Mel­bourne cel­e­brates Greek gas­tron­omy

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY IOANNA FOTIADI

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.

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