About

My professional interest in food and wine took root in San Francisco during a time of extraordinary innovation and creativity in the city's gastronomic life. This led me to Greece to establish a cookery school, Kandra Kitchen Crete. Named by Vogue magazine as 'one of the best cookery schools in Europe', and the subject of many features in the English-language media, Kandra Kitchen was one of the first community-based cookery schools to attract international attention, and the first of its kind in Greece. Later, Ancient Wisdom, Modern Tables – my course tracing Santorini's remarkable wine and culinary history from Minoan times to the present day – was listed by Condé Nast Traveller as 'one of the top ten cookery courses in Europe'.

Inspired by these eventful and enjoyable years, I wrote Flavours of Greece, chosen as 'Editors Choice' in the New York Times in the year of its publication and as 'Best International Cusine' by Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. I've contributed papers to the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery and articles I've written on food, wine and travel have been published in magazines and newspapers such as Food & Travel, Zester Daily, Bon Appetit, Decanter and BBC Good Food.

Recent work has included

In Greece

Greek foods & wines

Projects & workshops

A centre: Traditional knowledge and skills, modern kitchens

Gastronomic tourism: Regional programmes, community benefits

Greek food history, a unique and valuable resource

In Romania

Transylvania: A modern food story

Courses & workshops

Food and culture, global interest

Food identity, appreciating diversity

Developing community-based food tourism

For work-related enquires, please contact me

Experience

For over thirty years, I have worked widely across food, related cultural matters and tourism with professional organizations and private companies, in education, and in the voluntary sector. My workshops, courses, talks and tastings have taken me to many countries, and to venues ranging from the highly professional to the wonderfully surreal. I've worked too in an advisory capacity with prestigious food retailers, educational institutions and the media, and have designed and led food and wine tours in places of beauty and interest.

Recent activities have included

Greek Wines: Ripe for (re)discovery

IACP Annual Conference, San Francisco CA

As the rest of the world discovers the incredible quality and versatility of modern Greek wines, the Greeks themselves are discovering ancient varietals in their own backyards - literally - and are vinifying them with great success. With Leslie Sbrocco, author and journalist, George Spiliadis, president of Cava Spiliadis, and Annegret Stamos, oenologist, Biblia Chora Winery

Olive Oil

Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival, Oxford

The olive tree and its oil has engaged the intellect, senses and passions of the world for the past 4,000 years. With Tomás Graves, author of Bread and Oil, and publisher, Anne Dolamore

Food and the Diaspora

The diaspora, or the scattering of people, is an experience many of us now share. Food is about roots and identity as well as pleasure, comfort and conviviality. With authors, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Claudia Roden

Olive Oil: A comparative tasting

The New York City Food & Wine Festival

An interactive presentation of olive oil: history, regional insights, health benefits, and studies undertaken. With Costas Spiliadis, owner of Estiatorio Milos restaurants

The Real Mediterranean Diet

Dartmouth Food Festival, Devon UK

Good enough for the ancients, even better for us

Traditional Foods, Modern Tables

Slow Food Market, Bucharest

At the inaugural market: fine traditional foods used in imaginative ways. With Slow Food Romania

Hands On

A selection

Art of Hospitality

London, UK

BBC Good Food

London, UK

Bonnie Stern's Cooking School

Toronto, Canada

California Academy of Sciences

San Francisco CA

California Community Colleges

Napa, San Francisco, Santa Monica

Central Market

Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth TX

Culinary Concepts

Tucson AZ

Culinary Institute of America

New York NY

Draegers

Menlo Park CA

Food & Wine Classic

Aspen CO

Les Gourmettes

Phoenix AZ

Macys

Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York US

Neiman-Marcus

Dallas TX

Sur la Table

Throughout the US

Tante Marie

San Francisco CA

University of California

Davis & Santa Barbara

Williams-Sonoma

San Francisco & more US

Smithsonian Institute, Outreach Program

Washington, DC

Features on these classes, workshops and programmes have appeared in American, Canadian, British and other national publications, including

The New York Times Bon Appetit The Toronto Globe & Mail

The Independent The Times BBC Good Food The Financial Times

President 2007-08

Board 2001-09

Connecting culinary professionals with the people, places and knowledge they need to succeed

Trustee 2005-07

Giving culinary professionals the tools and opportunities to understand and act on critical issues in the world of food

Co-founder 2007

A specialist centre for the study of food, drink & culture, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

Founding member 1978

Connecting Bay Area food professionals through networking, education and resources

Committee member 1996-2000

A professional association of food writers, authors, journalists and broadcasters

