Haute Dining: Q&A with Chef Mavro of Mavro’s in Honolulu

Chef George “Mavro” Mavrothalassitis spends a lot of time on Twitter — he’s @ChefMavro — for someone who operates the only independently owned restaurant in Hawaii to earn the American Automobile Association (AAA) Five Diamond status — and for three consecutive years. Not to mention, his eponymous fine-dining restaurant simply named Mavro is the only restaurant in the state with Gayot Three Toques 18/20 rating and on the “Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.”

Yet, the beloved French chef with the unpronounceable Greek name finds time to tweet — just another way he connects with his loyal patrons, who flock to his Honolulu restaurant for his wildly popular fixed-price menus with exquisite wine pairings.

Mavro’s summer menu will debut on June 21.

Poha rice-crusted fresh catch on Mavro’s spring menu. Photo by Justin Morizono

So we chatted with the totally accessible chef to get his thoughts on food, running a restaurant and his favorite meals to date:

Haute Living: What is your culinary philosophy?
Chef Mavro: Regional cuisine wherever I am. Cooking from the local market with a local flair. We start from scratch every morning and empty our refrigerators every night. Fresh, fresh, fresh. (There’s) no feezer in the house.

HL: What is the inspiration behind your menus?
CM: Flavors combinations that I discover either by accident or because I was looking for them. I am inspired by the scents and the flavors of Hawaii.

HL: What’s been your biggest challenge?
CM: To meet my own expectations.

HL: What is the most rewarding part of owning your own restaurant?
CM: No investors, no partners. I am in total control.

What’s the best thing you ever ate?
CM: Day-boat catch topped with ogo, served with a puree of fresh pacific oysters flavored with garam masala. The combination of garam masala (house made) with fresh oyster is amazing. In addition the ogo give to the dish a licorice overtone. This was one of my favorite creation (until the next one…) And oxtail soup from Kam Bowl; unfortunately, they are closed now.

Mavro, 1969 S. King St. in Honolulu, 808.944.4714

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