Born in New York and raised by Greek immigrant parents, Ari Vezené is a self-taught chef and butcher, who decided to return to Greece and take his chances on a new venture. He never really thought to compare Athens to New York, same as Jobs never really thought to compare his Mac to the PC. He just carved out his own path. He initially created Trattoria Vezenè in 2008, a seasonal, Italian-inspired establishment on the island of Meganisi, and then expanded to Athens with a second restaurant in 2011, determined to make Greeks fall in love with sustainable, humanely raised beef. He was the first chef to propagate the nose-to-tail approach, while his intimate relationship with the fruit of the sea made for a very idiosyncratic menu, where he plays off his childhood memories on the island, coupled with painstaking smoking and roasting techniques he picked up during his travels through the Southern US and Mexico.
Young and passionate, he has an unabashedly sexual approach to food and an enduring love for his homeland’s sea urchin and his mother’s spaghetti Bolognese. Vezené is personal cookery at its best, practicing egalitarian food politics that always keep this modest-sized bistro perfectly balanced. Can’t find a table? Keep trying cause it’s worth it. Dangerously leaning towards over ordering? The servers will point out that portions are best enjoyed when shared. But Vezené doesn’t stop there. Through the Embrace event series, Ari shares the limelight with some of the world’s most influential chefs, an alchemical experience where guests share and learn techniques, leaving this tiny outpost of Greek creativity wiser and better people. And that goes for both the chefs and those lucky enough to taste their food.
But no matter what you do, don’t leave without trying “Ari’s Deal Closer”, even if you don’t have the necessary four people required to finish it. As someone once mentioned on Twitter, this irreverent ice cream tower (featuring Madagascar vanilla ice cream, chocolate tart, Brazil nuts, shaved Gianduja flakes, bitter chocolate fudge and butterscotch, pierced with a butcher’s knife) has made so many appearances on social media, it’s in urgent need of its very own manager!