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For those foodies out there you may know and remember Philip Vakos as a contestant on Masterchef in 2010. For those of you who don’t know Philip Vakos I highly recommend that you get down to Bahari – The Hellenic Palate in Swan Street Richmond and get acquainted! Vakos along with great friend and business partner Stell Kaponas will welcome you into their cosy and homely venue, sit you down then hit your taste buds from all angles with the finest of Greek spices. Bahari being the perfect name as it means ‘spice’ or ‘all spice.’

Traditional Greek cuisine is the foundation but while Vakos holds true to tradition and the way his two Cretan grandmothers taught him, he is continuously adding his own interpretations to these classic dishes with his own flair and branding it “Gringlish” (Greek / English)! They taught him that balancing the spice in Greek food was a fine art and said ‘Keep it simple, but keep them guessing.’ So that is exactly what Vakos has done! He enjoys the freedom of not publishing a set menu which gives him the ability to explore seasonal produce and combine that with his talent, the fine art of balancing spices and flavours to create an ever changing exciting and flavoursome menu which really works.

It’s hard to decide exactly what to order as everything sounds so inviting but this is where Greek food works. Traditionally Greek food is designed to be shared amongst family and friends and nothing is different here. You are encouraged to order an array of dishes so you can explore more of the menu giving you the full dining experience.

At Tucker Street we are so happy  to be collaborating with Bahari and bring you a dish that is perfect for sharing with family and friends. One of Vakos’ favourite dishes that is close to his heart and giving you the chance to recreate. Cheat’s Youvetsi. Free range chicken with kritharaki (Greek risoni) and Yes that’s kefalograveira aka saganaki cheese on top!

To find out a bit more about Philip Vakos and the road to Bahari take a quick read below.

It all began when Philip decided to switch careers and follow his passion for cooking. Having completed an accounting degree at the University of Tasmania, and as a result, working the 9-5; Philip continuously found himself being pulled back into food.

In 2010, when his application into Masterchef was successful, he finally found his calling – launching him into a new direction; and a move to Melbourne. His first restaurant venture began, entering a partnership and reviving a Greek Restaurant in South Melbourne.

During his time there, he also spent many hours raising money for charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation , A Fighting Chance and the National Breast Cancer Foundation. In addition to charitable events, Philip entertained audiences with cooking demonstrations at high profile events, such as; The Antipodes Festival, The Monee Valley Festival, Pooley’s Vineyard in Tasmania, The Sustainable Living Expo, The Prahran Market, The Darwin Glenti, The Estia Festival and The Oakleigh Greek Glendi.

Philip has also made many media appearances since Masterchef, hosting food segments on shows such as Tasmania’s SEA FM radio, and also featuring in, ‘Phood with Phil’ on Planet unEarth on Channel 31.

His charismatic nature, and confidence in front of an audience, also opened the doors to product endorsement opportunities such as; Chris’ Dips, Craft Athens Lager & Matador BBQ.

Heleena – A marketer by trade, and growing up in hospitality, provided Heleena with the platform and tools to launch a new ‘brand’ into the Melbourne food scene.

As Melbourne born Greek through and through, the notion of ‘Bahari’ and Philip’s fresh take on Greek food, embody an evolution of the ‘Greek’ experience in Melbourne and resembles the new age of the #gringlish; an opportunity Heleena couldn’t wait to help introduce to the food community.

Heleena splits her time as a Philanthropic Marketing Consultant, and any Marketing/Communications and events for all things ‘Bahari’ .

Stell – Stell moved to Melbourne to join his good friend in this venture, and brings with him a strong background in small business. Although the pace is a little faster in Melbourne when compared to Tassie, Stell grew up on a small farm – and definitely knows what quality produce looks like.

He is also quite ‘handy’, and can be credited for many of the build elements of the restaurant ‘fitout’.