Yale University is hosting a symposium April 19-20 showcasing 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 lifestyle can serve as a bridge to a future of healthy, sustainable, and consumer-friendly nutrition, Yale Greek Professor of Public Health, Tassos Kyriakides, said in an interview with Athenian-Macedonian News Agency (NAMA).
The idea for the symposium originated last summer when Kyriakides was visiting Sparta in Laconia in the southeastern Peloponnese and talking to award-winning Greek organic farmer George Sakellaropoulos.
“There, in the heart of its olive groves and in the grandeur 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 the world, through Yale University, to quality Greek products, such as olive oil and table olives , which were part of the ‘trinity’ of the ancient Greek diet with bread and wine,” says Kyriakides.
Yale is conducting a research project on “Olives for Health”
In this context, the Yale School of Public Health is also conducting a research project on “Olives for Health”, under the auspices of the Yale Olive Sciences and Health Institute, aimed at further research on the benefits of daily consumption of specific biological table olives, added the professor.
“The culinary part of the symposium was taken over by the Greek chef Michalis Psilakis, distinguished, among other things, 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 will be moderated by Kyriakides, with keynote addresses by Professor Paul Freedman, Yale Department of History, Secretary General of Hellenes Abroad and Department of Foreign Affairs Public Diplomacy, Professor Ioannis Chrysoulakis, Greek Consul in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Greek star chef Michael Psilakis, as well as judge and international olive oil director Fil Bucchino, whose famous documentary “Obsessed with Oil” will be presented at the symposium.
On the second day there will be a tasting of olive oils from Greece, Italy and Spain, followed by dinner with ancient Greek recipes.
“As people with a Greek education, we not only need to eat to survive, but also to communicate spiritually and mentally, like 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 a cuisine that comes from the past. It may be time to take a step back so that we can move forward.
Related: Why Greek Olive Oil is the Best in the World