. And, of cause try our food :) 

KRITIguide: What do you like best about Paleochora?
Dimitrios: The easy going and laid-back demeanour.

KRITIguide: And what do you not like about here?
Dimitrios: That the local people in charge hardly take any measures to improve tourism in the region.

KRITIguide: What would be your first action, if it was to you to improve the holiday quality in town?
Dimitrios: I would immediately close all three main roads for all cars (apart from some hours in the early morning for delivery and waste management.) And build a ring road and good parking space at the entrance and exit of the town and have all town as a boardwalk with bicycles for everyone.

KRITIguide: Euro or Drachma as currency?
Dimitris: Hard to say, lots of pro and con and a very complex issue. The Euro would probably be best to stay in competition and comparable with Europe, the Drachma would probably make holidays in Greece cheaper in the long run.

KRITIguide: Thank you Dimitrios for the interview!
Dimitrios: You are welcome!
Interview, May 2012

 

+++ visit the Kapitan Dimitrios page+++

(1) Photo Gallery

Spiros Aligizakis from Grill House "Corner Of Flavours"

Ten Questions to the owner of the Family Grill House 'Corner of Flavours'


KRITIguide:
 Who are you?

Spiros: My name is Spiros Aligizakis, 33 years old, in relationship but not yet married, and the owner of the Corner of Flavours Family Grill House. 

 

KRITIguide: What do you do?

Spiros: I am the manager of our family restaurant. I mostly wait the tables and am responsible for all customer needs.

 

KRITIguide: Tell us about the Corner of Flavours

Spiros: In 2007, when we saw the place being up for rent me, my parents and my two brothers Anthonis and Stephanos decided to go for it. As all of us have been working in many of the local restaurants in the kitchen and service, we thought, well, why not open our own restaurant!
  
My mother Anastasia is a fantastic cook, she is famous  for her 'kaltzunias' with 'chorta' (wild growing greens) The 'chorta' she picks from the greenfield at her village Dris. My dad Georgios is responsible for the grill, lamb on a spit and the grilled chicken are out specialities. My brothers and I tend to our guests and operate the giros.

 

KRITIguide: How should your customers give feedback about the restaurant or how should they voice a complaint?

Spiros: We have a facebook page for the restaurant. I would be happy to get feedback there, also to learn about suggestions that customers make. 

 

KRITIguide: What would you be if not the owner of a restaurant?
 
Spiros: Probably something with computer technology. I just love tinkering with computers, taking them apart, re-assembling them, fixing them, and yes, sometimes breaking them...

 

KRITIguide: What is the one thing you would suggest to a visitor of Paleochora?

Spiros: To enjoy the beaches and take boat trips to see the area. Last year I sat at the Café in the harbour and we saw two dolphins out in the sea, that was nice! 

 

KRITIguide: What do you like best about Paleochora?

Spiros: The restaurant is situated at Paleochora‘s busiest square. I love to be right in the middle of summers busy outdoor life with people from all around the world. And I like how the same place turns into the most tranquil family back yard in the winter time.

 

KRITIguide: And what do you not like about here?

Spiros: The way how many old locals are reluctant to change. At the moment there are big discussions about waste management and many previous generation business owners block necessary improvements.

 

KRITIguide: What would be your first action, if it was to you to improve the holiday quality in town?

Spiros: First: to fix the road to Elafonisi. The existing one isn't even recommended with a four wheel drive. Next: the local health care, and to develop more tourist attractions for low season.

 

KRITIguide: Euro or Drachma as currency?

Spiros: I think it makes more sense to stay with the Euro, to stay comparable within Europe.


KRITIguide: Thank you Spiros for the interview!

Spiros: you are welcome!

Interview, May 2012

 

+++ visit the Family Grill House 'Corner Of Flavours' page +++