Sprout Food Group vs. Public BBQ

January 17, 2024

Words: Lara Pacillo

Pictures: Nicholas Grange

Sprout Food Group founders Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis give us a taste of their latest restaurant, Olive, and show us how cooking is a source of empowerment.

Callum Hann and Themis Chryssidis didn’t plan on pursuing careers in the culinary world.

In their earlier days, Callum studied sports engineering and Themis studied psychology. Yet, 12 years after meeting, the duo have opened their third restaurant together, marking the seventh business under their growing Sprout Food Group business.

On a public barbecue in Kadlitpina/Rundle Park at the end of Rundle Street, Callum and Themis cook up three dishes served at Olive – the Pirie Street Mediterranean restaurant opened just over a week after we met.


Olive opened on November 3, and is located at 4/86 Pirie Street, Adelaide.
CityMag sat down with the duo again, to discuss all things Olive here.

On the menu is a rockmelon, tomato, pancetta and mozzarella salad; grilled baby octopus with green chilli oil and garlic yoghurt; and fried feta which Callum explains is “all the glory of fried halloumi but doesn’t go squeaky”.

The lineup is predominantly based on produce currently in season, which is a core factor that ties all the branches of Sprout Food Group together, including CBD restaurant Eleven, Lou’s Place restaurant in the Barossa, and Sprout’s cooking school, health studio, catering service and training organisations.

“In all the businesses, I’d say that we’re driven by the vegetable or the fruit first,” Callum explains.

“It’s ‘what’s in season right now? Okay, beautiful, tomatoes are coming in.’ If we’d done this in another month’s time, we probably would have done a stone fruit version.”

Containers of vibrant accompaniments prepared the night before include herby green salsa, purple pickled grapes, orange sriracha glaze, and creamy yoghurt. They squeeze neatly alongside fresh citrus and heirlooms on the too-small table.

Callum and Themis’s black gloves move between the grill and the cutting board – frying, stirring, and chopping the mix of colours bursting with freshness. This is what Mediterranean food looks like to them.

“It’s a fusion of flavours – some classics done the way Nonna wouldn’t expect,” Themis says.

“When some people think Mediterranean, they think Greek or Italian. When I think Mediterranean, I think Portugal, France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Middle East, everything.

“So for us, it’s from Morocco to the Middle East, basically.”

Callum and Themis have each taken charge of their respective dishes; Callum works on the octopus while Themis handles the salad. They both circle the table gracefully, whirling around each other throughout the process. After over a decade in business together,their kitchen movements are like a choreographed dance routine.

Sprout first began as a cooking school in 2011, combining Themis’ background in dietetics with Callum’s cooking skills. It’s motto, “good health starts in the kitchen”, mirrors the sense of empowerment they hope to foster.

“I think we underestimate the importance that culture has on our diet and our health,” Themis says. “Sprout is not telling people what to eat, or telling people what not to eat, but it’s just about inspiring people to eat well and just enjoy good food, good fun, seasonality – that kind of stuff.”

The pair’s aim is to make the act of cooking just as exciting as the experience of eating and in doing so, motivate more people to get in the kitchen.

“Cooking is that reason to get together with your housemate or partner or friends,” Callum says.

Themis adds, “that’s what Olive’s all about effectively. Its slogan is, ‘friends, family, food and fun.’ So bringing that all together.”

Each plate is kissed with a final drizzle of garnish, piecing together the jigsaw of flavours gorgeously.

“Food needs to be appealing on the eye as well,” Themis emphasises while adding one last squeeze of lemon. “It should taste and look as beautiful as possible.”

The flavours are as bold as the colours, and where each dish has balanced sweet, salty and sour. Texture is a significant aspect in Callum and Themis’ cooking too, where the crunch and chew factor makes itself known across the spread.

“I’d say flavour makes you enjoy the first bite, texture makes you enjoy the last bite,” Callum explains.

“Texture makes it interesting. You don’t want every mouthful to be the same. The salad’s a good example of that. You can eat ten bites of that and each one is going to be a little bit different.”

While the dishes at first glance might seem intimidating, when broken down, they’re really rather simple. Callum and Themis’ words of advice are to avoid rigidity and to taste as you go.

“You saw how quick these three dishes came together,” Themis explains – the cook time clocked in under 30 minutes.

“We’re always trying to encourage people to keep it simple. Just because a dish is really complicated, doesn’t mean it’s any better.

“You’re actually going to like cooking more, because you’re making less dishes, it takes less time, and you can enjoy the act along the way.”

It’s more about the journey than the destination for Callum and Themis, and it’s this mentality that is building a culinary empire.

Download this edition of Chef vs. Public BBQ as a collectable recipe card here.



80g pancetta
—1/4 rockmelon
—2 hierloom tomatoes
—1/2 bunch basil
—1 buffalo mozzarella

For the pickled grapes
1 cup red grapes, halved
—1 cup apple cider vinegar
—1/2 cup water
—1/2 cup sugar
—2 bay leaves

For the salsa verde
1 bunch parsley
—1/2 bunch basil
—1/4 cup capers
—1/4 cup cornichons
—1 clove garlic, grated
—zest and juice of a lemon
—1/3 cup olive oil

1. To make the pickled grapes, place the grapes in a bowl or container. Heat the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan until boiling, then pour over grapes and set aside.

2. To make the salsa verde, chop or blend all ingredients except olive oil together. Stir in olive oil.

3. Heat a BBQ or frying pan over medium heat and add pancetta. Cook for one to two minutes or
until crisp.

4. Place rockmelon, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella and pancetta onto a serving plate. Drizzle over salsa verde then serve.



100g greek style feta
—2 tablespoons plain flour
—1 tablespoon sesame seeds
—2 tablespoons olive oil
—1 tablespoon honey

1. Dust feta in flour and sesame seeds.

2. Heat a BBQ or frying pan over high heat. Add feta and cook for two to three minutes or until golden brown on both sides.

3. Transfer to a plate, then drizzle with honey to serve.



1/2 cup greek yoghurt
—1 clove garlic, grated
—pinch of salt
—2 tablespoons olive oil
—400g baby octopus
—lemon wedges or cheeks, to serve

For the green chilli oil
—1 long green chilli, finely sliced
—4 spring onions, finely sliced
—thumb sized piece ginger, grated
—1 bunch coriander, finely chopped
—1/4 teaspoon salt
—2 cloves garlic, grated
—1/2 cup rice bran oil
—juice of one lemon

For the octopus glaze
—60g butter
—2 tablespoons siracha sauce
—1 tablespoon fish sauce
—thumb sized piece ginger, grated


1. To make the green chilli oil, place chilli, spring onions, ginger, coriander, salt and garlic in a medium bowl. Bring rice bran oil to smoking point in a small saucepan, then very carefully pour hot oil onto the other ingredients. Stir through lemon juice when ready to eat.

2. Stir together all octopus glaze ingredients and set aside.

3. Stir together yoghurt, garlic and a pinch of salt.

4. Preheat a BBQ or frying pan over high heat. Toss octopus with olive oil then cook over high heat for two to three minutes or until golden brown and just cooked through.

5. Remove from heat, toss with octopus glaze, then serve on yoghurt drizzled with green chilli oil.



This article was first published in print Issue 41 of CityMag, released in November 2023.

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