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Home Cook: Jono Kaitatzis, grocer

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Jono Kaitatzis, of the Market Shed on Holland and the new Plant 4 Bowden, says he inherited his love of wholesome food from his mum. Here, he takes us into his kitchen and shares his recipe for a healthy rainbow vegie dish.

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Jono Kaitatzis began his career working at his family’s IGA supermarket on Gilbert Street in the CBD and, from there, he extended his passion for South Australian food to create the popular Market Shed on Holland – a food market operating directly behind City Central IGA.

The idea for the Market Shed on Holland, he says, came about when he noticed a gap in the market for a space where people could “relax, slow down and consciously think about what they were eating and make a connection back to where food comes from”.

Plant 4 at Bowden is the Kaitatzis family’s latest venture. The development includes their new Bowden IGA, with the space offering a range of foods from local producers, as well as cafés, a bakery, weekly markets and community events.

Kaitatzis’s passion for fresh, local food extends to his home kitchen, and here he gives some insight into his cooking style.

In the kitchen I am …
Always cooking to nourish my body. I’m certainly no chef, but I love to cook. I see the whole experience of cooking as therapeutic. Whether I’m cooking for myself or someone else, I’m always conscious of the origins of my ingredients.

The fridge is nearly empty – what do you do cook for dinner?
I enjoy eating leftovers. Slow-cooked meals can often taste even better the next day. Food waste is an important issue, so I always avoid throwing anything out.

The most useful cooking tool is …
Patience. The whole process of food takes time. I always remind myself to focus on slow food (seasonal, local, organic and wholefoods). A wooden spoon comes in handy sometimes, too.


Jono Kaitatzis with his home-cooked vegie dish.

What are your three essential grocery items?
1. Seasonal veggies – all my meals cooked at home are based around what’s in season and then I go from there.
2. Spices – particularly turmeric, Himalayan salt and cracked pepper.
3. Non-hydrogenated and GMO-free cooking oils.

How did you learn to cook?
When I was growing up, Mum would make me food (she still does) and then talk about the goodness that was on my plate the whole time I ate it. I didn’t think I took much notice, but when I started cooking for others, without realising it, I found myself telling them everything that was on their plate and where it came from. During those moments I thought: “Oh no, I’ve become my mother!”

What is your favourite restaurant and why?
Every time I leave Andre’s Cucina, I feel so satisfied. I love their degustation. I feel the best way to eat is to let chefs decide what to cook for you.

What is your favourite recipe?
I don’t have a favourite recipe that I cook at home. I simply enjoy blending vegies of all different colours, knowing that I’m getting my full nutritional intake. I like to cook with seasonal and organic vegies. Often what is in abundance is more affordable.

For this particular plate, I’ve used broccoli, parsnip, capsicum, heirloom carrots, green and purple Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, pumpkin, chard, zucchini flower, radicchio, radish, kimchi, fermented beetroot, pepitas, sesame seeds, native thyme oil, saltbush oil, coconut oil, turmeric, Himalayan salt, cracked pepper, garlic, rosemary and tempeh (fermented organic soy).

The first thing I do before cooking at home is to put on some tunes and create a relaxed and chilled ambience, taking my time. I ensure the kitchen is always clean before prep and pre-heat the oven for roasting.

Slice the sweet potato, parsnips and capsicum and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with native thyme oil and sprinkle with Himalayan salt, cracked pepper and fresh rosemary and and then place in the oven for roasting.

Steam carrots, Brussels sprouts and broccoli (separately), just long enough to slightly soften but retain colour, then lightly sauté in garlic, ginger, lemon and zest.

Boil pumpkin until tender, then mash with a touch of coconut oil, turmeric, Himalayan salt, raw garlic and ginger.

Sauté tempeh in saltbush oil with garlic and ginger, and spice up by adding turmeric, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lime and lemon.

Now the fun part – plating up:

Place tempeh in cupped radicchio leaves, squeeze a little lime over the top and drizzle with wattle seed vinegar and native thyme oil
. Lightly toast sesame seeds and pepitas with saltbush oil and sprinkle over top

I use a little bit of leftover smashed pumpkin to fill the lightly steamed zucchini flower.

Surround with steamed, sautéed and roasted veggies, kimchi, fermented beetroot and fresh radish.

If I don’t get through it all, it goes straight in the fridge and I enjoy eating it at work the next day.

Plant 4 Bowden will open at the Bowden Town Square on Saturday, October 29. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet Plant 4 stallholders and check out the in-house eateries as well as enjoying food, wine and entertainment from 2pm to 8pm at 1 Third St, Bowden. 

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