Greek, vegan and delicious: Staazi and Co make waves in SA’s food scene

Food outlets that put a vegan take on cuisines of the world are being celebrated at this weekend’s vegan festival (Image source: Staazi and Co).

By Viki Ntafillis | @viki_ntaf

Being a vegan in Adelaide has never been more delicious, as the increasingly popular lifestyle means choosing the vegan option is no longer just a salad, but a whole cuisine experience.

One business embracing this trend is Staazi and Co, South Australia’s first Greek vegan eatery.

Husband and wife team, Roger Brackley and Anastasia ‘Staazi’ Lavrentiadis, first launched their business as a food truck at the Vegan Festival Adelaide in October 2017.

“We will actually be celebrating the business’ second birthday with our food truck at this year’s Vegan Festival,” Ms Lavrentiadis said.

Staazi and Co also recently announced that their pop-up store on Grenfell Street’s East End would remain open over summer.

“We’ve had our store for around three months now,” Ms Lavrentiadis said.

“It came from the demand from the vegan community and our customers.

“They wanted to be able to get our food on a more regular basis, without having to stalk our truck.”

With a wide range of crowd-pleaser dishes from the food truck, it soon became apparent what kind of Greek food Staazi and Co would serve its hungry customers.

“We didn’t know exactly what the menu would be,” Ms Lavrentiadis said.

“We originally wanted to do lots of chickpeas and fasolakia [green beans], and stuff like that.

“But, as it evolved, we [realised that] it’s hard to serve those dishes without a restaurant.

“At festivals, people want to grab things and go. They don’t want beans or potatoes; they want something greasy and satisfying.”

To retain the meaty taste the yiros and AB are famous for, Staazi and Co developed a meat substitute, aimed to be as satisfying as lamb itself.

“The “lamb” is plant-based…it’s made of [a] mixture of soybeans, gluten and our own secret herbs and spices,” Ms Lavrentiadis said.

“As a vegan, you could get a chip yiros, but this way, you get the complete product.”

Ms Lavrentiadis said she hoped her business would prove that food can be cruelty-free and still taste amazing.

“There is a misconception that if food doesn’t contain animal products that it’s going to be lacking…also, that Greek food is only meat and dairy,” she said.

“This whole project is about being kind and showing that we don’t need to harm other sentient beings, ever.

“People think ‘I could never [go vegan]…we all grew up eating meat and dairy.  Then you realise, though, that your values conflict with your behaviour and you want to align them.

“It’s just a happier existence…the only thing we regret is not making the change sooner.”

Ms Lavrentiadis also admits that her cultural heritage also inspired the creation of Staazi and Co.

“I grew up with a traditional Greek background,” she said.

“My mum always cooked traditional Greek foods like briam [Greek mixed roast vegetables], beans, potatoes…predominantly vegetables.

“We did lamb on the spit to celebrate all our religious festivals like Christmas, Easter and name days.

“I always felt sad when I saw [it]: It’d just make me sick.

“As I got older, I learnt more about what they [animals] really go through (like in slaughterhouses).

“I just thought: ‘I cannot put that into my body’.

“I cannot give my money, that I work so hard for, to fund that.”

Staazi and Co will be at the Vegan Festival Adelaide this weekend (26-27th October) at Rundle Park, or you can visit their store on Grenfell Street.

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