It’s the perfect combination of country girl meets Greek goddess, our next CommuniFoodie has created the ultimate home cooked meals for you to enjoy. With a community initiative, passion for food, tribute to her heritage and a dedication to a future vision, Nicole and ‘The Greek Grazing Table’ is this week’s
Tucked away in the suburb of East Maitland NSW, you will find the newly established ‘The Greek Grazing Table’. From home based project to a small commercial kitchen store space, inside you'll find an incredible Greek woman in her cowboy boots and her smile filled Son who create some seriously delicious flavours.
“Food is my passion! When I was younger, I was never allowed to use a recipe book, it was all on smell, taste and intuition’.
Though, there is one book that you will find on display at ‘The Greek Grazing Table’ call ‘Greek Cook Book’ by Tess Mallos.
“It was my Yia Yia’s. She eventually gave it to my mum, but it wasn’t until I found a newer copy in an op shop that mum let me swap the new one for Yia Yia’s, I just love it so much, It’s my bible.”
The inspiration behind the Greek Grazing Table is its own list of ingredients. Nicole’s passion for food is her connection to her heritage, the beautiful tomato plant featured in the store has grown from the seeds from her families village in Kythera. Nicole feels her cooking is a tribute to her father who she lost in 2016,
"I just feel that when I am cooking I am honouring my Dad and keeping his spirit alive. When I cook I feel very connected to him."
Further inspiration comes from her Son Bailey who is her right-hand man and her compassion and desire for community service drives her goodwill and mission to do good for others regardless of the outcome.
Firstly the food, the dishes are amazing! You can expect to find items like Tuscan Chicken, the to-die-for Caesar Salads, then all the way to traditional Greek dishes like Spanakopita, Moussaka and Nicole’s Famous Lasagna featuring styles of triple cheese and pumpkin and spinach!
“A customer told me that my Lasagna was ‘the best he’d ever had, and he’d been to Italy’, so that’s really nice to hear.”
That’s not even scratching the surface. Nicole provides grazing boards and platters and does installs at catering events that are just as visually appealing as they are tasty. The kitchen menu changes to match seasonal items that Nicole sources from local farmers and providers in a move to support the surrounding community and for all those Keto lovers out there, a keto meal plan option is available in a 5 for $50 pack!
“Keto worked for me, I lost 50 kgs on the program so I love to help and support others by offering meals and mentoring.”
The food comes in small and large sizes, enough to feed a family or to break up over the week, with the intention to make everyones busy lives a little easier.
“I find I get a lot of people that are busy with work or life but want good food. A lot of my customers are mum’s that are just trying to fit it all in.”
In addition to the great food creations, Nicole also is eco and community conscious. Recycling as much as she can and placing all food scraps go into ‘pig buckets’ that are picked up for the animals and freezing all big bones for future use in soup mixes or broths.
“I don’t waste a lot of stuff. I grew up on a farm and food wasn’t always available, so you didn’t waste anything. Dad and I would go fishing, then we would walk back with our buckets and collect mushrooms, we were always being thoughtful. Then, I’ve had the Greek lifestyle so I have been really lucky and experienced both. I’ve had the Ritz Carlton and the Cow Poo”.
Nicole opened her own space for ‘The Greek Grazing Table' to combine all her passions into one. With a desire to create a space for her son Bailey, who experiences a developmental delay, but this doesn’t stop him from helping her out in the kitchen, especially when he gets to test taste the yummy food!
“It gives him purpose. He is just so happy when he gets to be involved and he knows exactly what to do! I would be so lost without him, I would not be able to get what I get done if he was not here.”
The vision for the future is to further establish a place where people like Bailey can come and hang out, be engaged in a social setting within their community. A safe, supportive space where people that want to connect with others and aren’t sure how to can come and meet a friend or make one!
“A place where kids can hang out, or where I can help families out. Put some music on the juke box and just give them a social outlet. I eventually want to be able to teach cooking to kids, to people who want to learn. I want to continue to support local farmers and do things that are giving back to the community. It’s the stuff that makes me feel good.”
Nicole is known for her community practice, regularly paying it forward, noticing if someone is in need and stepping up to the plate and providing.
“I am a big believer in paying it forward to helping someone out in need. I don’t need accolades, I give people my time and share my love through food and I just hope that it helps them in some way.”
She frequently trades her dishes for acts of services and believes that sharing within a community is what it is all about.
‘We know how much she gives away. When she has made too much or has stuff left over she will give it away to those in need. If she has heard about someone going through a rough patch, she turns up at their door step or finds a way to get meals to them and she just does it because she wants too because she cares”
- Secondary Source
Nicole is moving towards adding community elements to the store. These elements are based around education as she hopes to add more commercial kitchen space to the store so that she can potentially hold classes, helping people with disabilities gain lifestyles in cooking, offer kids classes, teaching Greek cuisine and helping those in need that need somewhere to go to feel valued in exchange for company and yummy food.
With so many different meal plans out there in todays market, Youfoodz, Thrive, Marley Spoon and so on, there is a community based option in your own backyard. Creating meals with love, Greek influence and an incredible amount of flavour, add ‘The Greek Grazing Table’ to your ‘to-try or to-do list. By purchasing from someone local it spins the community wheel, knowing that Nicole’s meals consist of produce sources from the local area and commits to bettering the community practice. Large sizes $40 (serving 8) Regular sizes $30 (serving 4-6) and tartlets $20, Keto meals 5x$50 and grazing board options, catering and special orders available, you would be crazy not to give this a go!
P.S. Just to be a little naughty, you might find the occasional Baklava and Greek shortbread offering popping up, be careful, its addictive!
The Quick CommuniFood 5
1. How many hours a day do you spend cooking?
Sometimes I can be here until early hours of the morning. After Christmas I am maybe looking to bring someone else in to add to the team. We are just getting so busy!
2. Favourite thing to cook?
Definitely my Greek Dishes! I just love doing it and the response is great. I feel really connected to my family when I am cooking Greek Cuisine.
3. Biggest Inspiration?
My Kids, but definitely my Son Bailey.
4. What does community mean to you?
Doing for others, without agenda.
5. Best part of what you do?
I love doing the boards and food styling. I love seeing food look pretty and well presented. Food is meant to look as good as it tastes!
Where: Shop 6, 22-24 Chelmsford Drive Metford
Contact Number : 0411 418 095
#CommuniFOod #CommuniFoodie #Greek #Community #Love #Food #SupportLocal #AmazingStories #Healthy #Keto #meals #cuisine #homecooking #purchase #supportlocalbusiness #TheGreekGrazingTable #Huntervalley #Australia