Leonardo Garcia, Head Chef at Attic, speaks of his passion for the culinary arts and all things Greek.
What ignited your love for cooking, did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
My father was a great cook. This passion started when I was a kid, at home we always had big tables with friends and good food.
Where are you from and what made you decide to specialise in Greek cuisine?
I’m from the beautiful Venezuela, where the Caribbean starts and the Amazon begins, famous for its natural resources and beautiful women.
The first time I visited Greece was in 2004 for a holiday to Mykonos. And that was it, I fell in love with the island, its way of living, its culture and the Greek people. So, I decided to move to live in Greece and for the next 16 years I travelled all over the country, learning more about its traditions and gastronomy.
Something that is very special about Greece is the quality their products – for example, just good tomatoes, olive oil and salt. Heaven! It just caught me.
My wife is Greek and now we have a two-month-old Greek baby born in Bahrain, so definitely Greece and Bahrain are part of my life!
What is your favourite thing to cook for yourself and your signature dish for the restaurant?
Bread, feta and olive oil. These are the things that we can never be without at home. Lately also dates. My wife loves dates.
My speciality for the restaurant is lamb shoulder roasted in the charcoal oven. Greek lamb, if you have ever had it, is unique in its quality and flavour. So, the challenge here in Bahrain, was to try to recreate that with the lamb we have available. To do that we use Australian lamb and slow cook it in the oven for around four-and-a-half to five hours, so that the meat and the fat become buttery, then it is finished in the charcoal oven so the fat is crispy and the meat is deliciously tender with the smoky flavour from the coals. It is something our guests love.
How do you spend your spare time here in Bahrain?
I try to visit the local restaurants. I like Bahraini food, especially Machboos. I also enjoy sailing and fishing and Bahrain has beautiful, small virgin islands to visit by boat.✤