Member

The Society of Authors has been serving the interests of professional writers for over a century

Judging

Soil Association Awards

British Cheese Awards

Guild of Food Writers Awards

IACP Book Awards

Slow Food Awards

American Cheese Society Awards

Italy: Campania Cheese Awards

International Hotel & Restaurant Awards

Romania: Chef of the Year

Carol Trewin Young Food Writers Award

Consultancy

A selection

Marks & Spencer, UK

Discovering Greek flavours & foods; a programme of workshops & tastings in Greece & UK

Granada TV, UK

Greek foods, wines and food culture; a 12-part series

Greek National Tourism Organisation, Greece

The value to tourism of an authentic food & wine culture

The UK and Republic of Ireland National Curriculum for Secondary Schools, UK

Olive Oil in Europe: A Taste for Life (A teaching programme, financed by the EU)

The International Olive Oil Council

A language for olive oil; establishing a vocabulary

For work-related enquires, please contact me

For national and international food companies, media, governmental departments and educational institutions

Coriander: An early global ingredient

International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP)

Annual Conference, San Diego CA

Why

Has this herb travelled from its origins in the eastern Mediterranean to become a dominant flavour of cuisines as far apart as Mexico, Portugal and India?

Because

All parts of the plant – root, seeds and leaves – have both medicinal and culinary value

Its earliest value was almost certainly medicinal, as this was of most concern to our ancestors. But new ways of looking at archaeological cooking utensils are producing some very interesting findings...

Coriander was listed by the Minoans, in Linear B, as one of their stored commodities...

The dried seeds have been used in Greece, as a spice, since Minoan times. Later, in classical Rome, the statesman Cato recommended fresh coriander as a garnish on food to encourage an invalid’s appetite...

And elsewhere:

The Chinese thought leaves and seeds would bestow immortality

In medieval Europe it was nicknamed “dizzycorn” for its narcotic effect on animals

Thought to be an aphrodisiac; mentioned in Thousand and One Nights

One of the first spices to be introduced into the United States; it’s recorded that coriander was grown in Massachusetts in 1670

Presentations given at past IACP annual conferences include

Take Five Mediterranean Greens (Portland, OR)

Cookery Books: The Atlantic Divide (Dallas, TX)

Wisdom and the Greek Meze Table (Minneapolis, MN)

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Flavors of Greece: Dinner at The James Beard House

at The James Beard Foundation NYC NY

When I lived in San Francisco I had the great pleasure of meeting James Beard and enjoying memorable meals with this immensely charming and knowledgeable man. A few years later, on one lovely New York spring day, I created a meal from recipes in Flavors of Greece for 120 guests at The James Beard House

Drinks & mezes in the courtyard

Salted Almonds Peppered Dried Figs Selection of Greek olives Kephtedakia

Potato Kephtedakia Sesame Spinach Pies Marjoram Meat Pies Fennel Bread

Greek country cheeses

Dinner in the dining room

Marinated Olives Pikti Fresh Fava Bean Salata Purslane Salad

Tiny Stuffed Vegetables Rigani Cheese Bread Sea Bass with Vinegar and Rosemary

Cretan Chicken Pie Beet Salad with Allspice Baked Figs

Fresh Cheese and Greek honey Hazelnut Cookies

With a selection of Greek wines

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Rosemary Barron

Selected by The James Beard Foundation as one of the

Great International Chefs of 1992

Cuisines of the Greek Islands

The Smithsonian, Washington DC

Smithsonian Outreach Program

A series, with Sotiris and Lidia Kitrilakis

A Sense of Place: Regional Foods & Flavors

The Cyclades

Santorini (Thira) Ios Syros Tinos Andros Mykonos Naxos

Sifnos Kimolos

The Dodecanese

Rhodes Kos Symi Karpathos Kalymnos

Tilos Patmos Lipsi

The Ionian Islands

Corfu Cephalonia Zante Lefkada Ithaca

Crete, The Islands of the North Eastern Aegean

Samos Lesvos Chios Ikaria Limnos Skyros

From Flavours of Greece

... For me, any mention of Greek fish dishes immediately conjures up images of waterfront tavernas by a sparkling azure sea on a day shimmering with heat and brilliant sunlight. Seated at a rickety table under the welcome shade of a pine tree, you choose the fish that takes your fancy, then relax with an ouzo and mezedes while it’s prepared. Your anticipation of the treat ahead mounts as a bewildering array of fish dishes, their mouth-watering aromas filling the air, are served to tables around you ...

... Situated in the warmest part of the Mediterranean, Greece and her islands have enjoyed a wonderfully rich sea harvest since ancient times ...

