"Women of Style" introduces Aspa Limniou, co-owner of The Olive Tree restaurant and The Olive Street Food in Bruges. Her mind always sails to her homeland, the island of Lesvos in Greece, where she and her collaborators seek the purest, authentic ingredients, like their very own olive oil production The Olive Oil. The sun-soaked island and the sparkling waters of the Aegean Sea inspired our photoshoot. Meet Aspa, loving mother of two girls and hobby tennis player in her early 30's, as she reveals her thoughts and challenges. A dynamic, communicative and stylistically fun but down-to-earth woman in the competitive world of cheffing.
Styling, concept, photography: Marianna Lagakou - Van Zandweghe
Clothes: La Greca Blog and private collection
Jewelry and bags: La Greca Blog
How passionate are you about your job?
I am very passionate about what I do. It is afterall my choice in life. The contact with people from diverse backgrounds, that's what fascinates me the most. Bruges is a touristic destination, so I get to meet a lot of people from all over the world. Through my experience I have learned to adapt to my clients' personalities and cultural particularities. I can even make them the right menu suggestions, when I know their nationality.
Your best career moment?
Actually, whenever I got this question, I always answered "NOW". Me and Nikos (her husband and the chef behind the business) constantly try to innovate, try new things, dare projects. We have had our ups and downs through the years, we have lived moments and circumstances not always on our side, but we think positive. It is the present we enjoy and at the same time an interesting future we look forward to.
What’s most challenging for you as a woman in your line of work?
Not only for me but for any woman in this field, the working hours are far from easy. Very hard work till late and when you have children, things get tough. I am lucky I have my mother here in Belgium to help out. Family is very important to us. We are a family business after-all, which makes us very close-knit. A great team!
How important are style and fashion in your daily life? Tell us about your outfits at work and beyond.
Well, practically speaking, I do not have the freedom to wear anything I want at work. As I am at the restaurant, supervising but also serving, I have to wear a total black or white outfit, comfortable flat shoes and my hair is usually caught in a bun. To be honest, as a genuine Greek woman, I try to add a bit of flair with a necklace, a hair accessory that will give volume to my practical hair-do or modern platform mocassins.
When I leave work though, I am more fun! (She gives away a wide smile that brightens her face like a Greek summer morning). Although I do not like heavy make-up, I use lipstick, blush and mascara for a natural look. That doesn't mean I say no to red lips. I choose to wear casual chic clothes and high heels, although in Bruges it is so difficult to walk in stilettos!
Summer 2018: Ice cream pastels (baby pink, lilac etc), exotic florals (patterns with flowers) or powerful brights (coral red, electric blue, yellow...)?
Oh I love blue! And all shades of blue, especially electric blue I will stick to this summer. (Good choice, Aspa, with your rebel ripped denim jeans).
Your favorite accessory?
I generally wear big hoop earrings when I go out, because I find them feminine and timeless.
My favorite accessory from La Greca Blog is a Vashionista necklace. I feel it is a piece with strong energy. It fills me with self-confidence, that's why I love to wear it when I negotiate business deals or make a presentation. Black can be worn all year long, and can be combined with many outfits. I like the crochet element of the specific necklace, because I value things which are handmade in my home country.
Your secret ingredient in life?
Whatever you can think of, you can realize!
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