Yale University is hosting a symposium on April 19 and 20 introducing the philosophy and significant health benefits of the ancient Greek diet.
“Ancient Greek Cuisine: Back to the Future” seeks to re-examine how ancient Greek cuisine and the Mediterranean way of life can serve as a bridge to a future of healthy, sustainable and friendly nutrition, Greek professor of public health at Yale, Tassos Kyriakides, said in an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).
The idea for the symposium came up last summer when Kyriakides was visiting Sparta in Laconia in the southeast Peloponnese and talking with award-winning Greek organic farmer George Sakellaropoulos.
“There, in the heart of its olive groves and in the greatness of Greek nature, we discussed how to move forward, with an eye on antiquity and our history. We came up with the idea of a symposium, with the aim of introducing to the entire world, through Yale University, Greek quality products, such as olive oil and table olives, which were in the ‘trinity’ of the ancient Greek diet along with bread and wine,” Kyriakides explains.
In this context, the Yale School of Public Health is also carrying out a research project on “Olives for Health,” under the auspices of the Yale Olive Sciences and Health Institute, aiming to further research the benefits from the daily consumption of specific organic table olives, added the professor.
“The culinary part of the symposium was taken over by the Greek chef Michalis Psilakis, who has been distinguished, among others, by a Michelin star. The award-winning Greek chef who has studied our food heritage for more than 20 years, will present for the first time at Yale, culinary creations based on ancient Greek recipes that follow and promote the same philosophy and are adapted to the modern world,” says Kyriakides.
The symposium will be held at the Yale MacMillan Center and moderated by Kyriakides, with speeches by Professor Paul Freedman, Department of History at Yale, Secretary General of Hellenes Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Professor Ioannis Chrysoulakis, Greek Consul in New York Konstantinos Koutras, award-winning Greek Michelin-starred chef Michael Psilakis, as well as the international olive oil judge and director Fil Bucchino, whose famous documentary “Obsessed with Oil” will presented at the symposium.
On the second day there will be a tasting of olive oils from Greece, Italy and Spain, followed by a dinner with ancient Greek recipes.
“As people with a Greek education, we must not only eat to survive, but also to communicate spiritually and mentally, as the Ancient Greeks did and invented the symposium,” Kyriakides said. “Maybe it’s time to go back to the old days and enjoy a way of life but also food that comes from the past. Maybe it’s time to take a step back so we can move forward.” [AMNA]