Immigrant, former restaurateur, social media sensation: Meet Greek Australian YiaYia Helen Dedes

·

One would recognise her from AGL’s latest TV campaign or YiaYia’s Greek Kitchen page on social media. But Helen Dedes, now 72, does not consider herself a celebrity. She is the YiaYia next door, just with abundant humour and positive energy.

“I love cooking. I don’t think I remember one day without cooking,” she says in the AGL advertisement.

Cooking and family are the two things she has kept close to her heart, all the way from her home country to the other side of the globe.

“My mother inspired my love of food,” says Dedes, who migrated to Australia from the island of Lesvos, in 1967 with her husband, Stavro.

“We came to Australia for a better life. To find the pot of gold. My husband was the one who wanted to come. I wanted to stay in Greece and study. I was aspiring to become a fitness instructor, but we loved each other so I followed him,” she tells The Greek Herald.

“The first years were hard. We didn’t have money and my husband had to learn the language. He was a police officer in Greece, but here he had to do different jobs to provide for us,” Mrs Dedes says. In the meantime, she started singing.

I ask if they ended up finding this pot of gold and how soon they felt Australia home. ‘Όπου γης και πατρίς’ she says in Greek, meaning that ‘Home is where the heart is.’

With her positive attitude towards life, her resilience and the belief that there is a solution to every problem, Helen Dedes and her late husband, set the foundations for one of Sydney’s most renowned restaurant chains, the Dedes Waterfront Group.

A few years ago, she retired and handed over the reins of the Dedes Group to her son, Con. “That was my proudest moment. Family is everything to us. I’m just so happy to see him taking on my passion for food and making people smile and be happy.”

But what motivates her and where does she draw her energy from?

“Think positive. This is my secret. I get my energy from my positive thinking. Positive, positive, positive,” YiaYia Dedes says.

I ask her to convey her message to the future generation of Greek Australians, through The Greek Herald, as she has been reading the paper for more than 20 years.

“Know yourself and preserve our Greek traditions and culture,” she says and continues, “grandparents, talk to your grandchildren. Help them think positive, work hard and love whatever they decide to do in life,” she says affectionately.

Ok YiaYia, we got this. Positive, positive, positive…

Advertisement

Share:

KEEP UP TO DATE WITH TGH

By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Advertisement

Latest News

Fresco of Helen of Troy uncovered at Pompeii

Nearly 2,000 years since it was buried by volcanic rubble, the lost city of Pompeii is yielding even more impressive discoveries. According to msn.com, archeologists...

New casual Greek restaurant brings meze and cocktails to Adelaide’s CBD

Andrew Papadakis, the visionary who founded and successfully sold Meze Mazi, returns to the vibrant Adelaide restaurant scene with his newest venture, Dino’s. According to...

Two Greek women included in ’30 Under 30′ Forbes list

In this year's European Forbes "30 Under 30" list, two exceptional Greek women have managed to stand out for their successful paths in two...

2,300-year-old tomb unearthed in Greece

A tomb in the ancient Macedonian city of Aegae in modern Vergina, Greece, has been unearthed according to an All That’s Interesting report. The tomb is believed...

Yorgos Lanthimos’ new movie ‘Kinds of Kindness’ included in Cannes lineup

New films from Yorgos Lanthimos, Andrea Arnold and Francis Ford Coppola, as well as a portrait of 1980s Donald Trump, will compete for the...

You May Also Like

Grants available in NSW to keep seniors connected

Grants of up to $10,000 are available to fund programs focused on getting older people out and about during the 2024 NSW Seniors Festival.  NSW...

A rare painting exhibition by European Hellenes debuts in Thessaloniki

The Teloglion Fine Arts Foundation in Thessaloniki opened a rare exhibition of paintings by 19th-century European Philhellenes that will run through to January 29,...

Greek Australian artist creates biodegradable plastic from seaweed

In 2019, we used more plastic than in all the years since 2000. On average, we each use 53 kilograms of plastic a year...