Thursday, September 18, 2014

A Case of Questions with John Kouphou, Executive Chef at Elea Estate, Paphos

Twitter has been very kind to me. I've "met" loads of interesting people and made several wine-related contacts. One of those is John Kouphou, Executive Chef at Elea Estate in Paphos since 2010, fellow wine aficionado, passionate Arsenal F.C. fan and Twitterati. He's worked in Dubai at The Atlantis and The Palm and has cooked up storms for a slew of celebrities including Bobby De Niro, Michael Jordan and Charlize Theron (lucky dog!). I haven't yet paid him a visit to sample his innovative Club House cuisine but it's on my never-ending bucket list. In any case, he was kind enough to set aside his sparkling spatulas and take a crack at the blog's short-but-sweet case of questions. Let's see how he fares.

Why wine?

CJK: Wine fits with any mood, social gathering (i.e., friends, family), time of day or [even] time of year.

First wine that really captured your attention? How old were you?

CJK: I was around seven years old during the 70s and my parents used to drink Mateus rose. I remember the shape of the bottle.

All-time favourite bottle of wine?

CJK: Chablis Premier Cru.

Favourite wine-producing region? Why?

CJK: Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand. [Its] oaky, acidic, crisp smokiness.

Your favourite food-and-wine pairing?

CJK: Any [involving] seafood.

What is Cyprus missing when it comes to wine?

CJK: The big wineries [Editor's note: I assume Chef John refers to KEO, LOEL, ETKO & Sodap] need to take a leaf out of the small bespoke wineries.

What do you foresee for Cyprus’s wine industry?

CJK: If the big wineries invest time and money in small wineries, we will be on the right road.

What do you enjoy most about your work in the food & wine world?

CJK: The endless possibilities of food and wine pairing.

What is your “Five Year Plan” for your business?

CJK: To continue to be innovative.

Who is your favourite wine personality? Why?

CJK: Kate Goodman [Host of a revamped Food and Drink on BBC Two.] She is a straightforward wine talker.

Any embarrassing episodes involving spilled wine, corkscrews, sommeliers or drunken behaviour?

CJK: I worked with a 4-foot Portuguese sommelier in the past. He was always drunk! [Smiley face] 

Of course, your all-time favourite island  wine?

CJK: I love the Zambartas Cabernet Franc/Lefkada Rose. You can taste the raspberries and pomegranate. Beautiful.

You can find Chef John on Facebook ( and on Twitter (@chefjohn_). He works his culinary magic in Paphos at Elea Estate.

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