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Greek food expert Diane Kochilas helps Celestyal create new dining experience

Diane Kochilas alongside other chefs, plus a snapshot of the six-course Greek tasting menu
Celestyal Cruises has created a new signature Greek menu and dining experience in collaboration with Diane Kochilas that will be available on sailings starting this month.

 The premium ‘My Greek Table Six-Course Tasting Menu,’ which features local and regional ingredients from many of the islands visited by Celestyal, will be offered for an additional charge to passengers dining in Celestyal’s specialty restaurant. A daily signature dish created by Kochilas will also be featured as part of the main dining room menu, such as an Ikarian phyllo pie filled with seasonal greens, summer squash, carrots and herbs. 

The dishes are centred around the healthy Mediterranean diet, with many being plant-forward or vegetarian, gluten-free and/or vegan.

Diane Kochilas

Greek-American Kochilas is one of the world’s foremost experts on Greek and Mediterranean cuisine and runs the Glorious Greek Kitchen Cooking School on Ikaria – an island where she spent time growing up and which is renowned for the life longevity of its inhabitants.

The host, creator and co-producer of ‘My Greek Table’ – a cooking and travel show sponsored by the line and broadcast in the US and Australia – she is the author of more than 18 cookbooks on Greek-Mediterranean Cuisine and a consulting chef.

Celestyal’s Greek roots

‘We are thrilled to expand our partnership with Diane that started in 2019 with our sponsorship of season three of ‘My Greek Table’ and has developed into this dynamic culinary collaboration which places additional emphasis on Celestyal’s Greek roots through our cuisine experiences,’ explained Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer, Celestyal Cruises.

‘As more and more travellers seek healthier food options, we are delighted to have joined forces with such a well-loved and admired Greek culinary icon as Diane to provide our guests with authentic onboard experiences that no other line sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean can offer.’

Menu highlights

The menu starts with homemade dips including Syros maintanosalata, made with pesto, capers and herbs, roasted tomato kopanisti and smoked eggplant caviar, accompanied by freshly baked pita and sesame-encrusted simit bread.

A first course follows featuring Cretan octopus carpaccio and a second course of Aegean fisherman’s saffron avgolemono soup.

The third course is an Aegean lobster escallop boiled or grilled and served with ouzo-scented golden rice and a side of Kalamata olive mayonnaise with Greek yogurt plus an intermezzo course of pappardelle of zucchini with marinated tomatoes, mint and toasted pine nuts. 

The fourth main course features a Kalogeros terrine with sliced beef loin, sheep’s milk cheese and tomatoes served with Naxos oven-fried potatoes. 

An arugula, red onion, grilled manouri and pasteli crumble salad serves as the fifth course, which precedes the choice of a ‘Greek village’ cheese platter or a ‘floating Greek island in a wine-dark sea’ along with a Greek digestive and spoon sweet.

All courses are paired with local Greek wines sourced from destinations frequented by the line.

A ‘no-brainer’

Kochilas said of the partnership, As the Mediterranean diet continues to gain popularity and more travellers discover the variety of Greek cuisine beyond the classic Greek street food, I am so excited to bring my love of Greek cuisine, its products, regional flavours and health-giving qualities on board Celestyal.

‘Greece is an amazing gastronomy destination, with delicious adventures in every port of call. The interest we both have in sharing the love for the culture and food of Greece made my partnership with Celestyal a no-brainer.’