I loved the Greek Cooking Odyssey cooking tour. This trip was awesome. From the moment I arrived at the Odyssey to my last morning I was learning something regarding food and the culture of Poros. The owner and her staff were warm loving people. Not only did I learn Greek cooking, I learned the history of Poros, toured the island and was able to get some relaxation in as well. I did not want to leave!
B. Inara & Jim
Our Olive Week on Poros was 5 star in all ways!
We will never forget our wonderful stay on Poros during Olive Week with such a kind, fun, caring group. Katerina is the most amazing host, making everyone feel part of the family while quietly demonstrating that Greeks should be given the role of ‘Organizers in Paradise vs Hell’. ( a joke Katerina recounted that had us all falling off our chairs in laughter.) From the start of each day with a 5 Star breakfast buffet, the scenic boat taxi ride across the bay to Katrina's olive grove, the camaraderie and pride in picking, collecting, shaking and bagging OUR olives to be cold pressed into fresh, grassy green, sweet, peppery organic olive oil later in the week, the shared sumptuous morning teas, lunches and dinners in addition to the fun excursions to local lemon, honey and wine businesses with time to swim in the clear sea, explore the local community and be welcomed when locals knew we were Katerina’s guests. I will always treasure the last day of that week, for not did we celebrate with a feast we helped prepare that afternoon and party with live music, dancing and wine, but it was my 70th birthday. Katerina, her staff, our olive picking team and local friends made it so memorable; the breakfast table was decorated with flowers and sparklers with cards and gifts, and at the evening celebration, the lights were dimmed, the music duo played and sang Happy Birthday and a big chocolate mousse surprise birthday cake with lighted candle was brought in and served as dessert. Our week on Poros is a life experience, never to be forgotten and filled will the happiest of memories.
This was our third International Kitchen holiday; we loved our French Carpentras week, we loved our Scottish Crinan Canal week and we wondered if our Greek Island of Poros week could be as good. It certainly was: 5 stars!
[Note from TIK: These travelers did a special olive oil itinerary.]
Trip taken July 2019
The owners of the Odyssey work extremely hard to make the experience authentic and special. The staff took special care of us. The week was a great mix of cooking classes, other food related experiences and free time which I used to enjoy the many beaches. Thank you for your assistance in booking this trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Stanley & Mary
Trip taken September 2019
The culinary vacation to Greece that Adrian helped plan was the trip of a lifetime for us. The Greek Cooking Odyssey on the Island of Poros was an experience that far exceeded our expectations. Katerina Sakelliou the chef, instructor, and proprietor was extraordinary in how she helped us experience the best of Greek cuisine, culture, and friendship. By the end of the week she and her husband Rik ten Arve made us feel like family. The breakfasts and accommodations were a delight making every minute very special. The trip to Hydra and dinner at their farm in the outdoor taverna was a real highlight.
Mary and I feel this was something we can highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn how to fix and taste all the best that Greece offers in this beautiful country/island. We now have so many wonderful stories to share with our friends and family at home!
Katherine & Michael
Trip taken June 2018
Great class with lots of great experiences.
Trip taken August 2018
I had a wonderful holiday. Katerina was an outstanding hostess. She made sure we enjoyed ourselves and there was lots to keep us entertained. The cooking was fun as well as inspirational. The accomodation was of a good standard.
julie & fred
Trip taken May 2018
My grandson, Kevin, and I love to cook when we are together. For his graduation present from medical school I offered to enroll us in a cooking school. His choice. After much Googling on the Internet and reading reviews, Kevin selected The International Kitchen's program on Poros Island in Greece. The best decision we could have made!! Joining us for the cooking experience was Kevin's sister, Kristin, who was eager to learn how to cook and my husband, who was more interested in watching and dining. It is hard to describe adequately the beautiful and idyllic Greek island of Poros -- about 2 hours by car from Athens through miles and miles of orange, lemon and olive trees and a short ferry ride to the island. However, the real treasure was our cooking instructor Katerina is the owner/proprietor of the Odyssey Center where all the cooking instructions occurred. Katerina is so very kind, warm, and generous with her time and wealth of cooking and baking experience. The Odyssey Center is a hub of fine Greek dining and inn accommodations, in a stunningly beautiful and peaceful setting looking out to the sea and hills of Poros.
