Born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece, Sakalis grew up in a family of fishers and hunters on the Mediterranean coast, where good food and gathering around the table with friends and family wove into the fabric of his family life. He credits his family for his passion for the craft and his deep commitment to sustainable sourcing and his respect for utilizing ingredients in a whole and respectful way.
Sakalis’ first glimpse into a culinary career began when he lent a helping hand at a family friend’s restaurant. His culinary curiosity grew with his interactions with the kitchen team, learning firsthand about the food, recipes, and the cooking lifestyle. Sakalis then enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at the School of Tourism Education in Heraklion, Crete, Greece.
Upon graduation, he received hands-on skills at hotels, restaurants, and bars in Greece before traveling internationally and landing in the Big Apple. He worked his way through top restaurants in Manhattan including the Michelin-starred Café Boulud as Chef de Partie. He gained exceptional skills working alongside talented chefs and industry leaders before he moved to the Middle East, joining Rosewood Hotels in Abu Dhabi. He joined Fairmont Hotels & Resorts in Bermuda at Fairmont Southampton as executive sous chef before being promoted to the executive chef position for the resort. In 2016, Sakalis made his way to Canada in his most recent role as executive chef at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Alberta, overseeing the resort’s collection of eight restaurants and bars, seasonal venues, and catering division.
A well-respected culinarian, Sakalis leads his culinary teams with the intention and a mission to develop and mentor by sharing his knowledge and experiences gained through his international career. Dedicated to driving innovation in the kitchen, Sakalis looks forward to making his culinary mark at Fairmont Vancouver Airport, where the Pacific Northwest-inspired cuisine that highlights locally and sustainably sourced ingredients from farmers and fishers lay the foundation of its culinary ethos.