Born in Tbilisi, Georgia, in 1986. Mamia first studied at Tbilisi Technical University and then at Heidelberg University. His most notable projects are Salerno il Calabrese (Heidelberg, Germany), Bohemia (Tbilisi), Kazbek (Moscow), and G.Garden (Batumi). Today, Mamia is the chef of Eclipse casino and G.Garden restaurant in Batumi, the brand chef of Moscow’s Kazbek restaurant, and the concept chef of Nana restaurant in Omsk.

I ended up in the kitchen when I was in Germany, where I moved to study at a university. There, I worked parttime in restaurants and met some chefs who defined my destiny. My first mentor was an Italian, Andrea. We became best friends, and he took me to the cellar where the pasta making machine stood and taught me to make real fresh pasta and to play it up with different sauces. I guess, it was him who opened this secret world to me. I had spent six years in Germany, moving from one restaurant to another, gaining experience, gaining courage. But back then I still didn’t think that this would become my profession. To do that, I had to come back to Georgia and meet a person who opened the world of gastronomy to me all over.

Today, Tekuna Gachechiladze is a prominent chef both in Georgia and abroad. Back then, she had just opened an experimental project in Tbilisi, the first restaurant of contemporary Georgian cuisine. It was all very interesting to me: I am Georgian, my mother is a chef, a heavyweight in the culinary tradition, while the cuisines that I knew at that time were Italian, German — but not Georgian. I went to apprentice with Tekuna and finally realized that this is something that I want to do, that I want to be a chef, that it brings me pleasure.

By the time Maison Dellos came to Tbilisi in search for the chef for Kazbek restaurant, I was the brand chef of Ambassador hotel chain, and had several projects behind my back. For the tasting, I made satsivi the way it’s done in the restaurants: Imeritian-style, with cardamom, cloves, braised sauce. And Dellos told me: “I don’t need the Imeritian version of satsivi, make me a Megrelian one.” That’s when I knew that he knows the nuances.

Kazbek was envisioned as a restaurant of authentic Georgian cuisine. But it’s a bit boring for an ambitious chef who wants to grow professionally — and I was given a show kitchen where I can experiment. They also made a secret door to my chef’s kitchen, so that you could gather eight people, hold dinners, have fun. That’s how Kazbek became the world’s first Georgian cuisine restaurant with its own chef’s table. That’s where some dishes that are now beloved by our guests first made their appearance. One example would be khinkalioli, a hybrid of khinkali and ravioli, where you can endlessly play with different sauces and fillings. Or the seafood soup that we called chikhirtma yam.

In Georgia, nobody would think of making khachapuri with truffles or with pear and gorgonzola. But that’s how it’s done today in many restaurants. This dish was born in Georgia, then went on a journey around the world and came home changed — if you think about it, the same as me. When you grow up in a Georgian family, your whole childhood your mother was a chef at traditional restaurants, but you lived abroad, you studied different world cuisines — this enables you to create something that a traditional Georgian chef won’t be able to do, because they only cook what they know. For me, it’s important to study the tradition and then use the contemporary technologies and techniques to create new dishes. Of course, every Georgian has their own opinion about the taste of this or that dish. The important thing is not to listen to anybody and keep doing what you think is right.

Guide restaurants with Mamiya Jojua participation