Chef Maria Loi is an internationally renowned entrepreneur, author, television personality and philanthropist working to change the world – one healthy bite at a time. Loi’s mischievous grin, sparkling eyes, and culinary prowess have made her a food superstar; she is a popular television chef in Greece and the author of more than 36 cookbooks, and over 150 magazine editions. She owns an exquisite gourmet restaurant in idyllic Nafpaktos, and has a line of Maria Loi dinnerware and kitchen appliances. She is also the founding partner in a fashion company. She is the founder of Loi Food Products, a specialty brand built on traditional ingredients from Greece; her pastas, beans, botanical herbs, refrigerated dips, honey and olive oil are sold on QVC, at Whole Foods Markets, and in other stores.
“Born in the village of Thermo in southeastern Greece, Loi learned from her grandparents and parents how to cook using golden oil pressed from the plump olives that had ripened under the hot sun, black honey gathered from ancient unspoiled woods, and the oregano that grew wild in the mountains and was caressed by the sun. She raised both vegetables and chickens from a young age and became so passionate about the foods of her country that she is the Ambassador of Greek Gastronomy, having been awarded that honor by the Chef’s Club of Greece. It started, she says, when her grandfather fed her two tablespoons of olive oil — Greek olive oil of course — not that stuff from Italy or Spain every morning and a teaspoon of black honey every night — the honey she and her grandfather had harvested together.”
“He told us the olive oil would flush out the toxins from our body and the honey would kill the germs from our day,” she says. “It’s become such a mantra that patrons seeing her at Loi Estiatorio confide they’re taking their daily dose of olive oil just like she recommends. Her staff has lost weight following her Greek dieta or diet (think Mediterranean but the Greeks really invented it, she says), and she is healthy as a horse.”
“Of course you should always talk to your doctor,” she says with a broad smile, most likely because she believes that any doctor would back up her claims. “Even the FDA has adopted now that we have to do two tablespoons of olive oil every day.”
“According to WebMD, the FDA has approved a new qualified health claim for olive oil-based on studies showing that consuming about two tablespoons of olive oil a day may reduce the risk of heart disease. This, of course, is not news to Loi who has learned from the land and her ancestors about the wonders of eating.”
“Not only does she cook and consume olive oil, but she also puts some on her hair at night and shampoos in the morning. Named one of the top Women Makers by Whole Foods Market and one of the best female owned and operated brands/suppliers with whom Whole Foods Market works, Loi was selected as one of the Top Women in Food Service & Hospitality, and is called the ‘Julia Child of Greece.’”