Tree of life

first_imgIt’s strange to think that a tragedy was the catalyst behind the dynasty that has seen four generations of George Diakomichalis’ family involved in the world of pastries. While George’s great-great-grandfather was out on a sponge fishing trip he drowned, forcing his then nine-year-old son to work in order to provide for the family. The young lad was sent to Russia in 1890 to work with a Kalymnian family of pastry chef’s. He learnt the trade, even went to France for a year to expand his knowledge and techniques, and then returned to the island of Kalymnos to open the first family patisserie in 1918. The rest is more than history, as the original tragedy has spawned family businesses in the US, in Greece and the Adelaide store Kalymnos Pastries. George initially tried to fight his fate, opting for a job at the Commonwealth Bank but after four years of number-crunching, he knew that he couldn’t deny it anymore; as he says himself “it’s in my blood”. In 1995, George travelled to Kalymnos to learn the craft: traditional methods that had been passed down from generation to generation, then later that year opened Kalymnos Pastries in Torrensville South Australia. A wide-eyed 23-year-old, this was George’s first exposure to business. “It was a shock to the system,” George recalls of the early days of Kalymnos Pastries. “The first six months were working 18 hour days and it was very tough. But luckily I had the support of my family – as there were some trying times working those hours.”In those days, it was just George and his mum, churning out quality pastries upholding age-old techniques and recipes. George said although it took its toll physically, they were lucky to be inundated with orders when they first opened “It was tough, a big commitment. At the beginning we did everything ourselves; I used to be the chef and do deliveries. Slowly, slowly we took more people on, more staff and things gradually fell into place.” The store has been up-and-running for 17 years and features all the Greek classic delicacies like kataifi, revani, baklava, floyeres, karithopita, bougatsa – the list goes on. Cheesecakes, muffins and biscuits can also be found on the premises ensuring there is something available for everyone’s sweet tooth. But if savoury’s your flavour, try the spanakopita, tiropita and vegetable and cheese triangles. Kalymnos Pastries is a reflection of George’s vision and heritage. From the homely shop front, to the friendly staff – everything here is warm and inviting. “We want everyone to experience the tradition of the food, like people are eating home cooked food from their parents and grandparents. We are very proud of the home style produce.” His strong desire to ensure his produce is a reflection and homage to his family baking traditions means that the quality control at Kalymnos Pastries is second-to-none. That passion and steadfast vision that George posses filters through to every aspect of the business. “I have a strong vision of the way I want this business to run,” George says matter-of-factly. “I handpick my staff based on character, they need to be able to follow the lead and to make sure that everything is made using traditional methods. We pride ourselves on quality and freshness and I am not scared of wastage but we know how to manage our products to make sure we don’t have too much waste. We always make sure our customer service matches our product and our cleanliness. And we don’t skimp on produce, we never use cheaper ingredients,” explains George. George admits that the business was the only path for him to take in life, and now as we talk, he says he couldn’t imagine life without it. “It’s surreal, I still remember the first day, in some ways it feels like it was yesterday, but in other ways it feels like it’s been forever. I am very, very proud of what I have achieved along with the help and support of my family, and my fantastic staff.” And the success of the business?“If you give someone something you love, the rest takes care of itself.”Kalymnos Pastries, 3/158 Henley Beach Rd, Torrensville, South Australia, (08) 8443 9333 Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *