What are some misconceptions customers have about Greek food?

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First off, Americans confuse Greek cuisine with Middle Eastern cuisine. For 20 years now I have been running restaurants in Seattle that show people how healthy and good Greek cuisine is, with lots of boiled vegetables, vegetarian dishes, lean meats, and—pardon me, I must go light some fried cheese on fire.

What is your favorite dish to prepare?

Our calamari special, which is a version of a recipe I found in Nafplion, where my family is from. Nafplion was the original capital of Greece before Athens. I travel to Greece twice a year to visit family and study new recipes. Our calamari steak is marinated overnight in oil, garlic—so much garlic you will stink for a week—lemon, and herbs, and then grilled. We serve the steak over garlic mashed potatoes, with boiled beets and a crushed arugula-balsamic sauce.

Tell me a secret, and make it Greek.

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Right now I am boiling myself some dandelions in the kitchen, because Greeks know dandelions are good for cleansing the system. They ease your liver and—please excuse me, there is more fried cheese approaching.

Interview by Cienna Madrid