This week in the kitchens of St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale, self-proclaimed “Spanakopita Queen” Stacy Vezos presides over a symphony of Greek cuisine. An army of 25 volunteers are busy seasoning 1,000 lamb shanks, filling 300 trays of moussaka eggplant and 45 pans of pastitsio, and dry-rubbing and marinating 2,500 pork shish kebabs. Vezos, meanwhile, is busy baking 3,000 slices of flaky spanakopita.
The mood inside the kitchen: calm. “Our volunteers are pros. The real frenzy happens during the festival when we’re pushing out 1,000 dinners in two or three hours,” says Vezos, who’s marking 30 years as the food director of the Fort Lauderdale Greek Festival.