Chef, author and cooking show host Diane Kochilas hails from Ikaria, the Greek island famous for the longevity of its residents.
She’s an ambassador of healthy Greek cuisine and features countless Greek recipes on her website ranging from classics such as spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice) and dolmades (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves in fresh tomato sauce) to more creative ones like pumpkin sweet potato moussaka, mushroom “gyro” pitta wrap sandwich or mastiha-spiced hot chocolate.
Kochilas’ current favorite Greek dish is a roasted whole eggplant with crumbled feta and crisped sardine bones with crunchy sea salt from MeZen, a small meze eatery in the mainland port of Volos.
“Athens is an amazing food city, especially for a look at the hip, modern take on Greek food,” she says.
“Thessaloniki is an awesome food city, too. But everywhere you travel here you notice how close Greeks are to the land. That is the real secret to great food, understanding ingredients and seasons, and knowing how to use all the beautiful things that grow wild.”
Her most recent cookbook “Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die” is based on the Ikarian wisdom on all things food-related.