2014 Hermes Expo Kick Off:
Inviting One to Go on to Hermes Expo
by Catherine Tsounis
A preview into the soul of the 2014 Hermes Expo was experienced by all. The New York “Taste of Greece” Kick off Networking Event pushed onward to the April 1st Hermes Expo at the Concordville Inn, PA. The New York Kick off was held at the Greek Press & Information Office, 305 E. 47th Street, 2nd Floor, NY, from 5 to 8 p.m., sponsored by INVESTORS BANK.
Business, the hospitality industry and culture societies joined hands to create an exceptional evening. Nikos Papakonstantinou, Director of the Greek Press & Information Office with Grigoria Kamaterou, Director of the Greek National Tourism Organization welcomed all to visit Greece. New York Consul General of Cyprus Vasilis Philippou gave greetings, while Investors Bank CEO Kevin Cummings reaffirmed their commitment to help their Greek-American community.
Booths featuring the best of Greek cuisine and wine, business and societies were present and included: Chef Gregory Zapantis and Kellari staff; Ethos, 51st gallery; Eklektikon wines; Sam Catechis of Stellar Imports; Investors Bank, The Web Empire of John Varsamis and the Cephalonian Brotherhood Society Youth of the Cephalonian Earthquake Relief Fund and Paul Kotrotsios, the Expo’s founder and president.
Fresh scallops, octopus, spanakopites, tiropites, Mediterranean dips, platters of cold cuts with samples of the best known Greek pastries made the participants break their Spring resolution to lose weight. The Mediterranean Diet was explained with enthusiasm by Chef Zapantis who said “this is a great day. My friend is Paul Kotrotsios, who I support in his mission: bringing the Hospitality Industry and business together. The Greek Mediterranean Diet is a major power in the United States Market. It is all natural. Greeks are few in number but a major force in our economy. Everyone talks about the Greek yogurt, but this did not happen by chance.” Recently, I went to buy granola bars in our local supermarket and found Greek granola bars. The name Greek on U.S. products connotes the best in food.
The culinary expert should be on television. He shows more enthusiasm for his products than some media personalities. “Greek yogurt was the work of many. Greece is a small country,” he said. “We think ahead and do not let our problems overcome us with the economic crisis. Our cuisine is healthy, simple with elegant Greek wines. We have respect for our product. All nationalities are interested in the Greek cuisine.” That we all know with Mainland China’s buying Cretan olive oil. China and Japan have shown interest in Mastic from Chios.
Chef Zapantis said he “has a love for his homeland of Cephalonia. Mou lipi (It is missing from my life). Where you are born, there lies your soul. My children are born here. Our life is here in New York City. Our City helped me. Life in Cephalonia is not easy.”
“WE believe tonight is an opportunity to become closer with the Greek community,” said Ana Oliveira, senior vice president and New York Regional Manager. “We welcome to help give back to a culture that is so rich. Investors provides world-class products and services, in an honest and straightforward manner, for individuals, families, growing businesses and commercial real estate clients. We work hard to always do what’s right for each and every customer — making sure they get the right products and great value — to help them meet their everyday banking needs as well as to achieve their long-term goals. To do well, you have to do right. And doing right by our customers is how we hope to become the leading community-oriented bank in the region.”
Co-Host of the evening was Ms. Gloria Consolacion T. Cressler, Elite Professional Networking Group/P.R. Business Coach, Celebrity Event Producer/Philanthropist, said “everyone is Greek tonight. We are having a good time. Paul Oleska, opera singer, said she “was invited by Gloria to have an unforgettable evening. I enjoyed learning about Greek culture. Gloria and I went to Kellari New Year’s Eve and had a spectacular time.”
“We hope to see you next year,” said Nikos Papakonstantinou, Director of the Greek Press & Information Office. “We are happy to have events like this with good food and wine. Paul Kotrotsios brought us together. This is one of the finest events of the year here.” New York Consul General of Cyprus Vasilis Philippou said “this is a bridge with Greece and Cyprus. Our countries have difficult moments. It is wonderful to see Greek filotimo (hospitality) lives on.”
Networking was a theme of the evening. Mrs. Kokolis, president of the Federation of Hellenic American Teachers and the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)’s Education Committee for the US region and Hellenic Paideia of America President Vasiliki Filiotis reunited with youth they mentored. “I am very touched to meet my former student, Ifigenia Chondros Zapuntis, from St. Demetrios of Astoria Greek Afternoon School,” said Mrs. Kokolis. “She wrote the finest modern Greek papers.” Chrisoula Zikopoulos, Director of the Heritage Museum of Epirus, with fellow member/artist Marianthi Raptis, came to support their patrioti, Paul Kotrotsios. “We are proud of his accomplishments.” The publisher was born in the village of Parakalamo, Yiannina, Epirus.
Kostas Vagelatos of the Cephalonian Brotherhood described the Youth society purpose of raising funds for the devastated island on January 26th and February 3rd (https://www.emsc-csem.org/Earthquake/224/Two-M6-earthquakes-in-Cephalonia-Greece-within-8-days). Our youth are selling T-Shirts to aid the islanders in their recovery,” he explained. “We are one thousand islands away but the same pain is in our hearts.” For more information, contact [email protected] There was a strong Cephalonian presence that evening. AHEPA was present, spreading the ideals of Hellenism among the global community.
“The 2014 Hermes Expo International represents an exchange of ideas, synergizing, learning from a variety of businesses, education seminars, symposiums and seeing services and products of the world market., said Paul Kotrotsios. “The 23rd Hermes Expo International Expo will focus on the Hospitality Industry of 2014 America. The 2014 Hermes Expo is set to take place at the Best Western Hotel at the Concordville Inn, in Concordville, PA 19331, on Tuesday, April 1, 2014.
Business seminars, presentations and food demonstrations will be held on April 1st at the Concordville Inn, PA. A Dinner Awards Presentation and Entertainment, at 5:00 p.m., will be held on April 1 evening in the Grand Ballroom. Exceptional individuals and companies that have excelled and contributed to society will be honored. April 2 will host a Wednesday Morning Brunch with networking and presentations. Get involved, explore, discover and connect is our message. Hermes Expo, business interests and institutions will join forces to build a strong economic future.”
Mr. Kotrotsios said “we sincerely thank the Sponsors, Contributors, Exhibitors and Visitors for their continuous support. Exceptional individuals and companies that have excelled and contributed to society will be honored.”
Photo 1: Investors Bank booth, Paul Kotrotsios (left to right), Ana Oliveira, Tina Handras, Charoula Ioannou, Mary Rose Genovese, Nico Paphitis, Maria Odysseos, Angelos Kouzinas.
Photo 2: Chef Gregory Zapantis of Kellari with Spyridoula Haralambopoulos.
Photo 3: New York Consul General of Cyprus Vasilis Philippou gave greeting (podium) with Grigoria Kamaterou, Director of the Greek National Tourism Organization (left to right), Nikos Papakonstantinou, Director of the Greek Press & Information Office Paul Kotrotsios and Cephalonian Earthquake Relief Fund listening.
Photo 4: Aphrodite Kotrotsios, is Founder & Executive Director of Hermes Expo’s Young Professionals Initiative (left to right) with members: Dr. Despina Siolas, Laurentino Ibarra, Spiridoula Haralambopoulos and Catherine Hunt.
Photo 5: Cephanolian Brotherhood Youth