Melbourne celebrates Greek gastronomy
Melbourne has invited the cream of Greek gastronomy to the Australian city to celebrate the second installment of Oh My Greek Week, an event dedicated to Greek cuisine, from November 21-26. OMG Week is the brainchild of famed Greek-Cypriot-Australian chef George Calombaris, who has been instrumental in the promotion of contemporary Greek cuisine thanks to years of television shows, a plethora of books and 17 restaurants in Melbourne.
“In Australia and the US, where Greeks emigrated en masse in the 1960s, Greek cuisine was for years synonymous with the dishes that were common in Greece at that time,” explains chef Christoforos Peskias, who will be traveling from Athens to Melbourne for the event again this year, at the invitation of Calombaris. Calombaris has invited more chefs to prepare dishes that are representative of contemporary Greek food trends, including Stelios Parliaros, Yiannis Baxevanis, Alexandros Tsiotinis, Gikas Xenakis, Maria Loi and Georgianna Haliakaki.
“The welcome we received last year from Australia’s Greek community was incredibly warm, as the country’s cuisine is intrinsically linked to its cul- tural heritage,” says Peskias. “The event was attended by so many people – not only from the catering industry but also regular consumers, both Greek and Australian.”
The success of the first OMG event last year was thanks to the efforts of 38-year-old Calombaris, who is famous in Australia, particularly among young people, after appearing in Masterchef Australia as a judge.
“Calombaris imports all of his ingredients from Greece,” says Peskias. “Every year he bring in tons of olive oil and entire shipping containers of pies, feta and wine. He sells Greek products at his restaurants too. He is literally our best ambassador in Australia.”
Other than food, OMG Week has all sorts of fun in store, including food inspired by ancient Greece, and a concert with Greek-Cypriot Michalis Hatzigiannis.
Last year’s OMG Week in Melbourne proved a major success, bringing together professionals as well as Australian food lovers of all ethnic backgrounds.