A culinary linguist.  


    1. a person who explores and studies the language of food.

    2. a person skilled in communicating ideas and knowledge through the language of food.

       synonyms: food enthusiast, gastronomad, taste traveller, YOU!

This is a space where we share experiences with Culinary Linguistics.


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Athena Lamberis,  Creator of The Culinary Linguist.

I research, forage, explore, write, create recipes, document, and share topics around food that connect us.  I am also a cook, educator, traveller and recipe developer.

The recipes and stories created and shared on this blog are meant to inspire you to add your personal touches and adapt them to your personal connections and spread the messages to your community.                                                 

My Food Philosophy: An appetite for variety and an awareness to connections.  A focus on delicious, whole-food, and nutritious ingredients. 

Food Tips I Live By:  Choose fresh foods with color.  Draw ingredient inspiration from our ancestors. Remember Hippocrates.  I promote fresh nutrient-filled food recipes.  I stay inspired by food choices by learning about our health, global community and the environment.

We become more aware to our connection to nature through learning, using, harvesting and cooking with whole-food ingredients.

After hopping between five continents, I’ve learned tons of traditional culinary practices along the way and exposure to unique nutritious ingredients.

I’ve lived and travelled extensively throughout South Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America, cooking and learning from all the flavours shared with me, which, together with my passion for clean honest food and sharing visual journeys form the basis of The Culinary Linguist blog.

This is a journal digest through the many languages of food- mixing and experimenting with tastes from many different spice racks, gardens, cultures and regions.  It’s a collection of experiences and flavours from around the world.


Our food can be a symbolic and sensual language. It communicates larger concepts. When I started traveling to countries of languages I didn’t speak, food often became the default language and communicated friendship, care, culture, love, compassion, and social history.  I called it culinary linguistics: exploring the language of food.

I studied linguistics, educational methods, anthropology while doing social documentary photography and ethnographic research in university.



Contact me for the development of educational materials and programmes for classroom and community use.  The Culinary Linguist’s aim is to use food as a social tool to expand our awareness and promote positive interactions for our society and environment.

Culinary Linguists: cultivating thought, expressing emotions, circulating ideas and nurturing compassion for our environment and each other – using food as the fuel for positive social change.  Love-Care-Nurture-Respect-Compassion

Contact me for unique recipe development.  Interested in a workshop, sharing ideas, and innovative strategies?  Let’s access our creativity, communicate and have compassion in our world.

Challenge yourself to be a Culinary Linguist.

WHO? A gastronomy nomad, a culinary linguist. A food enthusiast with stories and recipes to share.

The Early Tastebuds:

Growing up in Evanston,IL just north of Chicago, our home was filled with Grecian delights. We ate meals fused with diverse ingredients and flavours of our family friends from around the globe.

In the kitchen, I learned everything I could along the way, and continue to do so every place I land.

My family tree is made up well-fed cooks, food enthusiasts and super tasters.
When the pressure cooker was bubbling or the fire was started, we knew our hearts and stomachs would be satisfied with edible love.

As a kid, when I wasn’t adding chiles to everything, I was grazing on horta  (steamed dandelion greens) with my yiayia in Greece and learned how to make Greek yoghurt in summer time heat.  Elementary days, my cafeteria was graced with Jamaican, Haitian and Belizean chefs that spiced our learning curves with jerk chicken and Jamaican meat pies.

Brincadeiras from my Brazilian Tia added sweetness to birthday parties and I crunched on tadig and ghormeh sabzi as afterschool snacks with my Iranian sisters. Oh yes, and rose water ice cream!

The richness of Nutella, stroopwaffles and gelato made gastronomical influences on me when I travelled, studied and worked college holidays in Europe.  As a young girl, my Mom and Uncle took me on day trips to places like Edam and Gouda to actually see and eat the real taste of Edam and Gouda cheese.

The Transient Taste:

A touch of tea masala in the morning, opened my heart to mystery when I met my agape, my husband, Chris, in Durban, South Africa while studying linguistics, education and anthropology during my third year of university.

Backpacking and working in Central America meant pitaya batidas and nacatamales were everyday vocabulary. I designed the menu and managed the kitchen of Los Cardones Surf Eco-Lodge with an amazing staff of women. We prepared a rotating menu of fresh seasonal dishes that were fit for surfers and diplomats around the world. I founded an Art and Environment Saturday Education programme for the nearby community, Zapote. Guests from the lodge would donate funds for school supplies and school construction. I compiled a recipe book from the kitchen of Los Cardones that raised funds for the needs of the families on the coast.

I’ve made meals and shared unique recipes with wonderful people that have crossed my path-Sometimes on a boat in Turkey or in rock pools of Madagascar, the search for variety and culinary inspiration is on my mind. Now, I live in one of the most beautiful and diverse countries, South Africa, where there are more than 11 official languages spoken and millions of transient tastebuds that influence unique cuisine and the use of indigenous plants. The variety and creativity in my homemade creations and nomadic discoveries is what I get to share with you.

Things I’ve learned along the way: Stay inspired by food choices by learning about culture, nutrition and the environment.

While traveling to places on the planet and being immersed in food, nature and language, it only became natural to start this blog.  It’s like drizzling amber honey over a medley of scrumptious events and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I love documenting dishes I graze on. This is me in action in New Hampshire after a 10 day road trip with my brother George
When I was 21, my yiayia Nana passed away while I was studying in South Africa.  I decided to live in Athens, Greece--in the same neighbourhood she spent most of her adult life--and for six months 'ate what my grandmother would eat.'  She ate nourishing and natural foods, and prepared dishes from farm produce or greens she grew in her urban garden.  With her as my inspiration, I used fresh ingredients to make delicious dishes and  re-discovered my joy in cooking and creating.
When I was 21, my yiayia Nana passed away while I was studying in South Africa. I decided to live in Athens, Greece–in the same neighbourhood she spent most of her adult life–and for six months ‘ate what my grandmother would eat.’ She ate nourishing and natural foods, and prepared dishes from farm produce or greens she grew in her urban garden. With her as my inspiration, I used fresh ingredients to make delicious dishes and re-discovered my joy in cooking and creating.
lobster RollAthena
We waited 2 hours for this Lobster Roll in Maine. I can’t wait to recreate my own version without the wait and with some homemade saffron aioli to go with it!
My husband took this portrait of me in my Greek village, Alephori. It is in the Peloponnesus region of Greece where Chestnut forests shade the sun and wild boar roam. Everything here smells and tastes better. It’s a fact.
Taken and processed with Cameramatic app.
This photo was taken by my friend Jun Diaz. We were shooting a commercial in this garden that had so many edible plants growing. Throughout the day, I freshened my pallate with fennel, mint, tree tomatoes, and amatangula. Everything seems to grow in South Africa, and this Bishopscourt garden had a grand variety.
Smiling like a champion after receiving this thoughtful seafood feast as a honeymoon gift from friends. We loved Madagascar and learned so much about the French influence on the local produce and dishes we enjoyed.
This is Lorenzo and myself in our Land Cruiser, cruising as we do around South Africa. He has a pretty delicious diet packed with spirulina, green tea, yoghurt, cucumber, apple, offal accents with chicken heart garnish. I may just have to share some of Enzo’s favorite recipes . . . but that’s another blog in the making.

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