In Katianna and Yianna Velos’ world, ‘food is fashion’. The millennial duo behind emerging lifestyle brand Golden Groves know their way around Melbourne’s best sartorial spots, wine oases and bountiful produce purveyors. After importing golden extra virgin olive oil from their family groves in the humble village of Mani, Greece, Katianna and Yianna received a groundswell of demand from Australian gastronomes, restaurants and passionate home-cooks. Now, they’ve branched out to create a ‘caviar culture shift’ of sorts, collaborating with local producer Sea Cave to serve an indulgent black caviar atop cacio e pepe or dolloped on a bagel for brunch.
Food and coming together is a way of life for us
While exuberant food, heritage, and family are themes at the crux of Golden Groves’ brand, the girls tell a broader story of fashion intersecting with tablescapes, outfitting for occasions and leading a holistically well-styled life. Their Instagram accounts speak volumes via visuals, featuring grids spliced with glazed pastas, curated recipes, travel diaries and impeccable dressing notes.
Here, we sit down with the Velos sisters to mine their imagination for the ultimate Easter weekend. We’re leaving no facet of feasting unturned, from inspiration for your next evening of hosting-at-home duties, to the power of a potent olive oil, and their head-to-toe Harrolds outfits of the season. Don’t read if hungry.
Katianna & Yianna Velos
Katianna & Yianna Velos
Can you tell us a bit about what you do, and what you’ve founded with your multifaceted lifestyle business Golden Groves?
Yianna and I founded Golden Groves in 2021 with the vision of a brand that encapsulates the art of living well. We have a particular focus on food, namely our extra virgin olive oil imported from our family’s groves in the south of Greece. Yianna and I both have corporate backgrounds in finance and law respectively. Our approach to Golden Groves is very much the approach we have to life – that is, living freely and creatively, driven by intuition and ambition (which is somewhat antithetic to our trained ‘careers’). We love creating together and centering our brand on sharing special moments, good food and memories in places and with people that resonate with the ethos of Golden Groves.
What does food and coming together mean to you?
Food and coming together is a way of life for us. Every day we ensure we take time to connect over food, whether it’s popping into one of Melbourne’s many beautiful restaurants in the city or sitting down to a home-cooked meal with our family. So much of how we interact with others revolves around food – business meetings, birthdays, and milestones in life. A choice of restaurant or choice of meal can make the difference between a mediocre catch-up and a fantastic one. A cosy late-night dinner with an old friend over a steaming bowl of pho in a hidden corner of the city is just as enjoyable as sitting at a wine bar in a gentrified suburb. It’s the act of taking the time to connect with people over food, whether they’re friends or strangers. Food fundamentally helps us form deeper foundations with other humans.
And how about fashion? In what ways do fashion and food intersect in your world?
In our world, food is fashion. There is an art to the way you prepare, cook and present food which is very similar to the way you would prepare a capsule collection. With food, you often refer to old family recipes and try to recreate them to evoke certain sentiments or memories. Fashion is very similar in that designers will often dig deep into fashion archives and draw inspiration from previous collections. These family recipes, just like fashion archives, are waiting for a contemporary lens to make them relevant again. Our approach to showcasing our brand is not dissimilar to that of a fashion label. We style our food, create collections (harvests) and shoot original content. We reimagine the way olive oil and caviar are traditionally served, perceived and presented. This process is artistic and a form of expression for us.
This Easter break, what can we find you both up to?
Every year, we usually have two Easter breaks to celebrate as we are Greek and Greek Easter falls on a different date most years. This Easter break, we have hired a yacht in Sydney with our friends from Byron Bay and are praying for good weather so we can cook and relax on the boat in a hidden cove in the Northern Beaches. We’re planning long, leisurely spreads from sunrise to sunset and although our cooking ability will be limited, we will rely on a host of beautiful cold cut meats, cheeses and various morsels from some of Sydney’s best delis to help us celebrate. Greek Easter is our favourite holiday of the year and is always a prolonged family affair that is punctuated by more food than you could imagine. We always invite our friends to join and inevitably prepare a menu that is meant to be shared — a midnight feast on the Saturday evening is followed by another whole day of eating: slow roasted lamb on the spit, salads, pites and of course the competitive cracking of the red eggs.
We apply the same approach of dressing ourselves to dressing our table for the seasons
What are some of your go-to entrées, mains and desserts to serve up to friends and family when entertaining at home?
The entrée should never be fussy, just a beautiful morsel that guests can grab as they flit about. A nice bruschetta is always easy. Toasted crostini topped with burrata, anchovies and lemon zest. Fresh crusty bread and whipped butter or olive oil. Smashed, bite-sized pieces of potatoes with creme fraiche and caviar. Blinis and caviar. Fries with caviar. Anything with caviar, really.
