joined December 02 2018
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Bio:

Chef Joseph Koumpounis' passion for food & curiosity for cooking/baking began early on, directly inspired by his grandmother Antigoni, for whom his restaurant gets its rightful moniker from. Raised in the culturally & historically rich metropolis of Athens Greece, as a proud son of a chef & operator, Joseph carries on the love & respect of quality & tradition passed down through generations. Less than a decade after arriving state-side Joseph embarked on his culinary journey in the Washington DC area & immediately after graduating from the Baltimore International Culinary College in Maryland he sought out opportunities both near & far to further refine his craft & develop his own style.

His culinary repertoire flourished under the direct tutelage & mentorship of instructor & accomplished certified master pastry chef, Jan Bandula of BICC; that followed with stints in the area's finest haunts ran by the likes of Mark Miller, Ann Amernick, chef Morou & many others. Joseph even tested his chops at 4-diamond hotels & resorts from southern Florida to northern Massachusetts, which later steered his career path to land a notable contracted position with world-renowned Relais Chateaux & Gourmand. After staging, internships & working up & down the east coast he made his way out west & worked his way up the kitchen ranks to assistant and/or executive pastry chef status for Hilton Hotels, the Grand Hyatt, Cohn Restaurant Group, La Valencia & Rancho Valencia, as well as Tracy Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group & Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts.

After adding his mark onto the blossoming San Diego culinary landscape during the turn of the millennium, chef Joseph Koumpounis stepped away from the industry to pursuit other life passions & carve out new career aspirations. More recently Joseph consulted on menu planning & recipe development for chefs & restaurants throughout Southern California & was even offered the executive pastry chef position to Brian Redzikowski's award-winning Kettner Exchange. Currently he is contributing his accumulated knowledge & expertise as lead consulting chef & head of restaurant relations to an innovative online marketplace for chefs & restaurants called Chef Meal Kits. Additional accolades include: completing an epicurean patisserie abroad program, graduating at the top of his class, a member of the American Culinary Federation, dishes featured on Good Morning America, recipes published in Gourmet Magazine, plus a team member of an invited kitchen to the one & only chef mecca of America, The James Beard House.

Name:

Antigoni's Taverna respectfully gets its name from chef's beloved grandmother, who was the initial spark in his culinary arts pursuit. One of the earliest & most fond memory of his youth is of himself standing on a chair grinding nuts through an old food mill attached to the table, while yaya Antigoni (with the aid of his mother Bathsheba) stretched & folded homemade phyllo for dessert. Some of these featured dishes are merely inspired by Antigoni's home cooked meals & others are variations of her very own recipes.

Approach:

Authentic homestyle Greek food from the historic Attica prefecture, along with direct influences from the nearby Saronic Islands & the Cyclades. Fresh & simple cuisine with an ingredient-forward approach, passed down from generation to generation. Although some dishes are time-taking, they're mostly hands-off & perfect for sharing with friends, family & loved ones. Pair it with Universal's Mamma Mia 2 for the perfect dinner & a movie experience!

Letter:

Yassas from all of us at Antigoni's Taverna. We're honored to be welcomed into your home kitchen & hope you enjoy preparing our meal kits for your dinner guests as much as we do for ours. We recommend pairing our kits with authentic Greek beers/wines & letting the ABBA sing-a-longs naturally ensue. Although opa is often used for cheers, it's more common to use yamas, which literally means "to y/our health".

- Joseph
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January 22, 2019
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