My Greek Table with Diane Kochilas | Saturday at 7P
Hosted by chef, award-winning cookbook author and restaurateur Diane Kochilas, this culinary/travel series celebrates Greek history and culture through delicious food. Join Diane as she travels throughout Greece and its islands, where she explores many of the foods that Greece is known for (olive oil, feta, honey, yogurt and more), and discovers the country’s traditions. Then watch Diane create simple home-cooked meals using the featured ingredients in each episode, and learn her tips on how to cook and pair them in a traditional Greek meal. In each episode, Diane takes viewers on a journey that will inspire them to travel to this beautiful country. She visits Greek-island home kitchens, sails in the deepest blue sea on earth, showcases some of the world’s most stunning archeological sites, and explores the food continuum that is Greek cuisine, from prehistory to the present. “Greek cuisine is healthy, delicious and extremely varied. It goes way beyond baklava and gyros,” says Kochilas, a New York native who now resides in Athens. “With My Greek Table, I want to reveal a country and a culinary point of view that feeds my soul and has shaped me into the person and chef that I am today.”
My Greek Table with Diane Kochilas was nominated for a 2019 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award for Independent Video or TV Series.
In this episode, Diane introduces viewers to the rich and varied cuisine of the two main island groups in the Aegean: the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. A visual introduction highlights the region’s most stunning vistas and seminal foods. In the kitchen, Diane cooks from her basket of Greek island goodies, sharing recipes from Syros, Amorgos, Rhodes and Santorini, while she weaves the aromatic story of one of Greece’s most delicious food destinations.
Can anyone imagine Greek cuisine without the tomato? When this relative newcomer arrived in Greece it was at first disparaged and feared. It took a curious Capuchin monk living on one of the oldest streets in the world, in the Plaka section of Athens, to first plant this new-world vegetable in the 18th century. From there, the tomato spread to Santorini, where it has been a staple crop ever since. And the rest is history. Diane follows the path of this most basic food, all the while cooking up some of Greece’s most delectable tomato-based dishes
Beans and legumes are among the most ancient foods in Greece, a mainstay of the Greek-Mediterranean Diet. But they also provide a kind of edible philanthropy, as Diane discovers in a visit with the founder and volunteers of a humanitarian group that sets up a street side pot of bean soup for anyone in need. They delve into the subject of the soup itself and the role of beans and pulses in Greek culinary history. As a humble food, pulses have sustained Greeks from prehistoric times to the present. We discover the varieties of different Greek beans and pulses as Diane strolls through the market, then heads to her own kitchen to cook up three delectable Greek bean dishes.
Honey. Figs. Olives. Olive Oil. Cheeses. Nuts. Snails. Spices. These are just a few of the foods that mark one of the most characteristic aspects of Greek cuisine: the continuity of ingredients from as far back as Neolithic times antiquity to the present. In a magical tour of Athens that stretches from a walk with Diane through the bustling modern market to the Ancient Agora with Dr. John Camp, one of the rock stars of archeology, this episode explores the history of this ancient cuisine, making it delightfully relevant to our needs and tastes today. Back in the kitchen, Diane prepares an ancient feast for modern cooks, based on ingredients that have been part of this diet for thousands of years. She even cooks in an earthenware pot whose design has stood the test of time.
At a local yogurt purveyor in Athens, Diane enjoys a true Greek classic: thick, tart Greek yogurt with honey, great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Delving into this simple pleasure leads her on an excursion to a small artisanal producer of Greek yogurt in the mountains of the Peloponnese. He follows the whole process of making yogurt and learns the secrets of setting then straining this iconic Greek food. Back in the kitchen, Diane prepares scrumptious dishes that illustrate the versatility of Greek yogurt for every meal of the day.
Almost 100 years ago, Greeks from the shores of Asia Minor, present-day Turkey, emigrated en masse into Greece, inundating areas, among them the port of Piraeus and environs, forever changing both the flavors and music of their adopted homeland. Amid the riffs of their rebetika music, in one of the oldest tavernas in Greece, Diane tells the story of how their exodus and arrival on Greek shores brought the likes of exotic spices, luscious urbane recipes and soulful music to Greece. Back in her kitchen, she cooks up a selection of the most famous dishes these Greeks have brought to the mainland and which have become an indelible part of the culinary tapestry.
Kalimera! That’s Greek for Good Morning, and in this episode, Diane explores the varied ways to start the day with Greek-style breakfast and brunch. From Greece’s unique coffee culture to the gentle herbal teas that are at once soothing and therapeutic, Diane explores the day’s first sips then delves into sweet and savory regional breakfast and brunch specialties, from the islands and mainland. Finally, in a nod to modern times, she whips up a brunch cocktail classic, a Mimosa made with traditional Greek ingredients.
Nothing speaks more to Greek cuisine and to Greece itself than the image of traditional fishing boats plying the waters of a crystal-clear blue sea. In this episode, Diane visits a local fisherman and fish taverna to learn the secrets of sustainable fish cookery. Along the way, she discovers some of the local fish and seafood that thrive as well as those that are endangered. On the dock, she makes a traditional fish soup, kakavia, with the captain. Back in her own kitchen, she cooks up a stormy sea of treats, all environmentally sound and sustainable, sharing with her American audience some of the practices we can all abide by in order to preserve our natural bounty.