Monday, December 14, 2009

Global Greek Celebrity Chef, Cat Cora, Keynote Speaker at Deree College Symposium, " Greece as a Culinary Destination"

This week it is Athens' turn to welcome famous jet setting Greek American Chef, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Cat Cora home to Greece!

A talented, smart and dynamic woman who has taken America by storm and is currently promoting the benefits of our wonderful Mediterranean Cuisine and lifestyle all over the USA and the world, Cat Cora is the first,and the only, female winner of the Iron Chef America competition! This is no mean achievement and she deserves congratulations all round!

She has recently inaugurated what promises to be a highly promising new venture which is none other than Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. This is a Greek themed taverna style restaurant right down to the ouzo! We like the fact that at the opening, in a toast to his daughter's latest accomplishment, Cat Cora's father Spiro asked the group to raise a glass to the memory of Walt Disney as well. In Greece it is common practice to remember those who have left this world for higher things...(Read  about the opening in the Orlando Sentinel)

Cat Cora, who has just returned from a weekend in Crete (the home of the Mediterranean Diet)  for wine and olive oil tastings,  features in this month's issue of Greek Vogue and will be the keynote speaker during a workshop on “Greece as a Culinary Destination,” organized by DEREE – The American College of Greece. The workshop will bring together Cora with some top culinary and tourism professionals such as Yiannis Boutaris and fellow Greek American Food Writer and critic Diane Kochilas, and is designed to celebrate the new B.S. in International Tourism and Hospitality Management major at Deree – The American College of Greece (DEREE – ACG).

The three- hour workshop will take place at the John S. Bailey Library at DEREE tomorrow,  Monday, December 14, 2009, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Following the discussion, Cat Cora will offer a live cooking demonstration, titled Modern Twist on Greek Classics.

Culinary tourism has been exploding globally, as countries and tourism enterprises seek to differentiate themselves in the crowded leisure market by appealing to travelers’ particular interests.

Greece has one of the most distinct culinary traditions in the world, and its traditional cuisine, what is universally referred to as the Mediterranean Diet,  has acquired mass appeal in recent years mainly because of persistent reports that it is especially beneficial to human health.

Congratulations on your success Cat Cora! We at Global Greek World welcome you to Greece and wish you all the best in all that you undertake!

Καλη Επιτυχία! Good Luck!

To read more about the event at Deree Click Here

To read more about Cat Cora   Click Here

To follow Cat Cora on Twitter, Click Here

To read Cat Cora's interview in Greek Vogue, Click Here (interview in Greek)


  1. Cat Cora spent the weekend in Crete and had a marvellous time... hopefully it will shine through as she continues on her programme of promoting the Mediterranean diet.

  2. You say 'interview' in Greek.

    But does she really speak any Greek?

    Is she like most diaspora Greeks who refuse to do the hard yards and retain the language but are happy to make money off their heritage.

    Savvas Tzionis

  3. Thank you for your comment Savvas.

    The comment was meant for the benefit of our readers, to advise that the interview is written in Greek. We don't know what language it was given in, unfortunately.

    There are thousands of diaspora Greeks who may not have had the benefit of learning Greek for various reasons, but who have remained committed and have contributed a great deal to Hellenism in general. We agree that it is very important to keep the language going and that is indeed the hard part, but we cannot dismiss those who haven't been able to do so.

    We cannot speak for everyone but we believe that some of Greece's best ambassadors are diaspora Greeks people who aren't bogged down by the sometimes off-putting reality of living in Greece and believe in bringing out the best that Greece has to offer - whether that be music, climate or food!

  4. I think the point of Savvas' comment was that (like myself), he's sick of pseudo Greeks using a at times tenuous link to Hellenism to make money off the rest of us. I don't critise anyone who considers themselves Greek but doesn't know the language, because as you said, there are always various reasons for that. But when I see people advertising their heritage for profit....I get a little bit suspicious.

  5. Thanks for your comment Nikita. Of course there will be people like this but we are always prepared to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and hope that it isn't advertising heritage for profit, but rather perhaps recognising the tremendous value of heritage and wishing to share this with everyone to the extent that it plays such an important part in our development.

    There are a lot of our Global Greeks, celebrities or not, it doesn't matter, who have spent a large part of their lives in denial so to speak but later on discover their Greekness, and advertise their love of Greece with a vengeance. This is always wonderful to see even if it does alienate some of those who spent all their lives promoting Greek causes and being involved.

