Kennedy Magazine’s founder, Chris Kontos, lived last year’s lockdown like most people, feeling deprived from the fundamental pastime of sharing a meal amongst friends and family. Whilst gathering in groups wasn’t possible, Chris came up with the idea of gathering a selected group of people in a book instead. All somehow related to food, some professional chefs, some merely food epicureans, they all pitched in with their favourite recipes and cuisine anecdotes. Marina Bautier, designer and spare time cooking enthusiast, also contributed to the publication which for the same reason is given a special launch at Bautier this Thursday, July 8.
Beside the fresh-out-of-the-press book, Kennedy and Bautier have come up with an additional design - what more appropriate for a new book than something to carry it in, a tote bag made out of Belgian linen in a limited edition colour. Both Kennedy and Bautier celebrate and support the handmade and the lasting which is manifested in the making of this bag.
Regarding Kennedy Magazine, where does the interest and belief in craftsmanship and the small makers derive from?
Since our first issue, Kennedy’s ethos was to showcase small scale menswear brands from across the globe. The reasons were of course as said ethical, a way to promote quality sustainable products from brands that pursue craftsmanship over volume. My choices, whether it’s clothes or furniture, are always centred around that. I understand it’s not easy for everyone to think small since the global market is huge but our buying choices are important even in the bigger scale of things.
What is your background - what did you do before setting up the magazine?
I have been a photographer all my life. Kennedy was born during the economic crisis as a way to focus on my most creative side and also as a way of opening a window to the world, outside of the mundane Greek market.
You’re about to release a book about eating with friends. For you, what is so essential about being able to sit down and enjoy a meal with friends?
I always thought sharing food is one of the most basic human needs. I realised a lot of my memories are based around those meals. It’s an almost primitive need, sharing tastes, textures, smells with others over conversation, glasses raising to a toast. It’s a coming together, a feast of life, a celebration.
How did you experience lockdown without the get-together and dinners? Did you yourself replace it with baking and home cooking too?
During Covid we were inviting two friends at home quite often. They were the only people we saw on a regular basis. We ate with them almost every week. It was our only entertainment really. We tried many amazing wines, and I cooked a lot of pasta for these dinners. We cooked a lot all this time and did many aperos with wine and small bites on almost a daily basis. It was the only way to survive the pandemic really. But unfortunately I gained so much weight which I’m now struggling to lose!
How is the social eating culture in Athens - is it custom that people/friends enjoy home cooked meals together in private settings or do they rather meet outside in restaurants?
Eating at home with friends is a rare thing here really. People like going out for dinner usually. It’s the mentality of Greeks to go out and most people don’t like to spend time at home in general. I would attribute this to the weather and also the fact that Greeks are quite outgoing and enjoy social life a lot. Also, I have the feeling that most people were not used to cooking at home until recently maybe. With Covid, I guess that changed a lot though and might change the going out habits a bit.
What would be your favourite setting for eating with friends? And what would you eat?
Pirgos taverna in Amorgos. Oven baked chickpeas!
All pictures by Chris Kontos