Elias was born to a large, food-loving Greek family, who came together to butcher and preserve with Old World techniques. At 20 he began an apprenticeship under Annegret Schlumpf in Switzerland. he also attended Berufsschule in Wattwil. After his apprenticeship and schooling, Cairo moved to Kos, Greece, where he apprenticed in a hotel kitchen and developed menu items based on what farmers and fishermen brought him daily. lured by the city's growing reputation, Elias headed to Portland where he began working at Castagna, eventually becoming executive chef. In 2009, Elias left to follow through with his training and start Oregon’s first USDA-certified meat-curing facility, Olympia Provisions, which is also a European-style restaurant and deli.