Kefi is a Greek word roughly equivalent to “good times”– and when are times better than when surrounded by great friends and filled with delicious, nurturing food?

Chef Kefi is an RN by day interested in community health, food justice, running, and the New Yorker. I take my frappe sketos (σκέτος), my politics progressive, and my leftovers unmicrowaved, thank you very much. Cooking Up Kefi came about the way most great ideas do: surrounded by family while polishing off a still-steaming saganaki on the beautiful Greek island of Rhodes.

The Family Kef has a long history of mixing food and pleasure: I was raised in the vinyl booths of my Pappou’s diner (which was much more than a 24-hour food spot), our family table was rarely set without extra spots for friends or family (or, more likely, friends who had become family), and my 17th birthday was marked by a true sit-down dinner party (complete with pick-the-pasta-or-chicken card … I was a very formal teenager). In short, I was brought up to believe that to love someone is to offer them a place at your table, and the table is where most of the kefi takes place.

In June 2011, I decided to avoid eating most grains (flour, rice, couscous, quinoa… the list goes on) and, later, refined sugar. Since then, I’ve enjoyed the challenge of making foods that rate high on the ANDI scale and carry an even higher YUM factor. Lots of my dishes are inspired by tastes of the Eastern Mediterranean–but I’ve yet to find a cuisine that doesn’t sing to my palate.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @chefkefiRN

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