Introducing Our Newest Columnist: Chef Maria Loi


My joy in summer is the many farmer’s markets and their just-harvested fruits, vegetables and herbs. Growing up in Greece, fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables were our only choice.

With our lifestyles and cities it isn’t as easy; we must seek to find “fresh”. As a chef, real food matters to me; as a Greek, my heritage serves as the cornerstone for my culinary philosophy.


Born and raised on my family’s farm in Thermo, a small village near Nafpaktos, I was privileged to learn about food from the ground up–literally!

As a career, I first chose to be a lobbyist and businesswoman. I was successful but unhappy and became unhealthy.

I turned to my Greek heritage and culture for inspiration and direction. I found my true calling: creating fresh, flavorful foods based on the knowledge of the ancients.

Greek ingredients combined in ways that nourish the body and soul is my version of “soul food”!

I would like to share with you my passion for the Twelve Pillar Foods of the Greek Diet, which have been proven to increase your overall health and happiness.

During the next few weeks I will introduce you to each of these pillar foods through stories, recipes, and culinary tips. Yiassou!




Maria Loi’s mischievous grin and sparkling eyes made her a food superstar; a popular television chef in Greece and author of dozens of cook books, her book on ancient Greek dining was the only official cookbook of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

She owns Kouzina Maria Loi in seaside Nafpaktos and has a line of dinnerware and small appliances. The Chef’s Club of Greece named her the official Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy. In the U.S,. Maria cooked for President Obama at the White House (May 2012).

Her book, The Greek Diet (October 2014, HarperCollins), offers a diet based on recipes that satisfy soul and palette. Loi Pasta is available in the U.S., and additional Greek products hit the shelves late 2014.

Her NYC restaurant, Loi, was a media and celeb favorite (2011 to June 2014). She is a founder of Elpida (“hope”), a foundation to support children with cancer. Follow Maria Loi on Twitter.



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