The trip was amazing -- even better than I expected. Katerina was a wonderful hostess. Her generosity of spirit was overwhelming. When we were out and about on the island and would run into friends and relatives of Katerina, she would always introduce us as her friends and through her actions, she always made us feel that way. In fact, I went and played doubles tennis with Katerina's regular group one night during my trip. Cooking in her kitchen was like cooking in the kitchen of a friend. Part of that friendliness related to the small group size. At maximum the week I was there, only two other people were cooking, and for much of the time, there were only two of us total. We enjoyed cooking together so much that we chose to cook every night rather than going out to eat. All the food we cooked was delicious. The accommodations were pleasant. Just a block off the beach, there was always time for a swim, and Poros, while small and off the beaten path, gave a good sense of Greek island life. Since I got home, I've been in regular email contact with Katerina and Brian and would relish the opportunity to go back and visit again any time.
The cooking week in Poros, Greece at the end of April was the most fabulous vacation ever. The island is beautiful with green hills, crystal clear water and blooming flowers everywhere, but what made it such an amazing weeks was the Greek people. Our hostess, Katrina, was only a stranger for the first five minutes. From then on she was a dear friend who made us a part of her island life with trips to the local market, breakfast on the terrace, and climbing the clock tower at sunset. She invited friends and relatives to join us in many of our activities. It was a great chance to share ideas and opinions. Walking around the island, boat trips to other islands, bicycling and picnicking all lead to some wonderful memories. And the food! We never found a Greek dish we didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like and we were given all the tricks to prepare them correctly. The entire week was everything you could wish for in a vacation learning experience. Thanks so much for your help in all of this. Linda, TX
We, of course, enjoyed the cooking classes. The food was very Greek and very good and the lessons gave us a great insight into the Greek culture. Our hostess, Katerina, was the best ever. She was always looking for ways to make our stay more enjoyable and she knew the best places to visit (Hydra Island, the clock tower, Poseidon's ruins, etc) and she made sure we were always doing something we would enjoy. She's terrific!
Linda L., TX
Our host, Katerina was most welcoming and friendly. She shared her vast knowledge about Greek cooking and the history of the area. The people we met were very friendly. (We met Karen, the owner and Mona a new employee.) The scenery of the island was spectacular. I felt very immersed in the Greek culture. Fantastic.
Carol H, CA
The Greek Cooking Odyssey was a fantastic experience. The cooking classes were a true experience in traditional Greek cooking, using recipes that were handed down from generation to generation. Katerina also provided a historical perspective of each dish we prepared, which made it even more interesting. The Odyssey Center is a very relaxed unpretentious resort, and Katerina welcomes everybody as she would a family member. Shopping in the quaint, charming markets of Poros for fresh ingredients was something that I will miss in the US. The seafood is all fresh from the boats that you are passing on the way to the market, and, consequently is perfect and varied giving new meaning to "catch of the day". Everything! Katerina made this even more fun by discussing various ways of preparing this huge selection of seafood making sure to verify everybody's likes and dislikes. The island grows a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, so fresh squeezed orange juice, honeydew melons, tomatoes, eggplant, almost everything was plentiful, and fresh, fresh, fresh. Katerina conducted the actual cooking classes very professionally, but always with a infectious sense of humor that kept everybody laughing and smiling as we chopped onions, garlic, parsley (finer please!) and other ingredients. This was not demonstration cooking. We chopped stirred and assembled each dish hands on with direction from the chef, Katerina. I particularly enjoyed the timing as we were able to finish cooking and then have enough time for a swim in the crystal clear, deep blue sea or pool, and a leisure cocktail before our fabulously created feasts. Interestingly the Mediterranean and Greek diet emphasizing fresh vegetables, fish and seafood with small quantities of meats, did not cause me to gain any weight...a real plus. I thoroughly enjoyed Katerina's historical island tour by 4-wheeler which I kept for the week to visit the other various beaches or to simply have to run to Poros town for a quick coffee and a homemade Greek cookie. The semi-mountainous island has some of the most breath-taking vistas, and on one particularly clear day, we could see Athens in the distance. Conclusion: This is a must trip for anybody that likes Greek cooking, and would like the experience of being completely immersed into Greek island life. I feel like a left a part of my heart and soul there...I guess I will just have to go back!
Ronald F., TN
Enjoyed the company - the host was fabulous. Experience of a lifetime! Thank you!
Faith G, NJ
We, of course, enjoyed the cooking classes. The food was very Greek and very good and the lessons gave us a great insight into the Greek culture. Our hostess, Katerina, was the best ever. She was always looking for ways to make our stay more enjoyable and she knew the best places to visit (Hydra Island, the clock tower, Poseidon's ruins, etc) and she made sure we were always doing something we would enjoy. She's terrific! The Chicago staff was always courteous and reliable. It was much appreciated.
