Balthazar: “The coolest restaurant in Athens,” says Calombaris. (MARKET BASKET CORINNE PARKES)

Calombaris rarely deviates from his game plan on arrival in a foreign city visiting produce markets, eating native specialties and sampling local wines are all mandatory. “Travel for me is all about food, front and centre,” says the chef luminary, MasterChef Australia judge and newly minted delicious. travel-editor-at-large. “I embrace where I am through the food and people, and allow that to inspire me.”

For the exquisite recipes on these pages, the chef turned to his Hellenic heritage. Few individuals have done more than Calombaris to promote contemporary Greek fare in Australia, from the high-minded dining of The Press Club to the street bites of Jimmy Grants. Unsurprisingly, he often cooks Mediterranean-themed food at home.

“At home we like tasty and healthy food,” he says. “We grill a lot and love lots of acidity in our food. Greek cuisine is all that and more. It’s super healthy, low in carbs and high in plant-based ingredients. In saying that, my wife, Natalie, makes amazing meatballs!”

The pair, together for more than a decade, tied the knot earlier this year in Athens. In the Greek capital, the chef discovered the delectable combination of mastic spice and strawberries, and it stuck with him. “It was courtesy of my great friend Christoforos Peskias, who owns the coolest restaurant in Athens, called Balthazar,” Calombaris says.

That dish informed his dessert of raspberry and mastic sorbet, perfect for summer entertaining. Asked for his non-negotiable when it comes to hot-season hosting, Calombaris nominates something outside Greek gastronomy a football. “We must have one to kick around,” he says, laughing.

Turn to page 16 of our new Travel section for George’s delicious. column.

delicious.com.au/recipes For more seasonal-focused ideas.