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GREEK Cookbook Launch with George Calombaris

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GREEK by George Calombaris is a compelling cookbook showcasing traditional Greek cuisine but with a modern twist. The World Loves Melbourne attended the stunning launch at Hellenic Republic attended by friends, celebs, media and foodies. This is not another throwaway cookbook but it's packed with gems and treasures and a plethora of exciting accessible recipes.

In GREEK George shares his passion for all things Greek, including of course the best of Hellenic food. This is not a stuffy cookbook but is vibrant and playful, and a good read in itself, let alone inspiration for superb Greek dishes. We see here a passion of George for Greek street food, with one section simply called "Street Food", as well as sections on "Hellenic Snacks", "Souvlaki" (a subject close to George), "Dips", "Pastas", "Salates", "Desserts", "Drinks", "Basics" and a fascinating section on "Mum's Recipes".

George is described in the book as "an Aussie chef with a Hellenic heart." We love George's description of Australian food as "an amalgamation of all the food traditions that came to this country with the families who settled here." 

We're keen to try to cook up dishes like "Steamed Jimmy Dimmys, soy sauce, olive oil" and "Confit salmon, tomato butter sauce". The stunning "Acropolis Now" dish we have enjoyed at Gazi also features. There's even a recipe for Greek coffee.

The World Loves Melbourne was able to score a signed copy of GREEK and we are on our way to Hellenic satiation...

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George was surrounded by friends and collegues of culinary note including legendary Gary Mehigan and Raymond Capaldi (who George worked under at The Sofitel in those early years, and for who we are grateful for Hare and Grace).

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None other than Heston graced Hellenic Republic for the event... Spot Melbourne bloggers Thanh Do (Instagram sensation, I Eat therefore I Am) and Lawrence in the background below.

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The event itself was a lavish occasion with the kitchen team in overdrive serving up Greek style canapes to the foodie crowd, and a Greek band entertaining guests. The World Loves Melbourne has always appreciated Hellenic Republic as perhaps the best casual dining restaurant in Melbourne. Memories of friends and family imbibing here abound.

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Heston congratulated his mate George on the achievement of GREEK in true playful Heston style. 

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George spoke of the process and passion behind the book; for example they engaged one of the top photographers in the country who worked endlessly on photos until they got the look "just right" for each dish. George's speech was full of gratitude for the people around him that are friends and support. For us George is about "heart" as well as innovation. We see a measure of George's brilliance on the TV screen but behind the scenes George values those he is surrounded with and who support. We spoke with people involved with George in kitchens and media, but also with a friend who George hangs out with playing soccer in the park. Some of the Melbourne Victory team were present; George making it clear that Melbourne Victory are part of his extended family.

There was even a couple there who told us they were locals and regulars at Hellenic Republic and that George had invited them to the launch. How good is that? This genteleman was involved in charity work getting fresh water into ravaged Syria. There were many layers of richness to this evening.

A great section in the book is the dedicated paragraphs of tribute to George from friends like Greg Malouf, Matt Preston, Marco Pierre White, Gary Mehigan, Heston, Sat Bains, Antonio Carluccio and others. While paying tribute to George they are also provising something of a culinary history!

We spoke with execs from Masterchef, media heavyweights and Penguin the publishers, also enjoying the occasion.

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George posing with his father at the launch.  Family means much and the night was a celebration of even more than an exceptional book.

GREEK by George Calombaris. Is this the perfect Christmas gift or what? Easy to purchase online.