Greta: "Everybody's welcome in Gardenia"Greta Saikovskaja

What do you do for work? 

I'm a director at Gardenia Cambridge Limited – I’m also a chef.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to have my own Restaurant in a countryside with unique dishes that don’t exist anywhere else.

What brought you to Gardies?

I was working there part-time jobs when I was a student. I finished my business studies and afterwards I continued working there because I fell in love with the place.

How did Gardies begin?

This catering establishment started in 1922 and they used to call it INN. Around 1935 it became BLUE and in 1949 it became Gardenia. It was a very expensive place and was only for rich students and fellows. In 1990 Mr Anastasiou, the proprietor, changed it to the Gardies we know today.

Have you had any celebrity customers?

Back in the old days, we had Stephen Fry, Sacha Baron, also known as Ali G, Neil Kinnock, Joe Thomas, Jeffrey Archer, Claudia Winkleman and a lot more.

Favourite item on the Gardies menu?

Chicken souvlaki and Falafel

What would you add to the Gardies menu?

Vegan doner kebab


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Least favourite kind of drunk student?

Students are not drunk - they are young!

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of your job?

My favourite part is serving customers and cooking. My least favourite part is when we have to deal with racist people.

Who’s your best friend on the Gardies’ team? 

My boss, Mr Vas

Do you have a best friend in the Cambridge student community?

I have few

What would you like to be known for?

For my smile and my “philoxenia”

Favourite thing about your job? 

As they call Cambridge the Delphi of the world, my favourite thing is to meet people from all over the world and learn about cultures. The way they smile, how they react to jokes and a lot more.

How did Gardies make it through Covid?

It was a very difficult time and we are still suffering in order to catch up.

Cheesy chips or chips with gravy?

Cheesy chips AND gravy :)

Why should students choose Gardies over Van of Life? 

In this life is clever people and others.

Favourite spot in Cambridge? 

Fitzwilliam museum

Cambridge Uni students or Anglia Ruskin students? 

Everybody is welcome in Gardenia

What is the craziest thing that has happened in the Gardies’ store? 

One night, somebody ordered a burger and he was in the takeaway and his burger fell down. He started shouting: “ DO NOT TOUCH, NOBODY TOUCH IT!!! Repeatedly. After 10 minutes the police came. And they asked him “What happened? He said to them: “My burger fell on the floor!”. The policeman was laughing and gave him an £80 penalty for wasting police time. Lots more has happened that we can’t actually mention. What happens in Gardenia stays in Gardenia.

Best advice for freshers? 

Enjoy the first year, because the rest is going to be more difficult. And if you get depressed which often happens - talk to somebody.