Nikolaos Tselementes

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Nikolaos Tselementes
(Νικόλαος Τσελεμεντές)
Exampela, Sifnos, Greece
Died2 March 1958 (aged 79-80)
Culinary career
Cooking styleGreek, French
Previous restaurant(s)
  • Hermes Hotel, Athens
    St. Moritz Hotel, New York

Nikólaos Tselementés (Greek: Νικόλαος Τσελεμεντές) (1878 – 2 March 1958) was a Greek chef and cookbook author of the early 20th century. He is considered one of the most influential cookery writers of modern Greece, specialising in both Greek and French cuisine.

Biography and career[edit]

He was born in Exampela (Εξάμπελα), a village on the island of Sifnos and grew up in Athens, where he finished high school. At first, he worked as a notary clerk, then he started cooking, working at his father's and uncle's restaurant.

He studied cooking for a year in Vienna and, on his return to Greece worked for various embassies. He became initially known with the magazine Cooking Guide (Odigos Mageirikis) that he began publishing in 1910, which included – in addition to recipes – nutritional advice, international cuisine, cooking news, etc.

In 1919, he became manager of hotel "Hermes", while the next year he left for America, where he worked in some of the more expensive restaurants of the world, while also following higher studies in cooking, confectionery and dietetics.

In 1930, he published the influential cookbook Cooking and Patisserie Guide (Οδηγός μαγειρικής και ζαχαροπλαστικής,).[1][2]

He returned to Greece in 1932, founded a small cooking and confectionery school and brought out his well-known book of recipes, which, being the first complete cookbook in Greek, had over fifteen official reprints during the following decades. In 1950,[3] he published his only book in English, Greek Cookery.[4]

Influenced by French cuisine, he had been the moderniser of Greek cuisine as, thanks to him, the Greek housewives learned of béchamel sauce, pirozhki, and bouillabaisse.[5][6] He created also the modern versions of mousaka, pastitsio, and anginares (artichokes) alla polita.

His surname, Tselementes, is today in Greece a synonym of "cookbook", and is also used in jest about someone who can cook very well.


  • Aglaia Kremezi (1996). "Nikolas Tselementes". In Walker, Harlan (Ed.) (1996). Cooks and Other People, (Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, 1995). Totnes: Prospect Books. ISBN 0907325726. pp 162–169 Text at Google Books


  1. ^ REYNOLDS, JONATHAN (April 4, 2004). "Greek Revival". New York Times. Retrieved June 7, 2016.; source mistakenly says 1920
  2. ^ Worldcat
  3. ^ Tselementes, Nikolaos (1950). Greek Cookery. NY: Divry. (see WorldCat listings).
  4. ^ Weinraub, Judith (August 11, 2004). "Back to the Classics". Washington Post. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Cullather, Nick (2007). "The Foreign Policy of the Calorie". The American Historical Review. 112 (2): 337–364. doi:10.1086/ahr.112.2.337. PMID 17907347.
  6. ^ The Tselementes effect on greek cooking

Translated from Νικόλαος Τσελεμεντές in the Greek Wikipedia