The smell of marinated lamb roasting on the BBQ has become ubiquitous at O’Connor Enclosed on Canberra Olympic home matchdays. Between 15-25kg of tender meat will be available, and consumed, by the voracious footballing public over the course of a home fixture, and this is where Peter Apostolopoulos comes in.
Peter can be found at O’Connor from 8am on matchday, helping to set up the field and fire up the BBQ for the lamb, amongst other culinary delights, to be prepared for players, officials, and supporters. But, getting the lamb ready is a task that happens up to two days prior to that.
“We get our lamb donated by Canons Googong,” Apostolopoulos revealed. “I then cut it and marinate it in oil, oregano, and pepper, with added secret ingredients to give it that extra taste. It’s then cryovaced (vacuum packed) and refrigerated for transportation to the venue. The boys like to call me the glorified canteen lady. I’m the Director of Hospitality and Events at Canberra Olympic as well as working alongside the general manager of the club.”
Apostolopoulos has been involved at the club for several years now and feels the return of the lamb roast to the Olympic menu harks back to the days of yore when the club used to regularly provide the treat to its fans.
“Back in the day when I used to watch and not as much volunteer, I remember going to O’Connor and seeing Greek lamb shoulder on the spit and for a few years there it disappeared,” he revealed. “I thought that had lost touch with what made Olympic so great in terms of our hospitality and what brought people to O’Connor and what made people want to stay at O’Connor.
“So last year I had a meeting with the rest of the committee, and I put it towards them that I think it would be a really good idea for us to bring it back, because what is O’Connor known? for, lamb gyros. Although we’re not doing the original lamb gyros we’re used to, who can say no to roast lamb in a bun with tzatziki?
“If you’re talking about game day foods, you’re talking about meat pies, hot dogs, chips but when I went and watched Sydney Olympic play this is all they served. It’s very nostalgic for me and the best thing about Canberra Olympic for me is the fact that we can go back to our roots and say, well what made us great, and it was the idea of bringing everyone together and having that sense of community there.
“I feel like Canberra Olympic have one of the better communities here in terms of pitching in. A lot of volunteers, a lot of parents backing us. Our roster at the canteen is predominantly parents. It’s me, Nick Papanicolaou, Leo Exarhos, Paul Exarhos, and parents that really run the show on game day and home games. So, it’s nice to just bring something back and this is very rewarding.”
Apostolopoulos isn’t just a dab hand with the lamb either, being known for his other roles as a Leasing Agent in the Rental Market for Real Estate Goliath, Ray White, as well as his dalliance as a DJ under the name ‘DJ Prodi-G’. The latter of these occupations runs in the family.
“My DJ name is DJ Prodi-G because my Dad was a DJ back in the 80’s and 90’s here in Canberra. He DJ’ed at all the top clubs in Canberra, even in Sydney. He did a lot of work in the Kings Cross before it became famous, and he loved it. He DJ’ed overseas for a little bit with some really high end DJs that people know today like Carl Cox and Nick Skitz and some really high end people.
“I’ve always had a love relationship with music. Purely because It’s kind of like football, you either love it or hate it. For me I love music, there is not a day where I don’t think about what my next mash-up is going to be, what my next mix is going to be, what it’s going to consist of, how fast will I go and all that kind of stuff.
“To be honest the reason why its Prodi-G is because I’m a prodigy of my father and that was massive for me. I had tried so many different names like DJ Aposti, DJ Pete and then it just came to me. I’m a prodigy of my father, I’m going to just call myself Prodi-G. So, I started really getting into it when I was 17 and then the rest is history, 10 years of it!”
The nerves still hit DJ Prodi-G when he lines up a new set each time he’s set to play, but it’s the occasion that often makes him get the butterflies, much like playing in a big match would do the same to those players he watches each and every week.
“There’s been times where I’ve DJ’ed for a guy named Marlo. When he came to Canberra I DJ’ed after him and it’s honestly the most nervous I’ve ever been in a set because he was watching and obviously if you have to follow up an international artist you going to be extremely nervous!” Apostolopoulos admitted.
“The nerves come more in the nightclubs, less the private gigs like parties, purely because I have a relationship with them beforehand. Especially because I’ve got the Greek community down when it comes to DJing, so when it comes to parties like that coming up, I don’t even get nervous anymore and I just rock up.”
So, what is it that makes Apostolopoulos so driven to help his club and to be involved in such time consuming tasks as helping out around a football club? Unsurprisingly, it’s the love of the game that pushes him on.
“Passion drives me,” he said. “I think if you love something you’ll do it and not even bat an eyelid about it. When I said to the committee that they didn’t have to come to Googong and to marinate the meat and all that kind of stuff they were kind of relieved but also glad I wanted to get more involved.
“This is now my second year on the committee but if you ask anyone else, they’ll say they’ve been on the committee for seven years so it’s nice to give back. I love Olympic but if I was at another club, I’d still do this. It doesn’t matter that it’s Olympic I’d still do it. It’s just the passion behind it and I love to cook.”