On The Table
// ON THE TABLE
A Chat with Terry & Katarina Maniatis of Terry's Cut Steakhouse
By Martine Mackenzie
Tell me a bit about your background and why you became a chef? Terry: Well, I come from a Greek background, and we love food. I just really enjoy being in the kitchen. I don’t have any formal training. I’ve just always been around food.
What is your favorite thing about being a chef? Terry: Creating! I love the BBQ! I want to feed people. I want to see and feel the love. Katarina: He loves people’s reactions to his food.
If you could give people 3 cooking tips for making a great steak, what would they be? Terry: You have to have a good fire. You need a good base – a good piece of meat. Keep it simple. No crazy spices. Just salt and pepper.
Do you have a favorite ingredient to work with? We’re Greek so it’s all about the garlic, oregano and thyme. I like working with lemon too. In Greece, they grow spices and just go pick them fresh in their backyards.
What would you say is one of the most challenging ingredients to work with? Terry: Flour! I don’t bake! I can’t work with dough! (pointing to Katarina) She does. Katarina: He doesn’t like baking at all. He doesn’t even like desserts!
When it’s your day off, and you go out to eat, where do you like to go? Terry: Steak! I go looking for a steakhouse.
How do you like your steak and what’s your favorite cut? Terry: It’s gotta be medium-rare. And I like a big cut. Ribeye is my favorite but I also really like NY strip.
What city in the world would you say has the best food? Terry: New York City! That’s where you find the best meats!
If you weren’t a chef, what would you do for a living? Terry: I can’t think of anything else I would want to be. I love the kitchen -- from the time I was little. From the age of 12, I worked in the kitchen. I come from a family of restaurateurs. I’ve only ever had this one job. We had Garrison’s for 27 years until we just recently sold our Niagara Falls location. I needed a change. I want a nice restaurant and a nice kitchen. I want to create a modern restaurant. Katarina: Our restaurant is very open and bright.
Do you have an embarrassing cooking moment? Terry: I’ve over-spiced. I’ve over-cooked and under-cooked. (laughs) It still happens!
What excites you in the world of food these days? Terry: I like the freshness of ingredients. And the fact that homecooked food is becoming high end. Even a pot of beans can be considered high end when it’s done properly. Food should be clean. Everything I cook is fresh. And here in Niagara, it’s easy to get fresh all of the time.
Do you have a cooking pet peeve? Terry: My kitchen has to be spotless and I like all of my stuff in the same place. Katarina: You can see into our kitchen. It’s open-concept. We want people to see.
What would you say is your favourite thing about being a chef in Niagara? Terry: The people. It has to be the people. They appreciate good quality and good quantity. And they say thank you. Katarina: With Terry you always get what you pay for.
How do you stay relevant in the culinary world? Terry: I go on-line a lot and search – YouTube to see how things are made. I stick to what I like and learn how to make it better. Katarina: He likes simplicity. And he likes Mediterranean cooking. It’s simple, fresh and delicious.
How would you describe a day working in your kitchen? Terry: It’s a routine. Go prep in the morning and get everything ready and when the time comes, you’re ready to go.
What are your guilty pleasures food-wise? Katarina: He likes popcorn! (laughs) Terry: I like savoury. I’d rather have an extra meal than dessert.
Terry and Katarina, I think I will take you up on that offer!
What would you request for your last supper ever? Terry: (laughs) Steak! A big chunk of steak! Medium-rare! Katarina: Terry likes the big cuts. That’s why he is butchering everything on site. He’s giving you the big cuts. Terry: We have something for everyone, all the way from 6 ounce steaks to 30 ounce steaks. If you want bigger, I’ll cut it bigger! We use nothing but the best -- certified Angus. You come and I’ll cook you the best steak ever!