This March we are celebrating National Nutrition Month® by exploring the cultural eating traditions of the Mediterranean. Hear how some of our top chefs got to where they are today and what they think about the Mediterranean lifestyle.
How did you get your start in the culinary world?
I grew up in Greece and I was one of those kids that from a young age was fascinated with food. My grandmother had a lot to do with that! When I moved back to Michigan in high school, I was working at a restaurant and I knew then that I wanted to be in culinary. After college my culinary path took me to various hotels and restaurants that ultimately lead me to work for Chartwells.
Where do you find inspiration for cooking?
I get inspiration from a lot of sources but seasonal ingredients motivate me to discover new flavors.
How do you think a Mediterranean cuisine fits into a healthy eating style?
The many benefits of the Mediterranean diet are well documented. It is a well-balanced cuisine, that uses lots of vegetables and grains. A lot of the traditional dishes are naturally plant based and low on saturated fats. There is also a big emphasis on the freshness and the seasonality of the ingredients witch I love. Still in many places all produce is not available year round.
Do you have any practical tips for beginners in the kitchen?
Ask a lot of questions and practice, practice, practice.
What is your favorite Mediterranean dish and why?
As I mentioned all produce was not available year round when I was growing up thus making some dishes very seasonal and much anticipated. One of my favorite dishes was moussaka, which is a dish that consists of layered sliced Potatoes, seasoned ground beef, roasted eggplants and béchamel. There is such a balance to that dish. When my mother was preparing that back then that signaled that summer has officially arrived!
Bio: Demetrios Kyprianos grew up in Greece and moved to Michigan at age 15. After culinary school, Demetrios also earned a CEC certification from the American Culinary Federation. Demetrios has been with Compass Group for 10 years and is the Campus Executive Chef at Eastern Michigan University.