Christopher Bakken

Christopher BakkenPhoto by Kelly Gorney
Program Director, Christopher Bakken, is the author of the culinary memoir, Honey, Olives, Octopus: Adventures at the Greek Table, as well as three books of poetry, Eternity & Oranges, Goat Funeral and After Greece. He is also co-translator of The Lions' Gate: Selected Poems of Titos Patrikios. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, New England Review, The Iowa Review, and Best American Poetry 2016. Bakken holds 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 currently Department Chair and Frederick F. Seely Professor of English at Allegheny College. Bakken won Food & Wine Magazine's Best Burger Contest in 2005 and has cooked live on the CBS Saturday Morning Early Show. Bakken is an accomplished cook with decades of experience teaching cooking courses in the U.S. and Greece.

Honey, Olives, Octopus

David Mason reviews Honey, Olives, Octopus in the Wall Street Journal

Hunting for Octopus and Cooking for Michael Pollan: An Interview with Christopher Bakken

Pod-chat about where to eat in Greece with Seth @ Taste Trekkers

Eternity & Oranges, Pitt Poetry Series

Nonfiction Workshop

Join a small community of nonfiction writers for a month of literary exchanges, culinary adventure, and off-the-beaten track travel in Greece. Participants are welcome to work on existing projects, though the workshop is designed to generate new work, especially in the form of food writing and travel writing. We will read several books and essays together and will offer one another feedback in a workshop format, but we will also aim to immerse ourselves in the rhythms of island life, drawing upon the exquisite locale for inspiration.

Along those lines, we will spend a lot of time cooking—enjoying hands-on encounters with the Greek table. Our host island is a local food paradise, where concepts like "local" and "sustainable" are simple facts of life: to supply their restaurant, the owners of our pension catch their own fish each morning, raise their own lamb and goats, and grow many of their own vegetables. Dishes are cooked each morning in a massive wood oven.

Excursions around the island will allow for additional encounters with traditional island agriculture and gastronomy. These might include:

  • wildflower island honey
  • fishing off the whirlpools of Bambouras
  • preparing traditional sourdough with wild yeast starter
  • octopus hunting in Aliki bay
  • making local goat cheese
  • cooking demonstrations in the restaurant of Pension Archontissa
  • wood-oven pizza
Seafood Lesson

Seafood Lesson