Mary Mitropoulos is better known by many children from around the shire as ‘Yia Yia.’
She’s a Greek grandmother from Caringbah who has prepared meals for the thousands of children who have been through her daughters childcare centres, Little Darlings at Caringbah and Woolooware.
Yia Yia’s recipes were such a hit among all the children that parents begged to discover what her secret was in keeping their tiny diners content.
After so many requests for her recipes, Mary decided to publish them in a cookbook. With the help of Mary’s daughters Poppy and Marika, ‘Yia Yia’s Kitchen Secrets’ was launched in April last year.
Although the cookbook was such a success, the parents at Little Darlings wanted more.
Along with her Greek family behind the cookbook, Mary is now venturing into her very own commercial food line which will be hitting shelves in the coming months.
This is the result of many busy and time-poor parents at Little Darlings childcare centres who have asked for ready to pick-up meals that are healthy, wholesome and nutritious.
To mark the start of their food venture, Little Darlings Kitchen took over Giro Osteria, an Italian restaurant in Cronulla for a once-only Greek night.
The event which sold out in only five days involved Yia Yia cooking up a storm, live music and guests leaving with very full bellies!
Mary Mitropoulos says she loves being able to share her food and way of cooking with everyone.
“It was my first time taking over a restaurant, especially such a beautiful one like Giro Osteria, so I had big shoes to fill … but I absolutely loved it,” Ms Mitropoulous said.
“That’s why we are venturing into the food industry, because I want to be able to provide good, healthy and wholesome food that tastes delicious, to children especially.
“This is my passion.”
Mary’s daughter Poppy Stamateris, said that taking over Giro Osteria was a fantastic experience and she loved seeing people enjoy her mother’s food.
“People were full and they still kept eating, they just couldn’t stop.
“Seeing how everyone reacted to my mum’s food on Monday night makes me so excited for our food line to come out next month,” she said.
Ms Stamateris said there are six recipe lines coming out, which are meals that cater for the entire family.
“You can purée them for babies, feed them to your children and yourselves,” she said.
“We hope to be able to bridge the gap between 'adults food' and 'kids food’ and provide a meal that breaks the boundaries of what ‘kids food’ is known to be.”