Mary Cuclis was sown in Texas but grown overseas, where she first began to recognize cuisine as a cultural door. Growing up with her Greek family in London, Moscow, Hong Kong and Houston solidified a lifelong curiosity to open as many of these doors as possible. In her Papou’s garden, which they tended together from childhood, she learned to cultivate local ingredients and to seek freshness in every dish.
Her culinary career began in Alvin Leung’s Bo Innovation, a 3 Michelin star Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. After returning to Houston, Mary was one of the opening team members of Pondicheri, where she would spend the next 8 years exploring the breadth of Indian spices, acquiring new cooking techniques and planning events of all kinds.
In 2020, Mary founded Kriti to begin her adventure as a private chef and caterer for the Houston area. She draws from her Greek heritage and knowledge of various cuisines to savor the singular deliciousness of nurtured, seasonal produce.
In 2022, Mary opened her brick and mortar, Kriti Kitchen. A cafe that offers homestyle Greek cooking, prepared meals to take home as well as catering services for your home, office, wedding or any special occasion.
Kriti is the Greek pronunciation of Crete, the largest of the Greek islands. Mary’s family originates in the town of Chania in Crete, Greece, where she spent many summers visiting her relatives, immersing herself in the culture and relishing the traditional food. Mary discovered many of the essential influences in her cooking within Cretan cuisine, including the use of fresh herbs, the exceptional nourishment of seasonal produce and slow food, olive oil good enough to drink (referred to in ancient times as “liquid gold”) and deeply held values of hospitality.
At the harbor entrance of Chania stands one of the oldest lighthouses in the world: a majestic architectural merge of Venetian, Egyptian and Ottoman influences that guided travelers for centuries.
Mary aspires to create culinary experiences that weave cultural influences together to illuminate richness of history, and ultimately, flavor.