Linda L., TX
I have never met a person like Katerina in my life- she is very special! Our week was the last one of the season and there were only three of us. She took such care of us all both in the kitchen and out. We looked forward to every cooking session, they were excellent. We laughed and had fun throughout and produced amazing dishes! Because she had time, our excursions with her were interesting, informative and really fun. Couldn't have asked for a better week in Greece. The cooking school was my "highlight" in Greece! Loved Poros and really loved Katerina. The Chicago staff was very courteous. My girlfriend and I e-mailed a lot of questions and they were always answered promptly and to our satisfaction.
Pamela C., PE
In general, a wonderful experience. Katerina and her staff were welcoming and did everything to make us feel at home. Loved the cooking and the tour of nearby Hydra. Katerina was a great tour guide, she's very knowledgeable about Poros and Hydra. However, the accommodations were quite rustic and not what I expected when described as a "two bedroom" apartment.
Jean A., NS
Really liked the relaxed atmosphere and the kindness of Katerina and her friend Vangelis who helped with my transport to and from the Island. I loved the touring we did, learning how to cook lots of great Greek food in the traditional manner-I loved my walks in the morning on the island and getting to know Katerina. Loved learning how to make filo dough from her mother's time tested recipe and learning the technique of rolling from Katerina.The motorcycles zooming by were pretty noisy but I tried to not let it bother me.My room was great and Katerina's helpers most accomodating. It was a fun venture for me even though I went by myself -It was fantastic!!
Charlotte G., OR
Katarina did an amazing job of facilitating the cooking school lessons in a meaningful, yet enjoyable way. Her warm and personal approach to cooking was felt throughout the week. I also enjoyed the fact that individuals could "float in and out" of the cooking school lessons/classes - made for some fun dynamics and diversity. I would highly recommend and attend the school in Poros, Greece again.
The Chicago staff at The International Kitchen was amazing! Provided great organization of information and was very timely with such information as well, too.
Linda P., OH
A friend and I participated in the one week Greek Cooking Odyssey and returned with new skills, wonderful memories and a deep appreciation for the kindness and generosity of our host and all the people we met on Poros. Katerina is a delightful teacher and wonderful person. She and her family and staff did everything in their power to make sure our experience was the very best it could be. The cooking lessons were so much fun and also very informative. We learned the basics of Greek cooking and also how to modify many of the recipes for vegetarian and vegan diets. The Odyssey Centre seems to attract very interesting and friendly people and we enjoyed making new friends and learning about different cultures. There were many return visitors staying there and it was easy to see why people just keep coming back. Even if you're not interested in cooking classes, this is a wonderful place to stay and to dine.
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] The information provided was sufficient and helpful.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] The staff were very helpful and responsive, but there was an issue we did not find until we arrived on Poros. I had worked closely with the Chicago staff to make sure that we would have an apartment with two separate bedrooms (each room would have a door). Our confirmation stated "two bedroom suite." I was told that communication had taken place with the local contact and that this is what we would have. As it turns out, the Odyssey does not have such rooms, they just don't exist. They have two story apartments with a bedroom on one level which is open to the other level via open circular stairs. On the other level is the kitchenette and two day beds. So although it is true that there are two rooms where people can sleep, they are not separate and in order for one person to use the kitchen, or even exit the apartment, they may have to go through the sleeping area of the other. Katerina handled this graciously by giving each of us our own apartment but it was not our preferred arrangement. Other than this the whole experience was very near perfect. Thank you!
Janice H. and Nature J., CO
_Response from The International Kitchen:_ We're pleased to hear you had such a wonderful trip! We had confirmed a two bedroom suite with doors when your trip was booked, so there must have been a misunderstanding about the suite with your hosts, as we requested the above and it was confirmed!
Katerina is a generous and gracious host. She is an excellent chef and teacher. Although we did not stay at the Odyssey Center due to other bookings, we enjoyed the New Aegli Hotel; and its proximity to the Odyssey Center allowed us to easily take all of our meals there. Katerina's teachings covered all of the areas of Greek cooking that we hoped to experience. An added bonus was the international experience as we shared one class with 4 persons from Norway and also spent much time with people from Norway, Holland, Switzerland and England, along with many Greeks. The side trip to Hydra was OK, but the island is not a great destination spot historically or otherwise, maybe because we had already been to Mykonos, Santorini and Delos. What made the Hydra trip worthwhile was the great guide Katerina arranged. Our only regret was not being able to experience the "farm" due to poor weather, but the island of Poros is just the right size and we rented a quad for the first time and enjoyed driving all around the island. We spent 11 days in Greece prior to the cooking school and found the Greeks to be helpful and welcoming. They also speak decent English and, unlike France or Italy, are happy to use it to converse with foreigners. We recommend the trip.
