Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: George Mavrothalassitis aka Chef Mavro
Occupation: chef/owner, Chef Mavro restaurant
College major: Culinary
Facebook: George Mavrothalassitis
Pinterest: Chef Mavro Restaurant
Short bio: Food lovers come from all over the world to savor the trend-setting flavor combinations and wine pairings created each season by Chef George Mavrothalassitis and his young culinary team. Executive Chef Jeremy Shigekane and Pastry Chef Jose Calpito are culinary stars in their own right who contribute significantly to the restaurant’s enduring success.
Mavro is a founding member of Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) and is one of the only three Hawaii chefs to earn the prestigious James Beard award. Born in the sunny Mediterranean city of Marseilles in Provence, Mavro has set deep roots in Hawaii over the last 29 years embracing the people and taking inspiration from their diverse culinary traditions. A champion of Hawaii’s fishermen and boutique farmers, he comments: “Sometimes buying local means the cost is higher and it takes more time but local farmers succeed and my guests enjoy fresh, regional ingredients and a dining experience they could have only in Hawaii.”
Mavro continues to provide frequent advanced workshops in Hawaii’s culinary schools and serves on the executive board of the Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation. He created an original two-day program, Restaurant Reality, offered twice a year as free advanced training for Hawaii culinary students. His charitable activities are focused on the arts in Hawaii with a special dedication to Hawaii Public Radio.
Chef Mavro is the only independently owned restaurant in Hawaii with the American Automobile Association (AAA) Five Diamond award (2008-2017), and the highest food rating in Hawaii, Three Toques (18/20) and Gayot’s “Top 40 Restaurants in the U.S.” Wine Spectator recognized Chef Mavro as one of the eleven “most important French chefs working in America” along with Alain Ducasse, Pierre Gagnaire, Daniel Boulud, and others.
How often do you fly? 6-8 times a year.
How many countries have you been to? About 20 including Germany, Belgium, UK, Italy, Spain, Greece, Tunisia, Egypt, Switzerland, US, Japan, Canada, Tahiti, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile.
How many continents have you been to? 6. All except Antarctica.
Earliest travel memory: Italy when I was 14. I visited the Piedmont, a meal where we ate outside in a restaurant everything served from the grill. Shrimp, meat, vegetables. Especially grilled peaches flambéed with Straga.
Favorite American city: New York so much to do that I don’t want to go to sleep.
Favorite international city: Paris. No city in the whole world has the vibe of Paris.
Least favorite country: I have liked every single country I went to.
I have no desire to go to: If you come to me with a ticket to go anywhere and I had to leave tomorrow, there is nowhere that I would refuse to go.
Friendliest people in the world: New Zealand.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: I never had any trouble with any immigration officers.
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Pyramids and the Valley of the Kings.
Favorite airline: Cathay Pacific.
Favorite aircraft type: Airbus.
Aisle or window: Window. I always travel with my wife so I like the intimacy of the window and aisle on the side.
Favorite airport lounge: Air France in Athens.
Favorite U.S. airport: John Wayne Airport, Orange County.
Favorite international airport: Singapore (super fast transit from airplane to limo).
Favorite hotel: Four Seasons New York.
Favorite cruise line: Seabourne.
Favorite travel credit card: AMEX.
Favorite island: Symi, Greece.
Favorite beach: Mauna Lani Beach Club.
Favorite National Park: Estes Park in Colorado.
Favorite fancy restaurant: Le Doyen, Yannick Aleno.
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Pizza Chez Etienne, Marseilles.
Favorite airport restaurant: Fine dining experience of oysters, foie gras and lots of champagne at the Roissy Airport, Paris. I missed my flight!
Favorite bar: The outdoor bar at Nobu, Ward Village in Honolulu.
Favorite fruit: Mango.
Favorite food: Octopus.
Least favorite food: Overcooked fish. Otherwise I like everything.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne.
Favorite travel movie(s): The Story of the Weeping Camel (Gobi desert). Lost in Translation (Japan).
Favorite travel show(s): Eschappes Belles (French travel show).
Favorite travel book(s): “Le Balcon de Spetsai” by Michel Deon.
Right now I am reading: “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Conde Nast Traveler, Gayot.com, Gourmet Traveller (Australia).
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! JoeSentMe.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: GQ magazine, New York Times, New Yorker.
What do you always seem to forget? An extra bag to bring back things that I bought.
What do you like least about travel? In the States, the inhumane experience in the airport and on the plane even in business and first class.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? The last thing I need is anything from Duty Free or airport boutiques.
Favorite travel app(s): Gayot.
Most embarrassing travel moment: When we arrived one day early at the airport in Brussels (not my fault!).
I’m embarrassed I haven’t been to: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Worst travel moment: The bus transfer between international and the domestic airport in Athens.
What’s your dream destination? Petra.
Favorite travel charity: Not familiar.
Best travel tip: Always get a local driver to visit a city when you’re short on time.