A play on chicken soup for the soul, Souvlaki for the Soul shows that Greek food is the ultimate in comfort food; a food that warms your belly and eases your pain. Peter G has taken the national dish of souvlaki and used it to title this world famous blog. But if it weren’t for a late night surfing the net for a recipe, Souvlaki for the Soul may never have gotten off the ground.
The year was 2006, and instead of consulting a cookbook, Peter went straight online to find a recipe. Trawling the net for infamous Gordon Ramsay’s Beef Wellington, he came across a lot more than just how to get the right amount of pastry / beef ratio. He noticed at the bottom of the recipes, people were interacting online, commenting, and getting excited about the recipe. That’s when Peter realised he was reading someone’s blog.
“I’ve never met so many people that are so passionate about recipes and food,” said Peter about communicating through his six-year-old blog Souvlaki for the Soul. His first entry on 14 January 2007 titled ‘Hello and G’Day’ gave readers an impression of Peter and what they’d expect from the blog, but not one reader that day or Peter knew what they were about to get themselves into.
“I thought I knew it all then,” said Peter about when he started blogging. He waited two to three months before his first post to get his head around the forum of blogging and the etiquette. But also the additional work that comes with creating a food blog.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into it, a lot of planning,” said Peter. With all his recipes, he needs to test them out by cooking, playing around with the recipe and making it more Greek. Photographing the food itself takes a lot of meticulous planning and then there’s the writing part. For this, Peter has recently completed a food writing course to up-the-ante of what he says, and it’s paid off.
Only one year into the blog, he was named by The Times in London in the top 50 food blogs from around the world. “I was flabbergasted and shocked and very thankful. The website that day went crazy, and because the emails were coming from London, I woke up to so many emails and Twitter was going crazy.”
Winning this award meant that doors started to open for the blogger from Sydney, with offers and advertising and even a private masterclass with renowned chef Tetsuya. But with all the accolades, attention and awards, Peter still remains ever so down-to-earth.
His fascination with food started at a very early age. He remembers always being around the kitchen when his family were cooking and because Greek culture is steeped in Greek food, it wasn’t too hard. Also, his family had a restaurant on the iconic Swan Street in Richmond, Victoria. Peter can visually recollect food memories and being around food all the time. It was Home Economics at school that really whet his appetite to be around and involved with food but even as a seven-year-old he was disturbed the teachers weren’t using the right olive oil. Right from the start, he knew his blog was going to heavily feature Greek cuisine.
“I wanted to feature the traditional Greek cuisines like pastitsio and kourabiethes, but I wanted to play around with traditional elements and put my own twist to it,” said Peter, pointing out that this doesn’t work with every dish but highlights “the beauty of food”.
“You can take a recipe and you can take it in any direction – I don’t think recipes are one dimensional.” With his Greek cooking, Peter relies heavily on his memory of his family, old recipes and tried and tested ways of doing things. “You have to remember that Greek food can be quite regional and people will prepare it a different way,” he said. “For me, though, I don’t like to get involved in the food politics at all. I just eat because I like it and I cook because I like it.”
To have a look at Peter G’s blog, visit www.souvlakiforthesoul.com