Chef at Alter Ego is a Shy-Cookin’ Guy

A focaccia veggie sandwich is one item on the menu at Alter Ego

Dimitri Louvis is a shy person. He’s also the head chef and
owner of the Alter Ego Cafe at 707 First St. in Gilroy. Louvis is
anything but shy when it comes to mixing ingredients and trying new
dishes, but when it comes to talking about himself and his culinary
creations, he lets his wife of 25 years, Olga, do the talking.
Dimitri Louvis is a shy person. He’s also the head chef and owner of the Alter Ego Cafe at 707 First St. in Gilroy. Louvis is anything but shy when it comes to mixing ingredients and trying new dishes, but when it comes to talking about himself and his culinary creations, he lets his wife of 25 years, Olga, do the talking.

“He doesn’t like being the center of attention,” Olga said. “He just wants to make sure people enjoy his food.”

Dimitri, originally from Greece, never went to culinary school. Instead, he learned from other chefs the art of cooking a beautiful meal.

“He just has ‘it,'” Olga said. “Some people go to school for years to be a chef, and they still don’t have ‘it.'”

Dimitri cooks everything from traditional Greek and Italian dishes – such as gyros and chicken marsala – to Southern-style cuisine and Mexican fare, including chicken-fried steak and fajitas. He also creates his own unique dishes, for example, the Alter Ego Chicken, which combines garlic, artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes with a special alfredo sauce.

“He’s the kind of person who can smell the food, taste it, and he knows how to make it,” Olga said with pride.

Dimitri’s favorite dish to cook is Greek barbecue, Olga said, a dish done with beef, chicken and fish – often shrimp – but without traditional barbecue sauce. Instead, the food is prepared with oregano, olive oil, lemon and seasonings.

The chef’s least favorite dish to make is fresh Maine lobster or anything that needs to be taken out of a shell.

“You should see him,” Olga said, laughing. “He has lobster all over the kitchen (trying to get) it out of the shells. It drives him nuts.”

Dimitri is also picky about all the ingredients that go into his food, Olga said.

“He’s very temperamental and he’s a perfectionist,” she said, shaking her head. “It can be very hard to be in the kitchen with him, because everything has to be done his way: just right.”

Olga said almost everything is freshly prepared and cooked at the Alter Ego. The turkey is cooked and sliced in their kitchen, the potatoes are cut into French fries, and the soups and sauces are made from scratch.

“He cares about the presentation on a plate, he cares about how the food tastes. He just loves to cook,” Olga said.

And if you ask her, Olga will tell you to try Dimitri’s chicken marsala, her favorite item on the menu.

The Alter Ego Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dinner prices are between $10 to $15. The restaurant’s phone number is (408) 848-3455. Hours are 7am to 2:30pm daily and again from 5pm to 8:30pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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