Αmbassador of Greek cuisine around the world
Maria Benardis is a Greek Australian chef and cookbook author and she is widely acknowledged as the ambassador for Greek cuisine, now based in New York. She teaches Greek cookery and the cooking & eating wisdoms to cooking, eating and longevity at the Natural Gourmet Institute of NY.
Benardis’s roots are in Kalamata and Psara, her father’s hometown, where she spent her childhood years and discovered the secrets of Greek cuisine. She would watch and learn each day, as her grandmother made bread, cheese, yoghurt and meals for the family. The ingredients used to create these dishes were always fresh and often home-grown, sparking Maria’s life-long love for organic, seasonal produce.
As Maria grew older, she did as all good Greek girls are encouraged to do, forging a career in the very stable taxation accounting profession, where she excelled to become a well respected and highly sought-after taxation and financial specialist. With over twenty years in management, Maria has taken a change of tack. In 2007, she launched Greekalicious, Sydney’s first exclusively Greek cooking school, providing her an opportunity to motivate the fans of Greek cuisine to take a delicious journey.
Chef Benardis’s first book My Greek Family Table is a favourite of fans and critics and it has offered her gastronomy awards, like the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2009 – Winner Best Mediterranean Cuisine Book (Australia).
Her book Cooking and Eating yourself to better health – How the Wisdom of Ancient Greece Can Lead to a Longer Life focuses on ancient Greek’s wisdom still teaching us to cook the right way, to live healthy and longer.
Her work is the outcome of her research conducted by interviewing Greek cooks in several parts of Greece and Australia and also by referring to ancient Greek texts. Maria Benardi’s target is to preserve our nutritional history and expertise and valuable classical recipes.