Say Cheese! Halloumi portraits showing the UK’s best-known Cypriot celebrities


The Cyprus Tourism Organisation releases halloumi ‘food art’ images to celebrate the launch of its halloumi-themed pop-up restaurant.


To celebrate the launch of its halloumi-themed pop-up ‘Say Hallou-mi to Cyprus!’, the CTO has unveiled portraits of Cyprus’ best known celebs, made from halloumi!


The CTO worked with renowned food artist Prudence Staite to create the profiles, each of which have been carefully burned onto slices of halloumi.


Whereas many other cheeses would melt when subjected to high temperatures, the Cypriot national cheese is known for its very high melting point (that’s why it’s so perfect for grilling on BBQs). This meant the artworks could be created by charring the designs onto the cheese without it melting.


The celebrities depicted in the halloumi portraits are:


Theo Paphitis



Dragon’s Den star, retail entrepreneur and proud Cypriot Theo Paphitis was born in Limassol in 1959. Theo is Founder of the Theo Paphitis Retail Group, which encompasses Ryman Stationery, Robert Dyas and Boux Avenue. The combined group comprises over 350 stores and 4,000 employees who serve over 28 million customers a year.


Theo Paphitis, who is supporting the ‘Say Hallou-mi to Cyprus!’ pop-up restaurant campaign, said: “Cyprus and its food are true passions of mine and the pop-up restaurant will bring the delicious Cypriot cheese, halloumi, to every dish on the menu…even the dessert! I’m sure many other people will fall in love with the Cypriot national cheese once they’ve tried it – and perhaps even visit Cyprus to discover the rest of the island’s delicious cuisine and wine.”


Paul Hollywood



British baker Paul Hollywood worked in Cyprus for six years before returning to the UK and rising to fame as a TV chef. He was working as Head Baker at the luxury Annabelle Hotel when he met his wife, Alexandra, who was a scuba diving instructor at the time. The couple married two years later in Cyprus and return to the island regularly for family holidays.


Paul’s portrait has been charred into ‘flaounes’, a Cypriot cheese-filled pastry which is usually topped with sesame seeds.


George Michael



Legendary singer-songwriter and record producer George Michael, born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, rose to fame as a member of Wham! George’s portrait, laid out in a Cypriot restaurant setting, gives a nod to his father Kyriacos ‘Jack’ Panayiotou, who was a Cypriot restaurateur.


Peter Andre



Australian singer-songwriter, presenter, TV personality and businessman Peter Andre is of Cypriot descent; his family relocated from Cyprus to Sydney in 1979 but Peter still returns to the island for family holidays.


The artwork of Peter’s face, burned onto a halloumi and mushroom burger and lying next to a pair of BBQ tongs, hints at his Australian nationality.





According to legend, Cyprus is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Visitors to Cyprus can see ‘Aphrodite’s Rock’ – the fabled birthplace of Aphrodite – and the Baths of Aphrodite, a secluded pool where the goddess is said to have seduced Apollo.


Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou



Self-proclaimed ‘serial entrepreneur’ Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou is best known as low-cost British airline, easyJet, founder. His father’s family comes from Pedoulas village, high in Cyprus’ Troodos Mountains, and his mother’s family comes from the village of Laneia, located at the bottom of the mountains. Sir Stelios’ portrait has been created on a stuffed pepper and laid out on an airline tray.




CTO UK Director, Orestis Rossides, said: “We’re delighted with the hugely positive reaction to the launch of our halloumi-themed restaurant and hope these halloumi artworks are just as popular. We’re so proud of the celebrities with Cypriot-links who have made a name for themselves here in the UK and these artworks are a light-hearted recognition of their successes.”



The CTO’s halloumi-themed pop-up restaurant, ‘Say Hallou-mi to Cyprus’, which has been designed to entice people to visit Cyprus by showcasing its national cheese, opened at 100 Hoxton for two weeks during November 2017.


Created especially for the event by Executive Chef Francis Puyat, the menu comprised an array of halloumi-inspired dishes including: halloumi and cauliflower fritters, grilled courgette and halloumi salad, chargrilled halloumi flatbread, crumbed halloumi fingers and halloumi ice cream.