Maria Benardis is a Gourmand Award winning Author, Intuitive Chef, Food Alchemist, Motivational Speaker, Intuitive Health & Wellness Coach and Founder of Greekalicious (www.mariabenardis.com)(www.greekalicious.nyc).
After spending many years as a well-respected and highly sought-after accounting, taxation and financial specialist, Maria decided a career change was in order and went back to her first love- cooking and wellness. Her last position was a Board member on the Tax Practitioners Board of Australia (a Division of the IRS equivalent).
Greekalicious, a concept she formed while on the Greek Island of Mykonos in 2004. “So many people think that souvlaki and moussaka is all there is to Greek cooking, and I enjoy continually surprising family and friends with amazing Greek dishes that they never knew existed”, Maria outlines. “I felt compelled to share my dishes, the food & healing eating wisdom and culture through Greekalicious, and making authentic, ancient and modern Greek cooking available to everyone”.
As a vibrant Greek Australian, Maria has long been passionate about her Greek heritage and culture, and in particular her native cuisine. From her early impressionable years growing up on the Greek island of Psara, Greece her father’s home-town, Maria paid close attention to the women of her family, and how they cooked. It was here she developed her passion for Greek cooking and learned the fundamentals of kitchen lore.
Maria would watch and learn each day, as her grandmother made bread, cheese, yogurt and meals for the family. The ingredients used to create these scrumptious dishes were always fresh and often home-grown, sparking Maria’s life-long love for organic, seasonal produce. In Australia Maria’s Aunt Stavroula continued her traditional culinary education, and many of the dishes Maria creates today draw heavily from these early lessons.
She spent many of my childhood years growing up on the Greek island of Psara. This provided her with many of the basic fundamentals and the kitchen lore of Greek cooking. She would help her grandmother make our bread, cheese, yoghurt and meals on a daily basis. The produce was organically grown and the freshest ingredients were always used. It’s no wonder she is still passionate about cooking with fresh and organic ingredients whenever possible! After working in the kitchen at the Neil Perry restaurant XO, Australia she quickly realized that she wanted to share my recipes and stories of Greekalicious cooking with others.
Her mission to help humanity thrive and realize their limitless potential by equipping them with the know-how to maximize their health and wellness. She believes that self-care is the new health care. She draws heavily on the Ancient Greek ways of energy healing. Practices that healed her.
Maria Benardis, The Motivational Speaker with Bite, is also a Gourmand award-winning chef and author. She has been featured in top media including The New York Times, The Today Show, and Vogue; she has offered “Cooking with Agapi” classes at prestigious venues including The Natural Gourmet Institute, Brooklyn Kitchen, Sur La Table, Williams Sonoma and Haven’s Kitchen; she is a food and health blogger for The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Mind Body Green; she writes for the Epoch Times and Estiator Magazine, she is the author of three books – My Greek Family Table, Cooking & Eating Wisdom for Better Health, and Greekalicious Feast. In May 2017 Maria released her fourth book MY GREEK FAMILY TABLE. In addition to demonstrating that the foods of ancient Greece are as relevant – and delicious – as ever, Maria places and emphasis on eating for health, healing and well-being. The recipes in MY GREEK FAMILY TABLE feature an abundance of fruit vegetables, healthy fats, and wholesome ingredients, and there is healing wisdom throughout the book as well as a glossary of the “Healing Ingredients of Greece” to show readers how to choose ingredients to treat ailments.
Maria is also a faculty instructor, at the New Earths University’s School of Health & Wellness representing its discipline, Wellness Sovereignty. She is also the creator of the online course, The Ancient Greek Hidden Practices & Tools for Health, Happiness, Harmony, and Wellness; returning the world back to agapi (unconditional love) and the real diet (Greek word meaning “a way of life’).
She also launched in September 2020, her talk show – “The Health & Faith Show”, covering news impacting on our health, wellness and faith.
While offering live demos of classic and contemporary Greek cuisine, Maria imparts the wisdom of ancient Greek doctors and philosophers, recounts dramatic narratives from Greek mythology, shares personal anecdotes from her life on the Greek islands, and perhaps most importantly, tells the inspirational story of her extraordinary transformation.
Following a traumatic youth, Maria suffered a number of chronic illnesses, such as depression and cysts. She healed herself from her illnesses including the cysts all over her body which according to doctors were incurable in light of her genetic predisposition to cancer. Her mother and father passed away from cancer. Her frustration with doctors and her many surgeries lead her to search for alternatives and to heal herself by practicing the ancient Greek wisdoms and philosophies. Learning the ancient medicines of her Greek ancestors – meditating on classic Greek texts and incorporating the Greek approach to food, music, nature, and more into her lifestyle regimen. Not only did Maria completely any traces of illness, but also found her passion and purpose in life: to reawaken the ancient Greek “diet” (a Greek word that actually means “way of life”) and teaches people that the power to heal lies in their very own hands. Maria feels it’s her duty and calling to share these ancient Greek wisdoms and practices and to help others. She is also passionate about sharing this information with others so they can heal too.
Maria has an online store where she focuses on offering products and services that equip people with the know-how and products to self-heal based on Ancient Greek wisdom and therapies. She offers products and services that focus on Gods Medicine and that stay true to the Ancient Greek methods and practices that worked to heal her.
After much success in Australia Maria set her sights on expanding to the United States. In 2014, Maria packed up and moved to New York City, where she continues to spread her wisdom and passion about Greek cooking and its healing wisdoms.
Her mission as outlined on her website is: “Helping Humanity thrive and realize their limitless potential by equipping them with the know how to maximize their health and wellness.”