CHRISTMAS IN PAPHOS
CHRISTMAS & New Year AT ELYSIUM
Elysium Christmas & NYE Festivities 2021/22
Christmas in Paphos – With Christmas fast approaching, we took the opportunity to speak with the General Manager, Christos Papamiltiadous and Michael Lipscombe, Executive Head Chef, at the Elysium Hotel in Paphos, to find out about the exciting events planned for Christmas & New Year 2021.
Meet the General Manager of Elysium Hotel
Christos Papamiltiadous was born and raised in Paphos. After he finished school, he went to Switzerland to study before starting his career in international hotels. He returned to Cyprus and joined the Stademos Hotel Group in 1999, working at the Mediterranean Beach Hotel in Limassol. In 2002, with the opening of the Elysium, he relocated and has been there ever since. Today, he is the General Manager of the hotel and leads a team of over 300 staff. He lives in Paphos with his wife and two children.
We asked him …
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE HOSPITALITY YOUR CAREER?
I enjoy meeting people and relish doing new things on a daily basis. As a young man, it was essential for me always to do an interesting job. A typical day might be meeting with the Head Chef to try out a new menu, reading accounting reports, dealing with an engineer to sort out maintenance, and, of course, interacting with our guests. The hotel has a capacity of 600 guests. My job is never dull and often presents challenges, which I enjoy. I have a strong team here who help and support me in providing the ultimate guest experience.
WHAT ARE THE CHRISTMAS PLANS AT THE ELYSIUM THIS YEAR?
We are really looking forward to Christmas at the Elysium this year, and we have planned a full itinerary of different events. The Christmas programme runs from Christmas Eve through to Russian Christmas on 7th January 2022. On Christmas Day, we will have a traditional Christmas Lunch, served under the supervision of our English Executive Chef, Michael Lipscombe.
On Boxing Day, we will have a very extensive Buffet, which will also be available on New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Eve, we will have a Gala Dinner to see in 2022. We are passionate about Christmas at the Elysium and have been planning the occasion for a long time. Our festivities will finish on 7th January with Russian Christmas Day, which will be a dinner of Russian delicacies for our guests and locals in Paphos.
With our Christmas decorations on show throughout December, we will have special events with music, and our famous Afternoon Tea will have a Christmas twist. In addition, this year, we are delighted to offer the facility for non-residents to come to the Elysium and buy from our extensive selection of Christmas cakes and sweet treats for the festive season. These will include, Truffles, Pralines, Stollen cakes and traditional Christmas cakes. They will be available to be taken home and enjoyed over the holidays.
WHICH RESTAURANT IS YOUR FAVOURITE AT THE HOTEL?
I don’t have a favourite one, as it all depends on what I feel like eating at the time. If I want sushi, then I would favour O’Shin Restaurant, if Italian, our flagship, Ristorante Bacco, for a snack, Café Occidental, and for Cypriot food, the Mediterraneo Restaurant. We also have other restaurants so that we can give our guests a great dining selection.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE ELYSIUM HOTEL IS SO PRESTIGIOUS?
Our success is almost entirely down to our staff. The attention to detail and the service they offer, with a smile, is what makes the difference to our guests. We have a very high rate of returning guests, which confirms that we are getting it right. They say they cannot get this level of service anywhere else, which is reflected in our online reviews. Obviously, the high standard of our cuisine and large variety of dining options also makes a huge difference.
TELL US ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE OF THE ELYSIUM.
All the architecture reflects the history of the whole Island. Elements from the Roman, Venetian, Greek, Byzantine, French and British cultures are all apparent, showing their influences as they passed through Cyprus. For example, they are demonstrated in the Venetian arches and French windows which run throughout the hotel. In addition, we have a replica of a Roman Pool, and the façade of the hotel reflects medieval times.
Meet the Executive Head Chef of Elysium Hotel
Michael Lipscombe arrived at the Elysium Hotel in Paphos in January 2019, to take up the Executive Head Chef position. After an awe-inspiring professional career in the UK, he relocated to Cyprus with his Cypriot wife and two children. Michael knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a chef. He has worked in different kitchens in London and Ascot, including, The Ivy. He has also worked with some of the top names in the industry, including Raymond Brown, Gary Rhodes, Jason Atherton and Albert Roux. Today, he leads a team of 65 in the kitchens, covering all the restaurants at this 5-star hotel, with the sole aim to further grow the reputation for excellent fine dining.
