Mavrothalassitis is chef/proprietor of Chef Mavro restaurant
in Honolulu and a founding member
of Hawaii Regional Cuisine. In 2003 he won the prestigious
James Beard Foundation award as the Best Chef in Hawaii and
the Pacific Northwest.
Mavrothalassitis was born on the port in Marseilles, the
capital of sunny Provence, surrounded by the passionate calls
of fishmongers and the farm-fresh flavors of southern France.
His award-winning French-Hawaii cuisine is also rooted in
training with numerous masters of contemporary French cuisine
and his experience as owner of the Restaurant Mavro in
Marseilles and the Restaurant La Presqu'ile in the seaside
village of Cassis.
Current influences are from his life in Hawaii and he
loves to tell the story of his first morning in Honolulu. “At
sunrise I looked out over Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head and I
said to myself - That’s it! I’m home!” Ever since that day
1988, Chef Mavro has embraced the multi-ethnic people and
foods of Hawaii and become close friends with dozens of
boutique farmers and specialty fisherman. On the occasion of
the 5th anniversary of Chef Mavro restaurant in December 2003,
he gathered his longtime purveyors around a Chef’s Table to
honor them as the foundation of his success.
One example among so many is Mavro’s partnership with
Island-born vanilla farmer Jim Reddekopp and their launch of
the Hawaiian vanilla industry in Honolulu and again in New
York. His dedication to quality is legendary. As his fresh
fish buyer, Don Leong of Honolulu’s Wing Sing Seafood,
comments “Chef Mavro is picky picky picky!”
“Sometimes buying local means the cost is higher and
sometimes it takes more time but the reward is huge. Local
farmers succeed and my guests enjoy fresh, regional
ingredients and a dining experience they could have only in
Hawaii,” explains Mavrothalassitis.
This may be the only restaurant of its caliber in the
world completely dedicated to food and wine pairing. Instead
of a wine list, every menu selection is presented with a wine
pairing offered by the glass. The selection process created by Mavro makes this even more unique. Four times a year on
Mondays when the restaurant is closed, he convenes a committee
of twenty five including his cooks, wait staff, and food and
wine media. Together they carry out a blind tasting of a
variety of wines with each of his recipes. The winning
pairings, to be enjoyed by guests for the following three
months, are selected based on a democratic vote.
Mavro continues as an advisor to Hawaii culinary programs
and always finds time to meet with young chefs seeking his
guidance. On numerous occasions he has created advanced
cooking classes for his staff and has given master classes at
various culinary schools. His charitable activities are
focused on the arts with a special dedication to Hawaii Public
Radio (HPR). Twice a year since 2000, he has turned the
restaurant over to HPR for fundraising dinners that have
become signature events in the community.
In 2004 he began offering “Food Network-style” cooking
classes at his restaurant through gourmetcookinghawaii.com.
“Cooking for the Love of It!” offers a rare up-close
experience with Chef Mavro and includes demonstrations,
tastings, wine pairings and, as always, entertaining stories!
He recently launched his first product, Chef Mavro
Signature LION Organic Kona blend coffee selected by the same
process he developed to determine the restaurant’s famous wine
pairings. The choice of LION Organic was unanimous after a
blind tasting of many top brands followed by a democratic vote
of his expert staff. The coffee is available in Hawaii
supermarkets and from the
GOURMET Magazine’s veteran restaurant critic Caroline
Bates noted, "Honolulu has never had a chef like George Mavrothalassitis…his creative cooking and high standards have
given the city a dining experience comparable to a three-star
restaurant's in France.” Gourmet editors also singled out Chef
Mavro as “where we would eat if we had only one night in
He has made numerous appearances at The James Beard
Foundation in New York, including the annual Editor’s Dinner.
He has appeared on CNN, numerous shows on The Food Network,
PBS "Great Chefs in America,” Discovery Channel’s “Home
Matters,” the Travel Channel’s “The Tourist,” NBC’s Travel
Café, and many others.
Gayot’s Best of Hawaii bestowed their coveted “18/20”
rating, the first and only restaurant so highly rated in
Hawaii. Mavrothalassitis was recognized as one of “America’s
Top Six Chefs” in a Wine Spectator cover story on the masters
of food and wine pairing. The New York Times veteran food
critic R.W. Apple gave “the top mark” to Chef Mavro
restaurant, and Bon Appétit food writer Martin Booe summed it
up as “Hawaiian cuisine meets a master’s technique.” Travel &
Leisure writers Ted and Matt Lee concluded, “at Mavro we found
our culinary Valhalla.”
Chef Mavro is the only Hawaii restaurant to earn Esquire
Magazine’s top award, “America’s Best New Restaurants” and the
only independently owned and operated restaurant in Hawaii to
hold The American Automobile Association (AAA) Four Diamond
This restaurant was the first in Hawaii to use streaming
video to offer an online cooking lesson. The video on the
restaurant website www.chefmavro.com features Chef Mavro
preparing his Onaga Baked in a Hawaiian Salt Crust while
standing in the waves of Waikiki.