21 semi-finalists are dreaming-up and constructing original salads with fresh fruit and vegetables. 7 finalists will 'battle' it out on May 4.
The first round was held in Kalamata, home of the kalamata olive. Fruit and vegetables which thrive in this hot climate, described as 'treasures of the mediterranean', are to be utilised by young chefs to improve and promote greece and its gastronomy (greek word - gastronomia). Gastronomic tourism is the next step they hope.
Chefs will use local olive oil, olive paste, olives, vinegar, dried and preserved specialites which are found all over the country. Lots of olives I presume, black, green, salted and pickled, capers, sun-dried tomatoes which are in fashion now. Cheeses white and yellow, cured pork and all those seasonal vegetables.
What's in season now. Lots. We're inbetween winter and summer so there is still beetroot to be found, spinach, lettuces red, green, wrinkled or not, a few artichokes at the end of their reign, some early beans, tomatoes and cucumber. Strawberries are everywhere, very cheap and lemons, lemons, heaps of lemons.
Some dill, greek yogurt, along with that extra virgin olive oil, the juice from those lemons and you have the makings of something spectacular. The tourists will gobble it down. Traditional greeks will look at it all with doubt and ask for their beetroot with garlic sauce and their spinach in a pie.