We asked him …
HOW HAVE YOU SETTLED INTO LIFE IN CYPRUS?
I love Cyprus and can only see us going back to the UK for family holidays. Although a great deal of my time is spent working, I am so happy that my family enjoys our new lifestyle. The only thing I miss is the availability of various produce for my work. However, I love the way that, in Paphos, you can go out anywhere within 15 minutes and be at an excellent taverna, or in the beautiful mountains, trying great local wineries. People here are more passionate, warm and welcoming. The weather we are enjoying throughout the whole year is superb. I also admire the traditions of the Cypriot people and the way they are patriotic to their country.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR CHRISTMAS?
I will be working, as this is a hectic time of year for us. We are planning a classic British Christmas at the hotel with all the traditional trimmings – brussel sprouts with roasted chestnuts and smoked bacon, roasted potatoes in goose fat and red cabbage, etc. with all the flavours of Christmas. The turkey will be cooked using a unique method, which will keep it moist. At the moment, we are trying to source our turkeys for the big day from Norfolk.
We started making our Christmas puddings in August, to make sure all the fruits and nuts are thoroughly marinated. Traditional Christmas dishes are special for everyone, and they should never be played with or changed.
TELL US ABOUT …
NEW AFTERNOON TEA EXPERIENCE AT ELYSIUM
We are constantly evolving at the Elysium so that we exceed our guests’ expectations. There are many exciting plans for the future, including the relaunch of our famous Afternoon Tea. This has always been an exceptional experience at the Elysium and has become a tradition for visitors to and the residents of Paphos. With the addition to my team of Sylvain Bardon, our Executive Pastry Chef, we are working on a new Afternoon Tea experience, which will start in December. Sylvan is French and has worked extensively in both Cyprus and the UK, where he worked with Marcus Wareing at Petrus.
CHRISTMAS POP-UP PÂTISSERIE AT ELYSIUM
We are also excited about our pop-up Pâtisserie, which will be open at the Elysium throughout December, to enable people to take home some of the most popular sweet treats from the hotel. We are opening this due to our clients’ demands for take-home desserts for a dinner party or a traditional Christmas cake for the family table. It offers the chance to take a little piece of Elysium home with you. Both Sylvain and I have been working on this for quite some time.
SERIES OF FRESH TRUFFLE DINNERS AT ELYSIUM
As a serious truffle lover, I am looking forward to our series of Truffle dinners, which will start from 15th October. For me, as a Chef, it is a privilege to work with this delicacy. The truffle will be served in either a 5-course menu or a specific truffle course of choice in our Bacco Restaurant. A true Italian truffle-fest. Diners should book early, as these special dinners will only last as long as we have our supply of fresh truffles. Once they are gone, they are gone!
WHAT IS YOUR NORMAL STYLE OF COOKING?
First and foremost, I always use the seasons for my cooking. It is crucial to use ingredients at their prime. Seasonality and clean flavours would aptly describe my food. I like to use prime cuts, along with cheaper cuts on the plate, such as aged Angus beef, with a 24-hour braised shin. I also like to use pickled elements in my dishes to bring balance, such as roasted carrots, then raw perfectly pickled shaved carrots, would be an example. I believe in not covering food with too many flavours and hiding behind garnishes that do not need to be on the plate. Cooking also depends on the time of year, as during the winter and summer months, different dishes are more appealing. As we enter the winter season, we are using more hearty ingredients and braising our meats.
CAN YOU SHARE A TOP COOKING TIP WITH US?
My biggest tip would be to always let the fresh ingredients speak for themselves. You can use the same ingredients in a variety of ways. I would also recommend slow cooking and not rushing the process. This way, you do not lose the flavours – always be brave and adventuresome – but always remember that planning is the key to a great meal. If you don’t plan, prepare to fail.
Contact Elysium Hotel to Find Out More – Here
Interview by Sarah Coyne
This Interview was originally published in print but has been updated with new information and seasonal events.
Published by Cyprus in Style Magazine | October 2021 | #InStyleBusinessNetwork | Christmas in Paphos
Copyright Cyprus in Style Magazine 2021 – All rights reserved
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Copyright Cyprus in Style Magazine 2021 – All rights reserved / Christmas in Paphos