How I Got Here: Andreas Labridis

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

How I Got Here with Modern Greek Food Group CEO Andreas Labridis

Related tags: Greek cuisine, Restaurant, Michelin

Former investment banker Andreas Labridis is CEO of the Modern Greek Food Group, which operates Opso in London's Marylebone; PITTABUN in Soho; and the two Michelin-starred Funky Gourmet in Athens.

Why restaurants?
I love everything about them. All restaurants under our Modern Greek Food Group tell a unique story about the accumulation of ideas and people coming together to deliver on a vision. Opso is our restaurant where we express our take on modern Greek comfort food influenced from the rich Greek culinary heritage and prepared from the finest ingredients we source from all across our land. PITTABUN is our grab-and-go model that expresses our take on modern Greek street food. And Funky Gourmet in Athens is our avant-garde Greek food restaurant. I am fascinated by the ability of delivering different versions of Greek cuisine through our restaurants. 

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career? 
That common sense is not very common.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your own)? 
I love the diversity of JKS group in UK.

Coffee or tea? 
Definitely coffee, made to perfection. I have an espresso machine at home and I like to try various coffee beans that I buy from small independent roasters and coffee shops.

How often do you check your email? 
Pretty much all the time. There is always something new that pops up and that needs to be done.

What motivates you? 
The head nodding of each guest when they take their first bite and their smile after a meal.

What keeps you up at night? 
Our next restaurant concept, which is coming soon…

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
I am so happy I met and chose the right partners. With Georgianna Chiliadaki and Nikos Roussos (executive chefs of the group and co-owners) we are a perfect match. We share the same vision and philosophy, and tend to have a challenging influence on each other. 

What’s your signature dish to cook at home?
I am a granola maker. I love playing with the textures and flavours of any ingredient that can be combined in a granola. I try to present to the family a new granola combination every week. 

Typical Sunday? 
Sunday is probably my favourite day of the week, as it’s a day I can visit our restaurants as a guest. I usually have brunch at Opso. Ι start with two single espresso and a bowl of Opso granola on Greek yoghurt. Then green kayanas (Greek scrambled eggs) with spicy avocado mash and barrel matured feta cheese. Finish with the famous very berry pancake. A stroll around Marylebone or Soho, making my way towards Carnaby, where I visit PITTABUN for lunch - lamb sunday roast bun please!

Worst business decision?
A couple of years ago a property opportunity arose in London, at the same time as we were about to open PITTABUN and launch the first Opso franchise in Dubai. It was a really good site in the perfect location. We then felt overwhelmed by our workload and passed on the opportunity. That site is now buzzing every day of the week, and I wish the guys that run it the best of luck.

Best business decision? 
Quitting my day job in the bank and entering the restaurant industry!

Favourite holiday destination? 
The islands of Greece. The island of Kithira in particular is one of my favourite summer destinations with great beaches to relax and local delicacies.

What was your dream job growing up? 
I wanted to become a vet, but the thought of not being able to save every pet was something I could not come to terms with.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
One step at a time. Master what you are good at and make your team your second family.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be? 
The perception that our industry is not fitting for a long term career. If young people entering the industry realise the potential the industry has to offer, through hard work and continuous learning, then probably they would consider hospitality as a long term career option rather than a short term stint.

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