I love to follow Greek food bloggers, and buy Greek cookbooks in English, especially because I can easily share their recipes with my friends who don't speak Greek. I'm usually drawn to food bloggers that take traditional recipes and bring them to the present moment, and Krystina is definitely one of those. Over the last years, through Zelos and her IG account @kouzounaskitchen, we exchanged many messages and ideas and it only felt fitting to profile Krystina in our Greek Women in Business blog. On a more personal level, I, too, grew up with a grandma, yiayia, who taught me how to appreciate good food and gave me much #lovethroughfood. Enjoy Krystina's interview!
What's the story behind Kouzounas Kitchen?
Kouzounas Kitchen is dedicated to my yiayiá, my grandmother Stavroula Kouzouna Kalapothakou. Yiayiá came from Mani, Greece and was a fantastic home cook. I learned many of her traditional Greek recipes and now share them through my blog. (I hope Yiayiá is looking down upon me, smiling as I share many of her delicious recipes, while adding my very own twist.)
I fulfilled a long-awaited dream of mine when my "Back To My Roots" cookbook was published on February 28, 2016. "Back To My Roots" is not only packed full of mouth-watering recipes, but I also share my personal story, kitchen tips and tricks, bits and pieces of the history of olive oil and its benefits, and much, much more!
My second cookbook, "A Drop of Ladi & My Greek Soul", was published in 2019. "A Drop of Ladi & My Greek Soul" is much more than just a cookbook. It encompasses Greek recipes, intertwining traditional and modern styles, bringing the best of Greek cooking to your table, which isperfect for a beginner or intermediate foodie who appreciates Greek cuisine!
What motivates you to do what you do?
My passion for food is definitely my motivation! Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated with cooking and enjoyed watching my parents cook up a storm. We would listen to Greek music, gather in the kitchen and cook together. That is why I became a chef! Learning how to combine unique and fresh ingredients to make a dish pop is what makes me happy!
What is/was the biggest challenge as a woman entrepreneur?
There were MANY challenges.
I started at a young age as an entrepreneur, so oftentimes I don’t think people took me too seriously. For example, I taught a phyllo dough cooking class to the chefs at the Art Institute. They thought, "who is this young chef and why is she teaching us?!" But as time went on, I gained the respect of others in the culinary profession.
Other challenges I encountered were how to continue making my business grow and succeed, especially during the pandemic. I think that was and still is a huge learning process for me.
What do people think of your creations? Which one do they really love?
I think my readers on the blog and on other social media platforms really enjoy my recipes. I receive very positive feedback for most of the recipes. My food blog is quite unique, sharing traditional and modern Greek recipes....a blog that has been around for almost 10 years!!
I like to elevate the traditional recipes with my own creative twist. One of the all-time-favorite recipes is my Greek koulourákia cookies with a coffee twist. These were extremely popular during Pascha (Greek Easter) and the recipe received many views from all around the world. Here is the recipe link:
What's your favorite Greek food and why? Can you share with us your favorite recipe?
Ohh, this is really hard! I love many Greek foods, but I must share one specific pie that I absolutely adore! I love spanakópita, which is Greek spinach & feta pie. I just returned from Greece and had the opportunity to visit my Yiayiá’s horió (village), Kotronas, which is located in the Máni region. To my surprise, the spanakópita I had at the hotel was very similar to mine - such an aromatic pie with so much flavor! Please do try my spanakopita as this recipe has a special place in my heart.
Describe Greece in a sentence
A mystical Mediterranean land filled with sunshine, delicious cuisine, and of course the many unique islands.
Enjoy the delicious taste of PDO Kimi figs from the island of Evia and bring the flavors of a Greek summer to your table. Hand-crafted by Kumilio using traditional techniques with no additives, preservatives, artificial coloring or flavors.