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Greek Diet on Capitol Hill

By on December 14, 2013
First row from left, Rep. Joe Crowley; Greece’s Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos; Rep. Paul Tonko; Head Chef Michael Costa, Master Chef Mike Isabella; Katerina Stai, child nutrition expert. Second row, Chef and Author Diane Kochilas; Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Rep. Nita Lowey; Rep. Grace Meng; Chef Maria Loi; Iron Chef Cat Cora; Argyro Barbarigou, Master Chef TV personality and author.

First row from left, Rep. Joe Crowley; Greece’s Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos; Rep. Paul Tonko; Head Chef Michael Costa, Master Chef Mike Isabella; Katerina Stai, child nutrition expert. Second row, Chef and Author Diane Kochilas; Rep. Carolyn Maloney; Rep. Nita Lowey; Rep. Grace Meng; Chef Maria Loi; Iron Chef Cat Cora; Argyro Barbarigou, Master Chef TV personality and author.

“The Greek Mediterranean Diet: Where Taste Meets Wellness” was presented earlier in December on Capitol Hill and showcased the healthy Greek cuisine. The event, organized by the Embassy of Greece, members of the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues and made possible with the support of the Daughters of Penelope, featured world-renown chefs and dietary experts. Thalia Assuras, former news anchor at CBS News, emceed.

The presentation followed a recent New York Times article and an accompanying study in the New England Journal of Medicine documenting new findings on how people in countries like Greece have contributed to the health of their populations by embracing a diet that has been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes. After an informational segment, attendees were invited to participate in cooking demonstrations and taste a sampling of Greek cuisine.

From left, Rep. Joe Crowley offering remarks, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Grace Meng, Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos and Rep. Paul Tonko

From left, Rep. Joe Crowley offering remarks, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, Rep. Grace Meng, Ambassador Christos Panagopoulos and Rep. Paul Tonko

Representative Joe Crowley, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, and his Congressional colleagues Gus Bilirakis, and Carolyn Maloney, as well as Greece’s Ambassador to the United States Christos Panagopoulos, were the official hosts. “Not only had the chance to learn more about the health benefits of Greek cuisine, but we got to try it too,” said Congressman Crowley. “When it comes to healthy eating, we have much to learn from our Greek friends!” Representatives Paul Tonko, Nita Lowey and Grace Meng also attended.

From left, Thalia Assuras, Emcee for the event and former CBS & ABC news anchor, and Joanne Saltas offering remarks

From left, Thalia Assuras, Emcee for the event and former CBS & ABC news anchor, and Joanne Saltas offering remarks

According to Daughters of Penelope Grand President Joanne Saltas the event demonstrated “how our heritage and culture contribute to making a beneficial impact upon disease in our society. Because the Daughters of Penelope supports issues that relate to women and the care of the family, we have a strong incentive to promote events such as this one that champions the healthy Greek diet.  We view it as vitally important to awaken the need to introduce it to a wider audience and there is not an audience more important than on Capitol Hill.”

From left, Daughters of Penelope Grand Secretary Connie Pilallis, Grand Vice President Anna-Helene Grossomanides, Grand President Joanne Saltas, Executive Director Elena Saviolakis and Chef Diane Kochilas

From left, Daughters of Penelope Grand Secretary Connie Pilallis, Grand Vice President Anna-Helene Grossomanides, Grand President Joanne Saltas, Executive Director Elena Saviolakis and Chef Diane Kochilas

The evening featured Iron Chef Cat Cora, who is also  president and founder, Chefs for Humanity,Dr. Artemis Simopoulos, President of the Center for Genetics, Nutrition and Health and founder of International Society of Nutrigenetics/Nutrigenomics, Master Chef Argyro Barbarigou,, Michael Costa, head chef, Zaytinya Restaurant, Master Chef Mike Isabella, owner of Kapnos Restaurant, George Pagonis, head chef, Kapnos Restaurant, Diane Kochilas, internationally renowned chef and author, Maria Loi, representative of the Chefs Club of Greece, George Mastrodimitris, president of the Chefs Club of Northern Greece, and Katerina Stai, specialist and expert on “Greek Healthy Recipes for Children”.

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