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The Land of Olives, Figs and Honey

Greek foods, wines and culture at Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, Napa CA

Program designed by Daphne Derven

The meze table Tastings From the wood-burning oven Working with filo

Dinner Wine tastings Demonstrations

In the herb garden Rembetiko music

From Flavours of Greece

...Legend has it that Hercules ate vast quantities of figs and that, on one campaign, Alexander the Great’s army survived for a time on only figs, so it’s not surprising that even modern Greeks believe figs to be a source of strength and stamina! The wild figs of the Greek countryside are usually small and often seedless but filled with the most heavenly sweet nectar. In the early 1900’s Greek emigrants took cuttings of Smyrna figs, a particularly luscious variety, to California, where they now produce magnificently plump and juicy Calimyrna figs, a lovely green-amber fruit perfect for drying. More widely available though is the deep rich purple Mission fig ...

Dishes prepared included

Peppered Dried Figs Piquant Almond Figs Olive Dip Black Olives & Lentil Salata

Aromatic Fresh Cheese with Figs Bay-Scented Chicken & Figs Anoula’s Dried Figs

Sweet-Baked Figs Fresh Fig Custard Cretan Fig Bread Sweet Fig Pies

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The Art of the Greek Meze Table

Slow Food, London & Bristol

The word meze is probably of Persian origin but, as we’ve seen here, the true philosophy of the meze table – that is, a tantalizing display of tempting, bite-size tidbits, skilfully assembled for their contrasting or complementary colours, flavours, textures, and nutritional balance – dates from the time of ancient Greece.

It is probably no coincidence that, at this time too, wine became a much appreciated drink. Since the doctors and scholars of this time knew that drinking wine on an empty stomach was not a good idea, with characteristic creative logic, they made it impossible for Greek society to indulge in such a barbaric practice, and delectable little dishes of food became available wherever drinks were served ...

The meze table works this way: Guests are always expected to help themselves to as much as they like, and it’s the hosts' duty to make sure empty dishes are replenished with more, or different, mezedes as necessary. This is not just politeness on the hosts’ part but an important social ritual. By providing good food and drink, stimulating conversation, and an easy relaxed atmosphere, the host demonstrates his or her ability to satisfy both the physical and emotional needs of guests.

Although this alone does not make the Greek meze table much different from other cuisines elsewhere in the Mediterranean, what does make it very different is the great learning and wisdom the ancient Greeks brought to their tables. For they perceived food and eating as an art – the art of gastronomy – and elevated it into the realms of the sciences ...

Dishes served included

Smoked Fish Salad Salted Almonds Kephtedakia Black Olives and Lentil Salata

Revithosalata Fragrant Aubergines with Olives Tiny Tomatoes with Green Olive Sauce

Cracked Potatoes Tsatsiki Baked Cheese and Spinach Pies

Sesame Greens Pies Marjoram Meat Pies Greek cheeses Spoon sweets

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Why Cronos Didn’t Like Watercress

The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) at the Greek Orthodox Academy, Chania, Crete

I discovered the great health benefits of watercress not by studying a book, but by sharing olives, barley bread, wine, cheese and a handful of the herb with a Cretan shepherd one day, in his family home in the mountains. Instead of describing this iron-laden, vitamin-packed peppery green in nutritional detail he told me a story, and it went something like this:

According to him (and Cretan legend), the birthplace of Zeus is on Crete, in the Dikton Cave, high on the Lasithi plateau. Zeus, a much loved little baby, thrived on a diet of milk and honey – a good diet indeed to keep him calm, but hardly one to turn him into a warrior-god. This was unfortunate, for he had a problem looming.... His father, Cronos, king of all the gods, had a nasty habit of killing his male offspring before they grew old enough, and strong enough, to usurp him. This rather upset, and definitely annoyed, their mother, so she hid her latest baby son, Zeus, from his father's unwelcome attention. However, inevitably, the day arrived when Zeus was a baby no longer, and it was impossible for his mother to continue to hide him. She realised he needed strength to face his father so she fed him on watercress, which grew in abundance in the mountain spring just outside her cave. This did the trick, and Zeus dispatched his father, becoming himself the king of the gods ...

Hippocrates may have heard this story, or a similar one, for he built his first hospital near a swift-running stream – the perfect habitat for watercress. We now know that the herb contains more than a dozen vitamins and minerals including gram for gram more vitamin C than oranges, more calcium than whole milk, and more iron than spinach. As Zeus (and, unfortunately for himself, Cronos) discovered, way back in the legendary past, watercress is a true super-food ...

