Escape and experience the Ancient Greek tastes, wisdom and flavours adapted to modern times..
Introducing Maria Benardis, Founder of Greekalicious, a concept she formed while on the Greek Island of Mykonos in 2004.
So many people think that souvlaki and moussaka is all there is to Greek cooking, and I enjoy continually surprising family and friends with amazing Greek dishes that they never knew existed. I felt compelled to share my dishes, the food & healing eating wisdom and culture through Greekalicious, and making authentic, ancient and modern Greek cooking available to everyone.
I have spent years studying ancient Greek cuisine and travelling throughout Greece to explore the cuisine, ingredients, recipes, people, and culture. These include Kalamata and the Peloponnesus region, Macedonia (including Thessaloniki), the Attica region (Athens) and the islands of Crete, Rhodes, Psara, Chios, Aegina, Symi, Tinos, Mykonos, Delos and Santorini.
I love discovering new ingredients and dishes and the little restaurants tucked away in the back streets. But most of all, during my travels, I enjoy cooking with old friends and people I meet along the way to see what ‘real’ Greeks eat. Combining the elements of Greek mainland, regional and island cuisine turns traditional dishes into modern masterpieces.
Greekalicious offers an introduction to traditional and modern Greek cooking, the secret ingredients, the stories, the journeys, the culture, wisdom, philosophy and the history behind each dish. Food is one of the most intimate ways to delight the senses, escape the everyday and bring far away places alive. Food is a ritual; it’s about love, spirituality, philosophy, and an experience that simply must be shared and enjoyed in the company of family and friends. This is the Greek dining experience. But above all it is a celebration of life!
After working in the kitchen at the Neil Perry restaurant XO, I quickly realised that I wanted to share my recipes and stories of Greekalicious cooking with others.
I spent many of my childhood years growing up on the Greek island of Psara. This provided me with many of the basic fundamentals and the kitchen lore of Greek cooking. I would help my grandmother make our bread, cheese, yoghurt and meals on a daily basis. The produce was organically grown and the freshest ingredients were always used. It’s no wonder I am still passionate about cooking with fresh and organic ingredients whenever possible!
My mother was born in Kalamata, the famous home of the best olives in the world, as well as figs, pastelli (sesame and honey sweet), lalagia (sweet bread twists that are deep fried), sfela cheese and balsamic vinegar with tones of figs, and my father was born on the island of Psara, known for its lobster, sea urchin and thyme infused honey. My mother’s side of the family and especially my aunt, Stavroula have been my biggest influence in terms of my fascination and love for cooking. When I cook I sense their spirit and energy is with me and guiding me to produce dishes that capture cultural traditions, family secrets and something different.
Although many of my recipes may vary or modify traditionally Greek recipes there is still a strong commitment to retaining and respecting their cultural identity.
Greekalicious allows you to share these dishes with loved ones, and I hope to meet you at one of our Greek Cooking Classes or Greekalicious Events.
I have also published three cook books titled “My Greek Family Table” to be released in May 2017 previously released in Australia in 2009 by Penguin Books which won the Gourmand World Cook Book Award 2009 – Best Mediterranean Cook Book in Australia and “Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health” (Publisher: BALBOA). I also have an ebook titled “A Greekalicious Feast”.
It is available for purchase at selected online stores and at all good bookstores.
Learn more about Maria Benardis and view her BIO here.
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Greek food is healthy, good for you and simply scrumptious. I invite you to enjoy the journey.