Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 30, 2014

Greek Chefs Invade Congress

As part of a push to promote the Hellenic diet, the foyer of the Rayburn House Office Building will be transformed into a “Mediterranean festival of feasting” Wednesday evening, featuring exotic foodstuffs prepared by headline-grabbing Greek chefs.

The “Greek Diet Goes to Congress” demo is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The Embassy of Greece arranged for the invite-only festivities in conjunction with Hellenic Caucus Co-Chairmen Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., and New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley.

“The Omega Diet” author Dr. Artemis Simopoulos is the headliner for the cultural exchange and he will be accompanied by a number of telegenic toques from all over. Some of those who’ll come bearing edible gifts include: Food Network personality Cat Cora, Zaytinya chef Michael Costa, local restaurateur Mike Isabella, Kapnos chef de cuisine George Pagonis and healthy eating advocate Katerina Stai.

A Think Food Group aide said Team Zaytinya would be serving olive oil-poached salmon with smoked walnut skordalia and pomegranate, as well as kale dolmades filled with butternut squash, pine nuts, short grain rice and parsley.

A spokeswoman for Isabella said the “Top Chef” alumnus was planning to woo tasters with marinated shrimp with fennel and grapefruit, melitzanosalata (featuring smokey eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, feta) and fava (yellow lentils, squash, spinach, pearl onions).

An embassy aide said Stai, who mostly works on kid-friendly eats, plans to dish out a modified pumpkin pie mixed with feta and wrapped in phyllo dough, and melomarakona — traditional holiday cookies fashioned from sugar, olive oil, honey, chopped walnuts, orange juice and cinnamon.

“This event will show that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor,” Simopoulous said in a release announcing the inaugural culinary extravaganza.

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