Diakomichalis’ cooking sequence ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ brings immigration tales to the desk – fadiart

Diakomichalis’ cooking sequence ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ brings immigration tales to the desk

George Diakomichalis, South Australia’s cherished pastry chef renowned for his delectable creations at the award-winning café-bakery Kalymnos Pastries, has made his mark on national television with his cooking series ‘It’s All Greek to Me.’

Initially launched on YouTube, Diakomichalis’ show was recently picked up by the Australian broadcaster Channel 9 and premiered last month to eager audiences across the country.

The debut episode features Diakomichalis alongside his lifelong friend Niko and his mother, Georgia Mavragelos. In a conversation with Neos Kosmos, the chef hinted at the plethora of traditional Greek recipes to be showcased, alongside episodes uniting diverse cultures coexisting in Australia.

“Prepare to be entertained, to laugh, and perhaps shed a tear. You’ll also learn some mouthwatering recipes that you’ll want to recreate at home!” Diakomichalis shared enthusiastically.

Reflecting on the genesis of ‘It’s Greek to Me,’ Diakomichalis revealed, “This project began several years ago. Through it, I had the opportunity to organize and film various cooking segments. I was invited to participate in different cooking endeavors and segments on various shows both within South Australia and nationally. It’s an honor to be able to share my passion for cooking.”

Further into the series, George introduces his parents, Nick and Poppy, who immigrated from Greece nearly fifty years ago to forge a new life in Australia. They share their journey, anecdotes of raising George and his siblings, their cultural traditions, and cook up some traditional Greek dishes to share with loved ones.

In another episode, he collaborates with actor/comedian George Kapiniaris, known for his role in ‘Acropolis Now,’ to put a Greek spin on an Aussie classic. Blending food and culture, Diakomichalis intertwines stories of Greek migration to Australia with heartwarming tales and culinary insights from Kapiniaris’ own mother.

For the mastermind behind South Australia’s beloved pastry shop, the opportunity to share the flavors and values that define Greek and other ethnic groups’ pride in their heritage is invaluable.

“I relish in sharing the traditions passed down by previous generations; to honor our ancestors, parents, and grandparents. Some are still with us, but many have passed,” he expressed to Neos Kosmos. “I enjoy connecting with other cultures through food, exchanging heartfelt dishes, and sharing stories. Food is not only nourishment; it’s a language of love. Equally important as the food itself are the narratives of migration and family histories, the paths taken to arrive where we are today. What makes Australia unique is its multitude of cultures coexisting proudly as Australians while preserving their identities.”

The online series, now broadcasted on Channel 9, is an extension and reimagining of Diakomichalis’ original YouTube series, a personal labor of love.

“I’m thrilled that ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ is gaining exposure through national television broadcasts in Queensland, Perth, Darwin, Tasmania, and here in South Australia,” he remarked.

Navigating the realm of television production has been an intriguing process for Diakomichalis. While each episode clocks in at 21 minutes, filming sessions often spanned hours, with meticulous editing to craft cohesive narratives.

Diakomichalis aims for ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ to bridge understanding and connection with seemingly foreign cultures. He explained to Neos Kosmos that the title derives from a Latin phrase: Graecum est; non potest legi (“it is Greek, [therefore] it cannot be read”), made famous by Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

“The name ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ reflects both ways of looking at things, but it’s rooted in the process of coming together in this land, acknowledging its original custodians, and expressing gratitude,” he elucidated.

The series endeavors to bring together diverse cultures, such as in an episode featuring Daniel Motlop, an Indigenous Larrakia NFL player, who shares his family story while preparing smoked barramundi. This episode highlights the rich connections between early Greek migrants and Australia’s First Nations Peoples.

With each guest, common threads emerge. “These stories are too important to be lost. Alongside the tales and sacrifices of those who came before us, all the opportunities and successes we continue to enjoy are a result of the hard work of our predecessors,” Diakomichalis emphasized.

Recognition is not unfamiliar territory for Diakomichalis. Through Kalymnos Pastries, he has garnered numerous awards over the years, establishing a reputation for himself, his family, and his homeland within the Greek Australian and wider South Australian community.

“Having run the shop for 28 years now, we’ve gained considerable recognition for our consistent quality. We represent generations of my family’s traditions. Everything we do is infused with love, and our customers know it. They recognize the sweet Greek flavors by name. They know I’m a proud Kalymnos Greek, but they also know I’m Australian!” he proudly stated.

Looking ahead to 2023, after nearly three years of restrictions, Diakomichalis hopes to travel across Australia and participate in a Greek festival in Victoria.

“I’m excited to film ‘It’s All Greek to Me’ in other states and meet individuals with national reputations or compelling stories. But my biggest dream, my burning desire, is to come and cook, to conduct a demonstration at a Greek festival in Melbourne. It’s the largest Greek community, and it’s the only one I haven’t yet visited as part of a festival. You could say it’s a burning desire. I’m eager to bring all the sweetness of Kalymnos to Melbourne and exchange stories over food!”

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