Executive Chef - Blue Olive Market
Grand Tasting, Saturday March 29, 2014
Once known throughout New York and New Jersey as the creative Chef/Owner of INNOVA Cuisine, George Mandakas has joined the Kellari Hospitality Group and is now making his mark on the areas culinary scene as the Executive Chef and General Manager of the Blue Olive Market, Café and Wine Bar located in Midtown Manhattan. Stemming from a culinary background heavily rooted in artisanal fare and molecular gastronomy, George shares the same philosophy of sustainable eating that his new venture evokes. At the Blue Olive Market, his role is multi-faceted, including managing the day to day operations while also curating the market’s fresh, healthy menu and inspiring roster of local purveyors and artisanal goods. A champion to the little guy, George has personally scoured the tri-state area to uncover small artisan businesses producing tasty creations that he knows Blue Olive Market’s Midtown clientele will cling to and that he can leverage into the café’s daily menus. Utilizing fresh, local ingredients to create traditional Greek and Mediterranean fare is one reason why the Market’s daily offerings are receiving such rave reviews. As a Chef, George has been recognized for his balanced and responsible use of modernist techniques and respect for traditional cuisine. Noted for his dynamic catering menus and Pop-Up restaurant events, his culinary influences are evident throughout the menu and products featured at the Blue Olive Market. One such feature has been his creation of the markets unique and one-of-a-kind Greek Yogurt Bar. By applying 21st Century technology to ancient ingredients, George has created New York City’s only REAL frozen Greek Yogurt product. An instant favorite amongst Blue Olive’s customers, his cryogenic creation has been lauded by Travel Leisure Magazine as “The World’s Best Frozen Yogurt”. Once again, George has found a way to exploit the scientific techniques he developed as a published research scientist by applying them to his passion for creative cuisine.
Known for his jovial and welcoming persona, George has personalized the entire grocer to consumer experience by developing ‘meet the purveyor’ nights that connect the markets guests with the areas local farmers, vintners, cheese makers, bakers and other culinary artisans. To further engage his audience, George welcomes his fellow chef’s into the Blue Olive Market to offer cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes. Through these events the markets guests get to meet the faces behind Blue Olive Market’s offerings and learn firsthand about their passion for their craft.
Beyond the Blue Olive Market, George is also recognized as an artisan producer himself and has been successfully marketing his own line of jams, jellies and marmalades called Innova Jams. In fact, it would be by a chance encounter with the Blue Olive Markets’ owner over a spoonful of his Caramelized Vidalia Onion jam that would eventually lead him to where he is today. As expected, his signature Caramelized Vidalia Onion Jam, which was heralded on ABC-TV’s “The Chew” will be part of the inaugural Black Label Series of products showcased at Blue Olive Market.