Princess Tatiana is the first International Ambassador of The Hellenic Initiative (THI) and is currently in Australia for the One Greece 2017 series.
The Hellenic Initiative was founded in 2012 in response to the worsening economic crisis of Greece, with a mission to mobilise the Greek diaspora and philhellene community to support sustainable economic renewal for Greece and its people.
Having lived in Greece for the past four years with her husband Prince Nikolaos, son of Constantine II, former King of Greece, Princess Tatiana has collaborated with various charities and organisations, many of whom are supported by The Hellenic Initiative.
When asked to be THI’s International Ambassador, Princess Tatiana told GCT “it seemed like the perfect fit. It is an unbelievable honour to become part of this global, noble community that is committed to helping shape Greece’s long-term recovery.”
We had the pleasure of speaking to Princess Tatiana during her visit to Sydney, about her endless charity work, a splendid cookbook ‘A Taste of Greece,’ which she co-authored, as well as the Princess’ love of Greek cuisine and culture.
Can you please tell us about your decision to move to Greece?
We decided to move to Greece, a lifelong dream of my husband, Prince Nikolaos’, in 2013. It was at a time when many people were packing up to leave Greece. Instead we closed up our house in London, loaded the car and drove from London to Greece. One thing I’ll never forget is tossing the keys of the London house into the mailbox and closing that chapter of our lives to embark on a new adventure together – in Greece.
In 2016, you co-edited a compelling illustrated cookbook ‘A Taste of Greece.’ What inspired you to do this?
One of my greatest passions in life has always been food and cooking. Having been born to multicultural parents and lacking a sense of national identity, food has played an integral part in forming my cultural identity. When people ask me where home is, I always reply, “the kitchen”. Moving to Greece with my husband, Prince Nikolaos, has added a new chapter to my culinary identity and allowed me to redefine what “home” tastes like.
But this book is much more than just a cookbook. It is a collection of recipes, memories and traditions of 40 well-known personalities (Nobu, Margaret Attwood, Valentino, Rita Wilson, Arianna Huffington to name a few) from around the world who share their love of Greece. This book is a testament to the love that Greece inspires in so many.
It is the result of a collaborative effort between co-editor, Diane Farr Louis, myself and the NGO Boroume, the Greek food-donating and saving, non-profit organisation which offers over 22,000 meals per day to those in the greatest need. The proceeds of the book support the NGO Boroume.
What are a few of your favourite Greek dishes?
I am a very “seasonal” person. In winter my favourite dishes are heartwarming stews and soups—for example, Kotosoupa me avgolemeno, which is chicken soup with an egg-lemon sauce and my recipe is in the book! During the hot summer months, I love all the fresh fruits and vegetables that Greece has to offer, eaten alone or in salads. Greece has the sweetest watermelon and the crunchiest cucumbers I have ever tasted!
One of my absolutely favourite dishes is the traditional Cretan ‘Dakos’- I love its simplicity, prepared during the summer with tomatoes, feta cheese, oregano and extra virgin olive oil piled onto a paximadi, which is essentially a dry barley rusk. On their own, these ingredients are so unassuming but, when combined, make an amazing whole. This dish really speaks to the fact that great-quality, seasonal local products – especially the Greek extra-virgin Olive Oil, aka: what I call my “liquid gold”- can lift even the simplest of tastes!
You co-founded ELPIDA Youth, a branch of ELPIDA Association of Friends of Children with Cancer. Tell us more about this?
ELPIDA Youth was founded in the summer of 2015 by a group of young, passionate, women. ELPIDA Youth focuses on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of children with cancer. The mission of ELPIDA Youth is to raise awareness about and support the psychological wellbeing of children who are suffering from cancer. This holistic approach to health is something I am personally very passionate about.
I am extremely proud of what ELPIDA Youth has achieved in such a short time; the first two goals set upon its formation were to refurbish the ELPIDA Guest House, where children and their families stay free of charge whilst undergoing treatment- so that it continues to serve as a welcoming home. Our second aim was to pilot a free-of–charge therapeutic summer camp program, where children with cancer would be involved in activities that aim to enhance their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. The pilot program was held in Korinth at the end of summer 2017 and hosted over 80 children, who are in the maintenance phase. We are extremely grateful to the award we received from The Hellenic Initiative as these funds helped us complete the project this summer.
TRIA ETC, was also co-founded by yourself. Could you please tell us about this initiative?
During the last three years, my two business partners and I have turned our shared love of Greece’s rich traditions and rare crafts into a business and we started TRIA ETC, which is a company that collaborates with talented artisans and artists around Greece to create exclusive accessories and homewares.
These handcrafted items tell fascinating stories about various areas of the country. I have travelled extensively around Greece both with TRIA and with my husband on his photographic expeditions, and we never cease to be impressed by the craftspeople we meet. We have felt so honoured to have created a vehicle in which their beautiful work has access to the international market place.
We are especially happy that some of TRIA ETC collections have travelled to, and been enthusiastically received, in San Francisco, London and Switzerland.
Why do you feel it is important to hold events such as the One Greece Gala Dinner in Sydney?
Events such as the Sydney event are vital as they help raise awareness about the important work that The Hellenic Initiative is doing, as well as raise funds so that THI can continue to support programs and initiatives that empower young entrepreneurs and directly support crisis relief programs.
I personally believe in bringing people together, in community, in sharing experiences. In a time when we receive most of our information through our phones, events such as these bring people together, physically, to feel and to connect.
My husband and I feel unbelievably honoured to be part of these series of THI events in Australia- not only do they celebrate the Hellenic spirit and tighten our bonds, they bring us together for one common goal – our shared love of Greece.