Justin Knelange

From Grandma's Kitchen to new Culinary Horizons

In conversation with our new head chef Panos Fakos

As a small boy, Panos was introduced to the world of spices and cooking by his loving grandmother. Food has always played a big role in his upbringing where his mother and her sister paved the path to trying new foods, especially eastern recipes. He recognized the nourishing nature of food and witnessed the wide range of emotions it could evoke when transformed into a meal. This realization made cooking his happy place.

"I felt it's dynamic and along with all that nature has to offer, it taught me that it could be our medicine as well. 'Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food,' as Hippocrates said."

In our conversation with Panos, he takes us on a journey through his life story, from growing up in Greece to his path leading him here. He also shares some information about the new menu.


Portrait of head chef Panos Fakos - Our head chef from Greece Justin Knelange

With: Panos Fakos

"It all began on a scorching hot morning in August 1996 when an inquisitive baby boy named Panos was born in Patras, Greece. I was raised in a loving environment where food played multiple roles and had a nourishing character. That's when my journey with produce and herbs began as I witnessed the myriad of emotions they could evoke when transformed into a meal."

In a family like his, Panos was introduced to many different dishes and ingredients. "Lunch was always something to look forward to. I can still vividly recall my grandmother's house, full of aromas and delicious food. We would knead bread and bake quiches, activities that warm my heart."

Panos speaks about his family with nothing but love. They are the people who instilled in him a love for food, cooking, and spices. "My godfather taught me the mystical power of fire and how to create desserts to die for", Panos adds. The knowledge he acquired from people throughout his life now informs his current work.

Nowadays, Panos enjoys working with lots of different ingredients and spends a significant amount of time in the kitchen working with food, just like his family. "I always considered the kitchen my happy place, because its the place that many acts of love and offering happens. I really enjoy the combination of a Mediterrean base with a layer of Indian spices and some Japanese toppings."


Spices and ingredients our head chef Panos Fakos works with - Justin Knelange, Panos Fakos

This blend of family, culture, and food forms the foundation of Panos' current culinary creations and led him to discover Mediamatic."I was sitting on my couch, looking for places with interesting food and an alternative philosophy. I just saw an ad about workshops at Mediamatic, so it was like heaven on earth for me when I saw the Aquaponics, Clean Lab and Aroma Lab." 

At Mediamatic, we grow a lot of the food used in the kitchen ourselves. In our Aquaponics facility, we nurture a diverse range of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. Additionally, we harvest lots of mushrooms from the pigeon towers we build around the building. All of which you can taste and experience in our new menu.

Curious about the new menu, we asked him: "so, what's the new menu going to be like?" The best way he could describe it, is that the menu will be like a rollercoaster. "First course, you start with a fresh and cold gazpacho accompanied by a spicy crostini", he shared. "Then we will take a hike in the forest to find a dish with earthy vegetables burried under soil with a creamy burnt bell peper and hibiscus sauce. Continuing our journey, we will go towards the ocean to smell and experience a taste like salmon, smoked tuna and admire the endless blue. After a ginger bite to clear your palate from all the fishyness, we will enjoy a dessert like sun therapy: rich of vitamin D and evoking nostalgia."


Head Chef Panos Fakos cutting food in our kitchen - Justin Knelange

With: Panos Fakos

We were very interested to know: what's next? "Well, the sky is the limit", he says. "I will enjoy the journey and explore all of the windows of opportunity that will open doors to new experiences. I love the fact that i can go to Aquaponics and pick up my own herbs and that Mediamatic is not only a restaurant but an Art Center. I can be super creative and  be inspired by so many artists and also inspire them with my food. I hope the final destination of my work will leave my footprint of creativity and passion"

From the 31st of May 2023, you can experience Panos' exciting new menu at Mediamatic ETEN and our Serres Séparées. Please visit our restaurant page for more information.