Pershore Patty meets Panayiota Masters, head chef and owner at The Little Cypriot, Hereford to ask a few questions and for a general nose.
Tell me a little bit about how you came to own or work in your business.
People have always said that I need to open a restaurant, but I always considered myself more of a ‘home cook’. Finally I built up the courage to give it a shot, and it couldn’t have gone better! I started by making lunchtime buffets for businesses and word travelled that my food was new and different, until eventually it morphed into the weekly delivery that it is today.
What achievements, awards or accolades are you proud of?
I don’t have many qualifications or professional training, but I am extremely proud of my business and how it’s changing all the time. I did a pop-up event at De Koffie Pot in town, that was a huge hit. Everyone went away happy with their food and I came away hungry for more events!
Any news announcements, or events that you’d like new and existing customers to be aware of?
What makes your business unique?
I always create new and exciting dishes, taking inspiration from the traditional Cypriot food my family taught me and giving it my own twist, and using seasonal and fresh ingredients. Whether they be at work or too busy to cook at home, I deliver something exciting and delicious to make their day more interesting.
Favourite restaurant to visit if you get a night off?
Last thing you watched on TV?
I love watching cooking shows, the last one I watched was Rick Stein from Venice to Istanbul.
Which person in your life do you most admire and why?
My kids, I love them all so much.
What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave my son George a pen with his name on it, to stop people from stealing it!
What’s your favourite smell in the whole world?
Cinnamon – definitely. I love cumin and fresh herbs.. the list goes on! But cinnamon is the best for me. Oh, and cloves!
What’s your favourite kind of sandwich?
It’s a Cypriot one: Halloumi, Lountza (smoked pork loin) and tomato grilled sandwich.
Who would you want to cook your last meal on earth, and why?
Myself, because I love cooking just as much as eating!
What is the most annoying habit that other people have?
People that take up two spaces when they park.
If you could eat only 3 foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?
I can’t do without salads, olive oil and lemon.
What’s your claim to fame?
Hosting a great party.
Which food & drink business (other than your own) do you wish you had created?
Total Greek Yoghurt, just so I could use as much as I want for free!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Never miss an opportunity.
If you could be anywhere else right now, where would it be?
Cyprus, of course.
What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?
My son brought me some Greek honey back from Athens.
Name a product or service you love so much that you’d happily be that company’s spokesperson.
Total Greek Yoghurt. It’s so versatile, you can use it with so many dishes in so many different ways.
As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
When I was a child I wanted to work in a sweet shop, as all kids probably did! It took me a while to realise I could turn my passion for food into a business.
What is the perfect combination of pizza toppings?
I like to keep it simple- cheese & tomato.
What was the worst job you ever held and why?
None, I have loved ALL my jobs.
What was the last thing you ate?
Porridge topped with pomegranate and pistachios.
Favourite cut of steak?
What website do you visit most often?
Probably Instagram, once you start it’s hard to stop!
What is the most impressive thing you know how to do?
Apart from cooking.. I can walk on my hands (or used to be able to).
What do you hope never changes?
Life is good, I have my family and my cooking and everything else fits in to place.
“Growing up Greek-Cypriot, daily life in our family was always centred around food. From a young age, I always understood there is more to food than just filling your belly. It’s about bringing people together and enjoying delicious meals that fulfil your body’s needs. My aim has always been to use my creativity to invent new ways to indulge in one of life’s tastiest pleasures”.
Every Friday, members of The Little Cypriot’s weekly food menu receive delicious food options to order for delivery within Hereford. You can subscribe to the menu by texting ‘Feed Me’ to 07783418247. Each week you are spoilt for choice, with cuisine taking inspiration from the Mediterranean to the Middle-East.
The Foodie Card offer – 10% off any The Little Cypriot order over £20 with The Foodie Card (The Foodie Card must be presented at point of delivery).