Born in 1952 to a father who worked as a ship-chef, Lefteris Lazarou, never thought of following a different path. When he was 15, he started working with his father in ship kitchens during the summers. He traveled around many countries and worked with their national cuisine. However, working at cruise ships was where he learnt the most about cooking. Having to cook for different people daily, he had to adjust Greek cuisine to their own nutritional habits. As time went by, he decided to create a “boat” on land, a kitchen that will never get rocked by the waves.
Therefore in October, 1987 he opens Varoulko in Pireaus, that does not get rocked by waves but is loyal to the memories of the sea as applied on creative cooking.Since October 2004, Varoulko has been moved from Pireaus to Pireos street downtown. In Varoulko, Lefteris Lazarou creates seafood plates made entirely of ingredients he comes upon daily, as he wanders through the various markets.
These past few years, Lefteris Lazarou, has travelled to Argentina, Japan and America, as well as most of the European capitals to promote Greek olive oil through presenting the Greek cuisine. In the U.S.A, he has taught Greek cuisine in one of the most famous cooking schools, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Since 1993, Lefteris Lazarou has been awarded the “Golden Chef Hat”, an award Athinorama, the leading entertainment guide for the city of Athens, gives out every year. In 1998, he cooked for the guests of the Greek Government, in the International Expedition HELEXPO in Lisbon, Portugal.
In 1999, he collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Ministry Gala Diners. In the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, Greek cuisine was represented deservedly and Mr. Lazarou was picked as the one to represent modern Greek cuisine with seafood.
In 2002, he was awarded a Michelin star, the most coveted award for the selected few chefs in the world. This award, made Varoulko an international hotspot for seafood. In 2006, he publishes his book about his love in cooking, titled “LEFTERIS LAZAROU-20 YEARS IN VAROULKO”.In 2007, as a member of the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO) he created a 22 dish menu for El Corte Ingles department stores. In September 2008, he was a formal guest of the Mayor Mr. Richard M. Daley in the first Chicago Gourmet Festival in Millennium Park. In 2009, readers of the Greek “STATUS” Magazine declared him “Chef of the year 2009” for a second time. In 2009, Varoulko was awarded “Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City” by the Athinorama guide. In 2010, Varoulko was also awarded “Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City”.
Lefteris Lazarou was one of the judges in the Cooking Game Show, MasterChef. In 2011, he was awarded a Michelin star for the 10th time in a row. Varoulko was also awarded“Best Greek Cuisine Restaurant” and “The Best Restaurant in the City” by the Athinorama guide.