Meet The Locals: James And Chloe Demos

January 25, 2024

When James and Chloe Demos set up their Yassou Greek Street Food business in October 2022, they thought it would take years to get established – but their food truck has quickly become a fixture of the Sunshine Coast brewery and wedding scene.

The couple speak to us about the whirlwind growth of Yassou – Greek for ‘G’day mate’ – and the evolution of street food as a gourmet offering.

Firstly thanks for taking the time to chat with us today, James and Chloe, we know you’ve been busy because Yassou has been a raging success since you set up the business in late 2022. What’s been your secret?

James: We wanted to make Yassou a third home for people, that special place they have outside their work and home. In Greek culture, food is everything. It’s how you show your love and it brings people together. That was our aim.

The food is a modern and fun interpretation of classic Greek street food and the Sunshine Coast locals have really embraced it. We didn’t know how many orders we’d get in those early days but our first night went really well and we were booked out for the first three months. We still have customers that came to those early events. They’ve seen our journey and they tell us how proud they are of us.

Tell us about those early days.

Chloe: It was full on! We started off in a 3×3 marquee. It took two hours to set up and two hours to take down. James was lifting a 25-kilo fryer in and out of the trailer on his own every time. Then you had to keep your fingers crossed that all the equipment was going to work. You’re cooking over fire in all sorts of weather, so if the wind came there was no protection. It was busy but James and I love that rush!

The first year, we were just hustling. We jumped on any inquiry that came our way to build a following. I can honestly say we’ve cooked in every brewery on the Sunshine Coast (except Your Mates because they have a restaurant).

Now, we’ve got two team members to help us out on the busy days, when we can push out up to 400 meals. But James and I are still the only ones on every single cook. While he’s cooking over the charcoal, I’m next to him doing the prep. There are times where you can’t go fast enough, where we have full docket rail after full docket rail, but that’s what we love.

You decided early on to upgrade to a food van but you weren’t expecting that to happen quite so soon, were you?

James: We thought it would take three years before we got a van! Eight weeks in, we realised we needed to get more efficient and get the food out more quickly to the customers. So, we took the plunge, ordered the food van and spent five months getting it built exactly the way we wanted.

It’s made a huge difference because everything’s built in. It means we can cater to bigger crowds, so we can do weddings and other events. We did the Pa and Ma Bendall surfing competition at Moffat Beach and an NRL game at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Our number one goal was the Caloundra Music Festival. We’ve been attending the festival for 10 years and I proposed to Chloe on the festival weekend, so it holds special memories for us. And in September, we were part of the main food truck section at the festival. We couldn’t believe it!

I hadn’t realised weddings were such a big market for street food. Was that a surprise to you?

Chloe: This is where times have changed! Couples don’t want a three-course sit-down meal anymore. They want a pizza food truck, a dessert food truck and maybe another cuisine, so their guests can get exactly what they want at a much lower cost. We offer a buffet-style service and at the end we pack up all the leftover food and give it to the bride and groom, so they have a huge hangover feast the next day.

We were so nervous when we were booked for our first wedding but the feedback was unreal. They were all saying: ‘This is the best wedding food we’ve ever had!’ It’s so popular, a lot of guests try our food and book us on the spot for their weddings.

While we’re on the topic, you’d better tell me a bit more about the food. What should I order from Yassou?

James: Our flagship dish is the Hercules box. You get a Greek salad, chips with our special seasoning, pita bread, a tzatziki pot and your choice of chicken or lamb. Then you can add on things like haloumi skewers. Because we live in the land of crispy chicken, I also do a Greek fried chicken – lemon marinated crispy chicken tenders – which is very popular with the kids.

We pride ourselves on bringing the colour, the texture and the pops of flavour. We add our own seasonings and marinades. It’s still your classic lamb and chicken souvlaki on a pita bread with tzatziki and chips but with an added edginess to it.

We have a charcoal pit on board, so we have this lovely smoky flavour to our meat. I’ve got really good suppliers that I’ve worked with over my career that give us really fresh, quality products. We get our olives from Greece and fresh Lebanese cucumbers from Australian farms.

Yum! It really shows how much street food has evolved over the years, doesn’t it?

James: People used to think of food trucks as offering ice cream or a Dagwood dog but with all the big events happening around the country, the culture has grown. Now you’ve got vendors up on the Sunshine Coast doing proper woodfired Italian pizzas, stretching their dough on site. You’ve got Thai trucks wokking up amazing noodles, Mexican trucks wrapping burritos and Greek trucks cooking over charcoal. It’s gourmet quality food.

On the Sunshine Coast, local venues are pushing some really cool events, like kids rooms and animal farms, and making it fun for families to come out and enjoy different activities. That creates more opportunities for food trucks.

One year in, what’s next for Yassou?

Chloe: James and I have dreamt of having this food truck for so many years. We get butterflies because we can’t believe we’re in this position, doing what we’re passionate about in a community we love. We’re just going to keep serving our customers on the Sunshine Coast – because they’re the ones who got us to this point. We feel very, very lucky.

To find out where Yassou is cooking next, visit yassou.com.au or connect with them on Facebook or Instagram @yassou.greekstreetfood.

Caloundra City Realty

Article by Caloundra City Realty

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