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  • Voula and Nick Bakopoulos working in their Greek food business. (SBS news )
Nick and Voula Bakopoulos have centred their business on a life-long marriage of food, family and partnership. Their latest venture is an homage to their cultural heritage that's proving to be a recipe for success.
By
Source:
SBS Small Business Secrets
9 Apr - 5:35 PM 

Nick and Voula Bakopoulos always knew they would end up working with food. They both grew up in entrepreneurial migrant families in suburban Adelaide.

"I grew up in chicken shops and Nick grew up in delis and snack bars back in the 80's", Voula told SBS. 

The couple's first food venture, The Travelling Greek, gave them an opportunity to showcase their Greek and Cypriot backgrounds while paying tribute to Nick's father - the man who founded the pair's love for the culinary world.

"The Travelling Greek was named after our parents who were migrants back in the 50’s. They came here with nothing other than pride and possibly enthusiasm and a little self-belief", Nick says.

The couple are now hoping their second food venture will replicate the success The Travelling Greek had during its 27 years in business.  

Voula Bakopoulos preparing food for her business with her mother.

Voula's stall 

Nick and Voula Bakopoulos say they wanted to join the increasingly popular market landscape and contribute to Australia's growing love for international foods.

Voula's has been a permanent stall for the past 18 months and the Bakopouloses say they feel privileged to be able to have a business that pays homage to their cultural heritage.

While Voula still cooks the food at home, she now feeds Greek village-styled food - like slow cooked lamb and stuffed capsicums - to hundreds of paying customers.

"People who buy the food say it reminds them of their mum's cooking and even their grandma's cooking. This food brings back happy memories for people", Voula told SBS.

The exterior of Voula's stall at Adelaide's Plant 4 site.

Yet Voula says she wasn't always a culinary expert. She says she still remembers the anxiety she felt soon after marriage when she realised she didn't know how to cook any Greek food.

"I would ring my mum on a daily basis asking her how to make this and that. She would instruct me over the phone but of course her little bit and my little bit was completely different", Voula says.

“My boys will always say 'it’s not like yiayia’s, but I think I’ve done my best.”

Business and marital partnership 

While the couple admit there are challenges in working together, they say they know how to minimalise unpleasant situations.

Nick told SBS: "Any argument we do have happens in-house, at work. At home, we focus our attention onto our children, relax and just enjoy each others company.”

The pair say knowing what their individual roles are also helps - Voula handles all the food while Nick takes care of everything else.

Nick Bakopoulos says Voula takes care of everything food related while his role is to be the support.

The pair's successful partnership is also based on their shared belief of simple and delicious food.

While all of the ingredients used come from sources in South Australia, the recipes come from beyond the continent.  Some recipes have been inspired from the heart of Athens, where Nick's father had a stall in the foothills of the Acropolis.

The pair say they are lucky to be able to follow in their parent's footsteps while sharing their proud culture with the rest of Australia.

“Food is made up in our DNA", Nick said.

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