MEET | ANASTASIA KOUTSIOUKIS
What motivates me is doing what I love – if I could ever encourage one thing as an entrepreneur, it’s to listen to your inner voice and follow your passions. I feel that finding success and happiness is inevitable if you do something you enjoy and are good at. It will never feel like work. I found my creative voice in food. More so, it became my vehicle for reaching so many different people on so many different levels. Food is a connector to people and it allowed me to achieve so many of my dreams indirectly. First of all, I get to work with 75 individuals (that’s not including our outposts) who are unique, special and absolutely wonderful people. Whether they stay with us forever at Mandolin Aegean Bistro, or go on to pursue their own dreams, it’s exciting to know that we’ve touched each other’s lives in some way and that we’ve inspired others as they’ve inspired us. I’ve learned that we all have the capacity within us to achieve our dreams. Through hard work and determination, anything is possible. It’s also important to stay curious. My curiosity in life keeps me motivated daily – I’m not afraid to ask questions, try something new and learn even if I fail at it first time around. Also, my curiosity through travel has taught me so much and has brought perspective and real reference points in my life. It is important to first start with your own backyard though. When we moved to Miami we immersed ourselves into the community so we could learn about our city. From the local farming communities, to the culture around us and the people we surround ourselves with and support. Miami motivates me – if you want change, you must support change and become part of the change. Living in a young, emerging city and watching it grow keeps me inspired to share and make this city a better place. One thing in particular that I love about living in Miami, is its diverse cultural landscape. I have made many friends here, and through them, I was introduced to Techo, an organization that helps to build homes for those who are less fortunate in South American countries. We’ve been supporting the organization and continue to donate and host sponsored dinners at Mandolin while helping to create awareness. This year we hope to go and build a home ourselves with our family to help another family in need. Shelter and giving a family a sense of home is a basic need and provides the tools in creating hope for a better life.
More about Anastasia
Anastasia Koutsioukis, is the female force behind Mandolin – an Aegean bistro in Miami’s Design District that she co-owns with her Turkish husband, Ahmet Erkaya. A favorite among locals and international travelers, her restaurant focuses on simple Mediterranean, ingredient-driven food. The flavors she shares are the best of the Aegean, the region between Greece and Turkey. Coastal cuisine that focuses on seasonality and time-honored recipes. She’s a self-taught cook who learned from watching her mother and grandmother (her family is from Greece) in the kitchen. After living in NYC for over a decade working in the fashion and beauty industries, she decided to move to Miami with her husband (who was already in the restaurant business) to open their dream restaurant 8 years ago. It’s become a neighborhood compound set in a charming 1940’s home with an outdoor courtyard and large organic garden in the back. You are instantly transported to the Greek islands the minute you walk under the bouganvillea and through the blue gate. Although she loves to cook, it’s really her creative eye for details and hosting skills that makes you feel at home in her establishment. It was this effortless combination of simple food and genuine hospitality that attracted Soho House & Co. to partner with Anastasia and Ahmet two years ago to bring Mandolin outposts and the flavors of the Aegean to their London Shoreditch, Berlin and Istanbul houses. She has a passion for travel and design and is always sourcing for her restaurants. She also believes in building a strong community around her and to connect to food and the simple things in life is key to a happy living. This year she will be expanding her international brand with her new venture Mrsmandolin, bringing the Mandolin lifestyle under one roof. A café, market and shop that combines a food counter, artisanal Greek grocer, and a boutique with unique homewares and resortvwear that follows the ethos of the effortless ease of the Mediterranean lifestyle she loves. Mrsmandolin will open in late November 2017 in Miami.
You can find Anastasia’s restaurant and recipes published in many publications and blogs such as Elle magazine, style.com, vogue.com Miami Magazine, Ocean Drive Magazine, The Miami Herald, Nylon, Food and Wine, Bon Apetit, Fashion Canada, Vogue Spain, Vogue Brazil, Eyeswoon, Bonberi, Fashion for Men, Madame Figaro Greece and Morning Noon Night (soho house coffee table book). She’s lives in Miami’s Design District, a block away from her restaurant, with her husband Ahmet Erkaya and their three-year-old son, Alexander.