The Event

Culinary Crete provides participants with opportunities for hands-on, inspirational culinary activity while moving at a vacation-friendly pace. Daily cooking classes, discussions, activities and excursions will be interspersed with plenty of free time to enjoy the sublime landscape and luxurious accommodations at Dalabelos Estate.

The schedule for individual participants will depend on arrival and departure date & time. All participants will begin with an orientation, discussion of terroir and the Cretan diet, and an estate farm tour.

In the evening, enjoy concerts of traditional Cretan music and other cultural exhibitions and activities.

We promise a relaxing, decidedly delicious immersion in traditional Cretan cuisine, music, and culture.


Meet The Instructors


With almost thirty years of experience cooking, writing, and traveling in Greece, Program Director Christopher Bakken supplements his skills as a chef with deep knowledge of literature, gastronomy, history, and Greek culture.

He is the author of the culinary memoir, Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table, as well as three books of poetry. His work has appeared widely in publication in the U.S. and Europe. Christopher earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from University of Houston, and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University.

He has served as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Bucharest and is Frederick F. Seely Professor of English at Allegheny College. Christopher won Food & Wine Magazine’s Best Burger Contest in 2005 and he has cooked live on the CBS Saturday Morning Early Show.

Dalabelos Estate Agro-Tourism Complex Rethymno Crete Greece

The proprietor of Dalabelos Estate, Vassilis combines his background as an engineer with a committed focus on sustainability and natural aesthetics. He is at the forefront of progressive and thoughtful argotourism in Greece. 

Vassilis is also a virtuoso musician with a deep and abiding knowledge of the traditional music of Crete. He plays numerous instruments, including the Cretan lute, bouzouki, oud, and boulgari.  He has performed concerts around Crete and mainland Greece and he frequently collaborates with other musicians, poets, and visual artists.


The executive chef at Dalabelos Estate, Maria’s expertise in traditional Cretan cuisine is informed by her own wide-ranging culinary imagination and creativity. 

The menu she serves at Dalabelos Estate changes daily, based on what the estate’s gardens, vineyards, fields, and groves provide.  Her cooking is therefore intrinsically seasonal, sustainable, and local; a day in the kitchen with her offers an education in culinary technique, but also an introduction to her way of seeing, which is at once traditionally Cretan and also very worldly.