By Niel Vaughan
“You need to sell your Bougatsa,” Tammy Vlahogiannis’ friends and family enthused while savouring sweet Greek custard layered with flaky filo pastry.
So one day she finally did. She started her Northern Greek-style street food business called Kremaa, meaning “cream/custard”.
From the first market, it was clear that her friends had been right all along. Customers began asking for more classic Greek dishes so Tammy added Baklava, Revani Galaktoboureko, Pienerli, and Feta and Zucchini Pies to her menu.
They loved it. Tammy loved it.
Word got out and her phone began to ring day and night with requests from cafes and markets and distributors, full of praises and promises.
But Tammy knows that making food for the love of it is a fun passion, but making food for profit can be a mean beast.
Market after market, cafe after cafe, retailer after retailer, began taking up more of the time and love Tammy puts into her food.
Then, one day Tammy realised that she had no more time and food for those she loved to feed.
That was the day friends and family got their favourite food back. That was the day Tammy decided to choose her favourite farmers’ markets and bring back the passion and fun of serving the food of her ancestors.
What Tammy gave up in profit she gained in time spent discovering the old world her parents came from through their traditional dishes. “My favourite product is the spanakopita. It makes me very proud that I have learnt this skill from my mum. When I first made it, only around 3 years ago, I started crying because I thought I would never be able to make it!”
Tammy was born and grew up in Melbourne and cooked the food of modern Australia.
But since having found her hungry audience, she has had the opportunity to reconnect and discover more of the tastes of her ancestors.
That is the power of food at work and the Slow Food Melbourne Farmer’s Market is lucky enough to be one of her chosen outlets.
So make sure to get in early for a breakfast special sweet, savoury – or both.