    Each person though , is different, and some cannot cope with being different, so they just ignore that which makes them different, in this case, their heritage until they themselves have matured! When they discover the beauty and the meaning of their Greek heritage, it's like a whole new world for's never too late and we wouldn't want to take away that feeling!

    For us who have felt like this all our lives, well, I guess we should just be thankful!

  6. Such bitterness! Perhaps the negative commenters on here would benefit by getting off their asses and doing something rather than criticising those that are successful. "make money off the rest of us"? HUH? How does this chef's hardwork make 'money' off you? The fact that she was born in another country does not make her less Greek than you. Just ask the Greek Government who is happy to recognise 3rd generation Greeks born overseas for military and passport purposes!

    In fact, if it's anything like my family, her family has probably contributed a lot to Greece - my father left Greece at 17 years of age and slaved away his whole life to make money to send back to keep his family in Greece alive. Without him, his little brother would've had to be adopted out - that's how poor they were in the rural areas near Tripoli at that time. Now he sends back money to maintain my grandparents house in the village so the rest of the family can use it...

    So if 'you' are happy to accept the money from the diaspora that has kept Greece afloat, I don't think you can bite the hand that feeds you!

    Any promotion of Greece is of benefit to Greece - it increases tourism and investment which is Greece's lifeblood.

    And yes - I do speak fluent Greek - so I guess that makes me a 'proper' Greek in your eyes??!!

    Athanacia (is that Greek enough for you too?)

  7. While I am a strong advocate for diaspora Greeks retaining and teaching the language to their children, I also think it is important to understand the importance that all Greeks play in retaining and defending our culture.

    In Ms. Cora's case, she could have easily just titled herself a southern chef, but her Greek flare, along with some of her colleagues', has actually helped elevate Greek cuisine in the US, where up until recently it was regarded simply as souvlaki and moussaka. While she certainly, and deservedly, may profit from her efforts, there are dozes, if not hundreds, of Greeks involved in Greek cuisine that also profit from her serving as an Ambassador - the importers that bring Greek foods to other markets and the producers that actually cultivate the foods that are sold to be exporters, as well as countless future chefs and restraunters who can open their doors to Greek cuisine without having to spend precious marketing dollars or euros to educate guests that Greek is more diverse than they originally thought. Now, with the DEREE program she is supporting an effort to bring culinary tourism to our country - something that our neighbors in Italy have been doing for years. She is helping Greece be more competitive, and it is a shame if Greeks can't see the potential.

    I DO speak Greek, fluently in fact, to the degree where most Greeks in Greece would not be able to tell that I was born in Texas and have lived in New York for the last ten years. I've also had to defend my "Greekness" to those that have had the benefit of living in Greece all of their lives; but rest assured, some of the proudest Greeks, the best Ambassadors for the country and the real patriotes are those that spent years away from the country.

    A reminder of this fact? We parade down major avenues in major cities and declare our pride. We do NOT riot and put Greece - either the country itself or the flag - on fire.

  8. Who said you have to speak Greek fluently to be able to flaunt your Greek identity? This is just another barrier that "I know Greek, therefore I'm better than you" diaspora Greeks put up (Greek-born Greeks never allude to a linguistic requirement of being Greek), to maintain their pseudo-upper class Greekness.

    Does Cat Cora speak Greek? Yes? Good for her. No? So what? She can still call on her Greek heritage - no one can ever take that away from her, whether she speaks Greek or not.

  9. If you are proud of your Greek heritage you do what I did back in the early 90's.

    My Greek was abysmal, but I made a conscious effort to learn the language.

    I purchased the local Greek paper here in Australia EVERY week, and with my dictionary I read and read and read. I also insisted that my parents only speak Greek to me.

    I did not make any MONEY from it.

    But I guess everything is viewed through the prism of 'what's in it for me'.

    Pardon my cynicism, but here in Australia the current list of 'famous' Greeks can barely string a word between them.

    And this is a DISGRACEFUL state of affiars.

    Here in Australia, up until the late 1980's, the negative stigma of speaking Greek forced many of us to 'unlearn' the language.

    But there is now NO REASON to feel stigmatised over speaking a foreign language.

    Yet, the disease of mono-lingualism just won't let go.

    Savvas Tzionis

  10. Savvas, this comment comes a bt late,, but who is on the current Australian Famous Greeks list?


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