More presentations on Greek foods & food culture given at IOOC conferences

Crete, a paradise for food

Bangkok, Thailand

Greek breads, ancient & modern

Taipei, Taiwan

Greek fish, great flavours

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Olive oil, kitchen gold

Kalamata, Crete

Feasting, fasting and Greek cuisine

Athens, Greece

The story of meze table

Hania, Crete

Food wisdom of the Greek past

London, UK

Greek garden: Herbs, spices and greens

Toronto, Canada

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Purslane, Virulent Weed or Very Good Food?

Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at Maltidenshus, Grythyttan, Sweden

Valuable foods of Greek antiquity

If you find yourself in an expensive restaurant in London, New York, Sydney or Athens, admiring a pretty little cluster of purslane's delicate, green leaves on your plate, you may be interested to know that it’s a weed. In fact, it's a very pervasive one, according to the US department of agriculture. But the ancient Greeks didn’t have quite such a jaundiced view of purslane ...

Although purslane is rarely seen on our own tables today, this pretty herb has a long and interesting history. English medieval cooks and gardeners loved purslane. The ancient Greeks made a bread flour from purslane seeds and pickled its fleshy stems; Greek country cooks now serve purslane as a salad herb, either alone or with other khorta (wild greens). On Mexican tables, the hot, peppery bite of cooked purslane is enjoyed with eggs and pork, while Chinese cooks value its sharp flavor and slightly slippery quality with noodles.

Closer to home, the FDA lists purslane as a pervasive weed (the 7th worst, worldwide) but to those of us who love its earthy, slightly acidic flavor and crisp, succulent stems and leaves, the word 'weed' hardly seems fair. Purslane is simple to grow and there are several varietals available to the gardener – the two best culinary ones are both summer herbs, portulaca oleracea (green purslane) and portulaca sativa (golden purslane).

Medieval herbals describe purslane as 'cold', meaning that it was considered a cure for a 'burning' (malfunctioning) heart and liver. Greeks refer to it as a blood-cleansing herb. They were right – recent research has confirmed that purslane is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the heart-friendly vitamins A and C ...

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Food Tourism: Food motivates travel

Bridge across the Americas: Panama, Tourism & Hospitality, Panama City, Panama

An extract...

What is food tourism?

Who are today’s gastronomic tourists?

Why the growing interest in food tourism?

A desire on the part of the visitor to gain insider-knowledge, to be part of a country’s 'food world'

A growing enjoyment and appreciation of traditional dishes & flavors

An interest in tracing a culture through its food history to today’s trendy tables

Where is the perfect destination for a tourist seeking a memorable 'food experience'?

Food tourism influences consumer taste at home and abroad, From the authentically old to fine modern cuisine there are many economic benefits to be gained by both the local people involved in quality food and drinks production and the country's tourism programme when a government or regional body invests in food-related tourism. For instance:

Current food & wine-related activities on Santorini:

Restaurants Up-market, simple, and many inbetween

Tavernas Grills, fish

Kafenions, zacharoplasteia (patisseries)

Mom & pop Kusinas, souvlaki

Wineries Tours, wine tastings

Bakeries Breads, pies, sweets

Indigenous foods production Fava, capers

Local food specialities Petimezi, jams, spoon sweets, preserved tomatoes

Deli shops, local and regional products Honey, herbs, olive oils, salted fish, sausages

Successful tourism programs on Santorini lead to influence elsewhere:

Delis and supermarkets National and international – stock the foods & drinks

Food-industry recipe-writers Use the country’s culinary legacy in their promotional materials

Chefs Include their interpretations of the region’s dishes on their menus

Chefs Experiment with the country’s flavors and food products

General credibility of the cuisine Rises amongst consumers

A sense of pride-of-place Increases

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Cookery Schools: Their role in the growth of gastronomic tourism

Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK

An extract....

What are the benefits of a cookery school to the host region/country ?

Gastronomic tourism brings media interest to a country and/or region

Case Study Kandra Kitchen Crete, Greece

Gastronomic tourism influences consumer taste

Case Study Ancient Wisdom, Modern Tables, Santorini, Cyclades, Greece

Gastronomic tourism is of interest to professionals working in food & wine

Case Study Oaxaca, Mexico

Gastronomic tourism encourages the development of responsible, eco-friendly land management and local food & culture-related services; tourists seek traditional dishes & locally produced foods

Case Study South West England

Food as Destination The development of a 'food cluster' in South West England. Food-related businesses begun, or re-invented/developed, in the last five years within eight miles of a successful UK cookery school.

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