A born and raised Swift Current resident left the southwest at 18 with dreams of accounting but has returned on TV screens as a talented chef contestant on a Food Network show.
Maria Koutsogiannis Camacho, an expert cook and recipe creator made it on screen last night on the hit television show: Guy’s Grocery Games, hosted by Guy Fieri.
“I can't tell you everything that happened because you guys have to watch the show, but it was the coolest experience of my life,” expressed Koutsogiannis Camacho. “It truly was a reminder that letting accounting be a part of my past and not a part of my future was the best decision I've made.”
The long-standing show has been a Food Network classic, pitting talented chefs against one another in a grocery store. It features issues often faced in reality, such as working with low budgets and finding alternative ingredients.
Koutsogiannis also has a website and business called FoodByMaria. There she creates and shares recipes of all kinds, with particular focuses on Greek food, creative vegan alternatives, and gluten-free meals. She has also amassed quite the following on social media across multiple platforms.
“It’s where I post my Mediterranean Greek recipes, it started as a plant-based blog and it fully transformed over the years,” explained Koutsogiannis Camacho. “I started my Instagram in 2014 with my husband. I eventually ended up quitting my full-time job to become a content creator and it was actually something that none of us really could have expected. I went to school to become an accountant, and a recipe developer was not something I expected to become. I would say I have an audience of 900,000 people now.”
The chef wants to stay true to her Greek roots, as her parents immigrated from Greece to Canada only 40 years ago. Her family owned a small restaurant and bar in Swift Current, and she grew up with the cultural influence all around her.
“My parents owned Kabos,” she stated. “I grew up in the small Greek community there, eating good food. I just followed my heart and ended up cooking.”
As far as future aspirations, Koutsogiannis Camacho plans to focus on the development of her app and hopes to start a family with her husband. Soon, she will be making a trip to Greece, giving her a chance to get in touch with her heritage.
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