They say the brightest dreams are born from your darkest moments. For Kathy Tsaples, author and owner of ‘Sweet Greek’, it was lying on a hospital bed with stage three cancer, close to facing the end of her life.
“Facing the prospect that I was going to die, I needed to be able to leave something behind,” Kathy Tsaples says to The Greek Herald.
Kathy Tsaples was born to Greek parents in the 1950’s in Melbourne. She grew up on Greek food, culture and tradition, using all three as inspiration for following her passion.
Kathy was working in the corporate world until her life was flipped completely upside down. After inspecting what she thought was a cyst, she ended up becoming diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen, and here I am nearly 10 years later, nothing has happened and I’m very grateful for that,” Kathy says thankfully.
Going through chemotherapy is traumatising on the body and the mind. Because of this, Kathy needed something to keep her mind occupied while she endured treatment.
“I started writing my first cookbook in the chemotherapy chair of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre,” Kathy says.
“So sitting on that chair, I needed to have a vision. Because my prognosis wasn’t a good one, they hadn’t given me long to go, I needed to be able to leave something behind for my sons.”
“I wrote about culture and food, what it means to be Greek, and how we live together through our food.”
After incredibly beating breast cancer, Kathy’s love for Greek culture inspired her to write, complete and publish her first cookbook.
“Since I had the opportunity to be born of migrants in the 1950’s, it was appropriate that I continued the culture down through the generations.
Yet, she didn’t stop there, leaving the corporate world and pursuing her love of cooking further. Finding a spot in the Prahan Market in Melbourne, Kathy Tsaples’ store ‘Sweet Greek’ was born.
“Sweet Greek was born out of a vision and a dream really by me,” Kathy says.
“It was in the first year where I did things pretty tough because it didn’t have a kitchen so I was cooking from home and transferring to the shop.
“It was me being passionate about food and wanting to preserve our culture and cuisine and transfer it through the generations.”
Selling authentic Greek cuisine, everything from Pastitsio to Koulouria, Kathy is proud of her Prahan Market store, hoping to see it grow and attract larger Greek attention.
“Sweet Greek has come a long way. We’re all about providing and selling authentic Greek cuisine.”
Five years after beating cancer, Kathy wrote her second book which celebrates the beauty of life and the opportunities it provides. Two cookbooks, a Melbourne produce store, and a strong initiative to charge through life, Kathy’s story is one to be admired.