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] We thought the packet was thorough.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Adrian was our contact and he was very helpful. He assiduously kept us advised of everything necessary for our experience.
William and Carol K., WA
First, Katarina and the staff at the Odyssey were amazing. They went out of their way to make sure each participant enjoyed the experience and personalized the classes based on the participants wants or needs or level of cooking experience. Loved the format as we all cooked the entire dishes. We cooked lots of dishes and loved the fact that others got to enjoy the meals. Great recipes and attention to detail. We loved the history and stories behind the food. The guided tours were wonderful and we loved getting the history of not only the place but the food and the dishes we cooked. Hydra was a wonderful excursion as was the walking tour of Poros, especially picking out the fish we would cook later that day. The picnic at sunset at the "farm" was also so much fun. The Hotel- New Aegli- was great and a short walk to the Odyssey center. The beach was right there across the street from the hotel with beachside service from the hotel. I am glad we did NOT stay at the Sirene Blue (where I originally tried to have you book) because it is about two miles away from the Odyssey center and further away from town. New Aegli was closer to town and an easy walk to explore more of Poros.
We cannot say enough about Katarina and her staff. It is well organized program that feels fresh and not like she does it every week- which I know she does! She made everyone feel so welcome and useful in the kitchen and we loved the story behind all of the dishes. I feel like we got a real taste of what life is like in Poros, Greece, not just a tourist perspective. We had a guided tour by a local to Hydra that was great. Vangelis was a wonderful guide who let us into the perspective of a local. We thought that the experience at Oasi in Sorrento Italy last year would be hard to match- but we fell in love with Katarina and the people of Poros as much as we did Carmen in Sant Agata. They are both wonderful organizers, planners and passionate about sharing the local culture and food. Both were fabulous trips!
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] It was fine- we would have liked to have known that it would take over three hours to get from Athens to Poros. The driver and ride was fine- just was not expecting it to be that long. He did stop at an area midway (Kalamaki?) for us to get some lunch and see the canal Hitler had cut through the rock in the isthmus to connect the Ionic Sea to the gulf of Corinth for supply movement in WWII- interesting attraction visited by many tourists. Glad we got to see that.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] All communication with the International Kitchen was great, especially Adrian Hall who helped out with all out questions and needs as well as helping finalize and select which program and hotel, etc. He was also helpful with the travel insurance questions I had.
Kathy and Jimmy C., VA
Katarina took great care to make sure our experience was a wonderful mix of immersion in Greek life/history and a diverse and fun cooking experience. The excursions she arranged were fabulous and gave a great balance to our trip.
[Regarding the cooking vacation packet:] Everything was great.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Very helpful.
Angela & Jimmy K., VA
I had the best time with Katerina and her family and staff. Loved being part of her family because that's how it felt. It was the perfect mix of great food, wonderful people and time spent in paradise. We had great guides for the trip to Hydra, saw the city and learned about its history. Our personal tour of Poros and the town was great. I want to return. I am not a great cook, but I loved learning.
[Regarding The International Kitchen staff:] Yes, Adrian was very helpful.
Mary M., FL
Our cooking school on Poros with Katerina was one of the best weeks of any holiday we've ever had. It was extra special for us as we were there for their Greek Easter weekend and were able to take part in various cultural activities including the Sunday roast lamb with music and dance! We thoroughly enjoyed all our cooking classes and have been recreating many meals back home. Katerina was more than a cooking teacher; she was an excellent host, a fantastic tour guide and a warm, amusing friend who went out of her way to make you feel at home.
Cheryl F. and Barry S., Australia
This was everything I hoped for and more. Katerina, Rik, Dora and the whole staff were welcoming, kind, gracious, and fun. Each went above and beyond to ensure my experience was exceptional. The culinary component was great. I am an Executive Chef and learned so much about local cuisine, proper preparation, and the greek way of life. As a solo traveler, I felt welcome, safe, looked after and yet had a lot of time to myself to explore and make new friends. I am happy to say that I am already looking for my next culinary adventure. Thank you.
Your packet was complete, had all the information that I needed and provided a level of comfort to my family that I was leaving behind for my dream vacation.
Thank you again. You took care of every detail and I appreciated the effort.
Katerina and Rick were exceptional hosts. They took time to find out what our interests were, and kept the program flexible, arranged for us to collect sea urchins when they heard it was my son's favourite dish, and we had so much fun in coming up with the day's daily cooking, with some recipes adapted from our suggestions too. A most memorable holiday for my son and me. Thank you.