Faces & Places en
Eleni, the Pirounaki and her Dowery collection
I was introduced to Eleni about 2 years ago by my friend Vasilis Kallidis. Back then, I was new in the game, I had no blog, I wasn’t a chef, I was new in the world of cooking and looked at Eleni in awe and admiration. To me she was a goddess! Now that I have accomplished all of the above, I still look at her with admiration and awe because, simply put, she really is a goddess!
Eleni is truly a walking rainbow. Her life is surrounded by lots and lots of bright bursting colours. Her trademark, her deep red lipstick. Her home, located in the center of Athens, is alive with colours, a fuschia covered wall, colorful assorted chairs, and lots and lots of rainbow coloured pillows. Her restaurant, To Pirounaki, has floral prints on the walls, chairs and lamp shades. Deep green tablecloths, royal purple napkins, canary yellow rugs. Her multicolored world is a reflection of her multicolored personality.
It’s isn’t an easy task writing about Eleni Psyhouli. She has accomplished so many things in her life. She has had so many fascinating experiences, that one does not know where to begin and where to end this Eleni fairytale…. If we start from the beginning, we’ll hear about her studies in French Literature, her 10 years in Paris, her first restaurant “Bee”, that shook the center of Athens’ nightlife to the core. We’ll hear about her impeccable writing style and about the thousands of articles she’s written and are found in almost every Greek magazine. Oh, and then there’s her TV show, “ Chef on Air”. And of course, last but not least, her amazing book “ Ι Eleni mageirevei tou kalou kairou”. There’s more, but I’ll stop here.
I’m going to skip all that and just tell you about her accomplishments over the last two years. So, about two years ago, Eleni decided to open up her boxes of different fabrics and materials she had collected throughout her travels, grabbed a needle, some threads and a pair of scissors and started making aprons, table cloths, kitchen towels, and anything that had to do with a housewife’s household. In other words, a dowery collection called Ïdi Proikos” that would fill our homes with textures and colors and she did it! Red polka dots flirted with exotic florals and got sewn together with an old piece of lace to become an apron. A modern pillow got paired up with grandma’s old fashioned crochet piece and became a piece or art. Kitsch and pop, girly and retro, everything put together and a tango of colours that brightens up your mood. Every single piece, truly unique and handsewn by Eleni.
Last year Eleni decided to go back to her hometown, Volos, and open up her own restaurant. She gathered up all her new masterpieces and her belongings, chose a beautiful neoclassic building in the center of Volos, and dressed it up with all the colours of the world. Lamp shades were covered in a pattern of flowers and lace, chairs were dressed up with bright floral prints, colourful mirrors were placed on the wall, while the staff got dressed up in her funky aprons and dresses. All this in an absolutely beautiful space that Eleni’s partners, architects Anna & Carlos Galanou, helped create.
Eleni was not satisfied by just adding her stroke of decor and fashion sense in her restaurant. It was not enough. She didn’t create a restaurant just to place her name on the marquee and sit around sipping coffee. She’s right in there. She’s the very soul of the place. She cooks, she helps with the preparations, she scouts out new local suppliers with the best grown Greek products, she answers the phones, and goes around greeting her customers making sure everyone is enjoying themselves and helping with the service. ( Now that Nektarios is there however, customer service needs no help ) She feels like she is welcoming her customers into her world, and that is very apparent.
With its wonderful Greek menu, cosmopolitan influences and colorful character, To Pirounaki, is a MUST for anyone visiting this picturesque town of Volos. Greek mezes, tsipouro (moonshine), homemade bread, organic meats, tantalizing tarts with goat’s butter and delicious desserts to end your fabulous meal. Eating at To Pirounaki feels like you are having a meal in a sunkissed garden filled with color and sea salt. The next best thing that you can imagine happening to you after this meal is lying down on a hammock, like we did when we were children after mom’s fantastic dinner, listening to the summer crickets.
Eleni dared to do what others only dream of. She left the big city life, went back to her small hometown and opened up her dream restaurant, where she greets her friends and fills their soul with mouthwatering tastes. Now do you understand why I look at her in awe?
#Love #Only ,
To Pirounaki – Ogl 20, Volos, Greece tel: +30 24210 21206
For Eleni’s Dowery Collection “Idi Proikos“, contact Eleni @ email@example.com