LOS ANGELES – This fall, Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society’s signature culinary event, An Epicurean Journey with Friends, is spotlighting acclaimed chef and Greek Food Ambassador Maria Loi.
A native of Greece, Chef Loi is a restaurateur, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist and healthy lifestyle expert. Well-versed in providing engaging interactive experiences, Chef Loi is hosting a series of three online cooking classes highlighting her renowned healthy Greek recipes and cooking techniques, from her kitchen to yours, via Zoom.
The monthly classes, sponsored by ECOS, Loi Estiatorio and Loi Products, began on October 10, continued on November 7, and will conclude this year on December 5. The event includes an online auction and door prizes. All of the proceeds benefit the national and local commitments of the Philoptochos.
On November 7, Chef Loi prepared two classic Greek recipes with her own unique twist, keftedakia (Greek meatballs) and lemon potatoes. Once again, Loi team members Dara Davenport and Beckett Potter offered wonderful tips and nutritional information about many of the ingredients in the delicious recipes.
Chef Loi used her award-winning Loi Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the recipe, of course, and noted that keftedes was the first recipe she ever made when she was just seven years old. She also noted that the grated tomato in the recipe is not typical of traditional recipes for keftedakia, but she likes to add it since it helps make the keftedakia soft and moist. The recipe also included other unique, non-traditional, yet healthy additions like chopped mushrooms and ground oats. The keftedakia were also not fried, but baked in a 350 degree preheated oven, making them even healthier and easier to make. Chef Loi’s lemon potatoes also included just a teaspoon of tomato paste, Kyknos brand, preferably, for the color and flavor, and semolina for added crunch.
Chef Loi also pointed out that she always starts off by using ECOS brand cleaning products in her kitchen, including the Fruit & Veggie Wash, used to clean the produce in the cooking demonstration. ECOS is one of the event sponsors.
Vassy, the Greek-Australian singer/songwriter and dance music star with over 1 billion combined total streams, was among those who participated in the event. Vassy’s latest song, titled Oxygen, is now available online.
Michael Pavlidis, a national wine specialist for Wines of Greece, also participated, offering insights into the wine of the Limnio variety, Vourvoukeli Estate, which was paired with the keftedakia and the lemon potatoes. Aged for 6 months in oak barrels, the full-bodied red wine taste of berries, spices, and dark chocolate with a bouquet dominated by aromas of cherries, strawberries, pomegranate, and spices. Pavlidis said the Limnio variety pairs well with keftedes, grilled lamb, and other roasted meats.
Chef Loi noted that she was sent two bottles and gifted one to the legendary singer Tony Bennett and his wife Susan to enjoy with their dinner.
Pavlidis said that the Limnio variety is “the beginning of wine” and goes back at least 6,500 years in recorded history and probably goes back even further. He pointed out that the variety is mentioned by Homer in The Odyssey and The Iliad, and it was Plato and Aristotle’s favorite wine.
Dina Demetrius, the Corresponding Secretary of the Saint Sophia Philoptochos Society, moderated the event and also announced the winners of Chef Loi’s Greek Diet cookbook, Leann Hall and Mary Kezios.
Participants also asked questions throughout the event through the Zoom chat feature which Chef Loi and her team were happy to answer.
For reservations to the upcoming cooking class and further information, contact: Tonifaye Palomares by phone: 310-560-0865 or email: [email protected].
More information is available online: stsophiaphiloptochos.org.