It’s All Greek to this Salt Lake City Food Personality

Photo: John Taylor Photography
Photo: John Taylor Photography

Eleni Saltas is an award-winning author, blogger, TV personality, and recently announced her new e-cookbook, “All You Can Greek: Feasting While Fasting.” The book features 50 recipes that are rooted in Orthodox Lenten traditions, but also suitable for anyone seeking a healthy lifestyle and diet. Saltas is a Salt Lake City, Utah native and fourth-generation Greek American. This cookbook follows Saltas’ first cookbook, “All You Can Greek: Food Life Travel,”  self-published in 2019 and filled with 65 recipes gleaned from her Yiayia (grandmother) including Greek dips, salads, and traditional main courses like spanakopita and avgolemono.

Saltas is a weekly contributor to Recipe.TV, and her Recipe TV show “Eleni’s Greek Odyssey” and its episode “Poseidon Adventure” was recently awarded the “Best of Europe” category at The 15th Annual TASTE Awards in Beverly Hills. Beyondish had the pleasure of speaking wth her.

Your Greek heritage plays a significant role in your work. Can you share some memories of growing up in Salt Lake City’s Greek community and how it influenced your cooking?

Our community is one of the oldest in the country, though most people don’t know that. Our remoteness created an incredibly close-knit community. We grew up playing sports together, dancing together, and attending church camps together. The Greek festivals are the heart of our community, bringing everyone together. Our dance groups always volunteered to skewer meat for the festivals, and later, I loved spending time with my yiayia (grandmother) and her friends, helping to butter phyllo sheets for our pastries. This experience sparked a realization in me about the importance of preserving these traditions for future generations.

In your journey from blogging to television, what has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?
The surprise has been how often I’ve been recognized, which I didn’t see coming. Once, in Amsterdam of all places, a woman stopped me about my TV show. As for the reward, it’s knowing that my work is having an influence and impact. That’s what matters most.

“Eleni’s Greek Odyssey” has received tremendous recognition. How did you feel when you won at the TASTE Awards?
I felt a whirlwind of emotions—gratitude, surprise, and pride, especially Greek pride. Just a year earlier, I was merely a blogger submitting recipes, so this happened rapidly. It’s been incredibly humbling and I’m grateful for the chance to share my passion for Greek food and life with such a large audience.

Your cookbooks feature a range of Greek dishes. What are some of your favorites?
In the winter, I crave a bowl of avgolemono (egg lemon soup). During Lenten or fasting periods, I often make my meatless meat sauce. It hits the spot when I’m craving a meaty flavor, yet it’s vegan! However, if I had to choose one dish to enjoy year-round, it would be my Yiayia’s Orzo from my first cookbook. This dish holds special meaning for me because it’s one of the dishes that ignited my passion for cooking. Since her passing in October 2023, it has become even more special. It’s been a family and reader favorite time and time again!

What’s your process for creating and testing new recipes? Do you have a specific source of inspiration or a particular method you follow?
I start by defining a theme and researching the recipes and ingredients I may include. I spend a lot of time testing, failing, retesting and refining each recipe. In books I can be more descriptive. For blogs and Instagram the approach is more straightforward. Since it has to be more visual, I ensure everything is cut properly and staged nicely, paying close attention to presentation.

How do you see the future of Greek cuisine and culture in the global culinary scene?
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the healthiest in the world, with Greek cuisine at its core, and I believe it will continue to grow in popularity. People worldwide are starting to adopt the Greek approach of prioritizing fresh, simple ingredients, especially for their health benefits. Besides, there’s almost nothing more enjoyable than sitting with a group of Greeks and enjoying a fine meal. Greeks know how to connect.

“Eleni’s Greek Odyssey” showcases not just food, but also Greek culture and travel. How important is it for you to highlight the cultural aspects of Greece in your show?
Food is deeply intertwined with tradition and history. Greece isn’t just a country of great food. It’s a place with deep history, wonderful people, and world-renowned beaches (which, of course, means great seafood). Greek food, travel and culture are a way of life. Highlighting the cultural aspects of Greece is just as important to me as the amount of oregano in a meat sauce or olive oil drizzled on a Greek salad.

What advice would you give to aspiring food bloggers and cookbook authors who want to share their heritage and culture through cooking?
My advice to anyone diving into cooking is to study, tell a unique story through your own eyes, and let your passion for your culture shine through your work. Find the unique thing you possess that others want to learn about. And never give up.


Theodora Tsevas

I am Theodora Tsevas, a Greek-American writer and photographer with a deep appreciation for Mediterranean culture and more. My work revolves around exploring new destinations, savoring local cuisine, and conveying these experiences through my writing and photography.



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