If you’re hosting a smaller group, pasta is always a good option. There are so many options when making pasta — you can cater for everyone’s dietary needs and it’s difficult to resist. We love slow-cooked ragu, because it’s such a homey dish. Otherwise, if we have more guests coming, something like a big roast such as lamb or chicken is also a good choice as you can pop in the oven and forget about it until later. We like keeping dessert light — a simple mousse au chocolat, ricotta gelato with olive oil, or an understated chocolate cake or seasonal galette with creme fraiche are always winners. An affogato with a shot of something boozy also keeps the guests seated for longer!
On the table-dressing front, what are your tips for curating a seasonal Easter setup?
We apply the same approach of dressing ourselves to dressing our table for the seasons. Our Easter table is warm, light and incorporates a lot of colour. We love to mix and match different glassware and ceramics as this creates an informal setting that isn’t uniform and allows our guests to feel at home. We currently have our eyes on the Helle Mardahl Creamy Melon, Blueberry Ice Cream And Bubblegum Bon Bon Cocktail Glass With A Twist and Helle Mardahl Lime, Creamy Melon And Pink Bon Bon Cocktail Glass With A Twist. These cocktail glasses are bold, bright and play on form. A tailored table set-up is something as memorable as the spread itself. We love having an eclectic mix of tableware and glassware as it allows us to express our creative flare.
Scent is also another important and considered element when dressing our table. Scent should be another alluring element that should be engaged to invite guests to your home. Developing a signature fragrance or channelling an aroma unique to your space will impart a lasting impression on your guests. Joyous memories of endless conversations and laughs will endure, and eternally be associated with that distinct perfume.
Where are we shopping for the best local produce?
When it comes to the best local produce, we are always shopping at markets. The markets are one of the things we love most about Melbourne, and we tend to alternate between Queen Vic Market, South Melbourne Market and Prahran Market depending on what we are looking for. The ease of accessibility to fresh food and produce is what makes shopping at markets so enjoyable. We love building rapport with all the market holders and passing by our favourite stalls and hearing about their news and of course what produce they got in for the day. South Melbourne Seafoods at South Melbourne Market is our go to for seafood, Queen Vic for fresh produce and Prahran Market for blooms, in addition to our wonderful local florist in Elwood, Elwood Flowers.
What’s the importance of a good olive oil when it comes to putting on a divine spread?
You would be hard-pressed to find a meal in our house that does not have at least a tiny slick of our olive oil. Your spread is only as good as your produce, and when olive oil is in every dish (or even a martini), the quality of the oil speaks for itself. Having a good quality olive oil allows you to elevate every dish you create. It’s the simple things that people remember when dining at your home, and we can guarantee you that people will remember the taste of Golden Groves’ liquid gold.
And how about dressing yourselves? What is your comfy-but-polished outfit for hosting in style?
Yianna: Part of entertaining is dressing for the occasion. I feel best in a statement pair of tailored trousers or matching set. I am currently loving the Paris Georgia Blue Diamond Singlet and Blue Cowboy Trousers. There’s something about a matching set that makes me feel so powerful and polished. I also gravitate towards colour as it really makes you stand out. I always joke that I am allergic to black. I would pair this set with these fabulous Amina Muaddi Rosie Pink Satin Slingback Heels. It’s the perfect mix of colour and textures, and a feel-good entertaining outfit.
Katianna: Amina Muaddi can do no wrong. Her Metal Rainbow Begum Sling Heels are new to Harrolds, feeling especially festive for Easter in co-ord with rainbow spreads of food and foiled eggs. For the outfit, colour prevails. I’m besotted with Jacquemus’ playful designs, especially in this impeccably-structured Green La Robe Bari. To embellish the look, I’d reach for Christopher Esber’s chunky Gold Ridged Magnum Hoop Earrings. A dream.
Are there any other final touches you’d recommend for perfecting the ambiance at an at-home soirée or luncheon over the Easter holiday?
No luncheon is complete without some music to set the scene and a welcome drink on arrival for all your guests. Music helps set the tone of the occasion and a drink aids in making your guests feel well settled. Lighting is also something not to be overlooked, and candles or dimmer lighting can help your guests relax into their seats and enjoy the company of the other guests amongst a restaurant-worthy ambience. Keeping a digestif on hand after the main meal is also a nice touch.
For when we’re venturing out of our own kitchen, what’s an easy dish to BYO to another loved one’s abode?
A beautiful salad is always easy. Preparing a salad based on what’s in season is a simple way to bring something substantial but equally as flavoursome to someone’s house. I love a simple greens salad with fresh herbs from the garden: mint, dill and basil. All you need is a hefty drizzle of Golden Groves olive oil.