Chef Maria Loi to Participate in Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival

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Maria Loi, one of Greece's top culinary talents and executive chef and co-owner of the soon-to-open Upper West Side restaurant Loi, announces her participation in the fourth annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival. Sponsored and supported by Elyros Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Maria will join more than 25 of the city's renowned chefs competing in "San Pellegrino's Meatball Madness presented by Buitoni Hosted by Giada De Laurentiis." She will serve three selections taken from Loi's exclusive menu during the "Grand Tasting Presented by ShopRite with KitchenAid Culinary Demonstrations Presented by Buitoni." 100 percent of all proceeds from event ticket sales goes to Food Bank for New York City and Share Our Strength.

"I am thrilled to participate in 'Meatball Madness' and the 'Grand Tasting' at this year's Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival," says Maria. "This festival gives me the opportunity to showcase to New Yorkers my innovative approach to Mediterranean cuisine and what I bring to the table."

Maria will kick-off the food festival in SoHo at "Meatball Madness," hosted for the second year by Giada de Laurentiis. With her traditional Keftedakia meatball, she challenges last year's winner Donatella Arpaia and others for the championship trophy. "Meatball Madness" will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, September 29 at 82 Mercer Street.

Maria Loi will also participate in the "Grand Tasting" event presented by ShopRite, hosted at the historic Pier 57. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, September 30 through Sunday, October 2 at West Side Highway and 15th Street. Maria will be demonstrating food preparation and culinary techniques, and attendees will have the opportunity to preview Mediterranean appetizers made with Elyros Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Loi, which opens next month.

Inspired by her native country and extensive travels throughout Greece, Maria Loi's latest restaurant concept will offer up a Greek experience that includes traditional and rustic Mediterranean cuisine. Guests who visit the Elyros Extra Virgin Olive Oil booth at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival will receive a special offer to dine at the new restaurant this fall and meet Maria Loi.

Maria Loi is a Greek chef who, with an innovative spirit and strong desire to explore new frontiers, left her job as a lobbyist to return to her true love - food. She captures audiences of all ages and has huge appeal among the 15 to 50+ demographic. She has authored several cookbooks, such as "Authentic Greek Cuisine," and the highly acclaimed "Ancient Dining," the official book for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. Maria co-starred in the PBS cooking show "It's All Greek," and prior to moving to the U.S., regularly hosted cooking segments on Greece's most successful morning show, "OMORFOS KOSMOS TO PROI"- Greek for Beautiful World in the Morning.

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