Pop up passion serves community dollars

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By Kirsty Colbert

Some of the world’s most ingenious creations come from a place in which both passion and compassion collide.

This is definitely the case for three Whyalla women behind the success of the The Pop Up Kitchen.

Argiri Kotsomitis, Tania Drobnjak and Elpida Vlachoulis all share a love for cooking, from sweets to savoury, western flavours to Greek delights.

Elpida runs a successful cake and sweets store Whisk Away, while Tania runs an at home dinner service called Pan to Plate.

Argiri has her own cooking adventures, running a ‘What’s Cooking?’ online page, in which locals share their recipes with other community members.

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Tania Drobnjak, Argiri Kotsomitis and Elpida Vlachoulis from Pop Up Kitchen – Photo Brendan Newcombe

The women also love Whyalla, the city they have all lived and worked in for almost their entire lives.

So it was only natural that when the women caught up for a chat and coffee one day they decided to make use of this passion to help their city.

“We just thought why not create this Pop Up Kitchen to raise money to support local causes,” Argiri says.

“We want all of the money raised from our events to stay in the city.”

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Photo courtesy Brendan Newcombe

With the help of local businesses, the group’s first event, a High Tea held at local Café Sempre in September last year raised more than $2,500 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

The ladies were back at it again on Mother’s Day for their second High Tea event, raising $3,228 for maternity services at the Whyalla Hospital

The Pop Up Kitchen has quickly gained momentum in the city, with tickets to the Mother’s Day event selling out in 10 minutes.

“We actually had a waiting list, it was crazy,” Tania says.

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Tania Drobnjak, Argiri Kotsomitis and Elpida Vlachoulis with Craig Packard, acting Regional Director of Country Health SA

Looking forward, the trio say they’re not sure when their next event will be as they are each incredibly busy, however they have several ideas in the works.

“We’d like to move away from the high teas and get into different aspects of cooking for the Pop Up Kitchen,” Elpida says.

Whatever it turns out to be the local community will be the benefactors once again.

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