Greek-Australian opal miner Ilias Katsapouikidis was working with his grandfather on detonating explosives in 2003, when he had a terrible, nearly fatal accident. All he remembers is seeing a white light, however, his grandfather who was present at the scene found him unconscious and quickly realized that a rock had hit the man on the head.
Katsapouikidis spoke with ABC news about his near-death experience and how that has changed his life. “I did see some type of light and my feeling was as if I was being pressed down with tons of weight on top of my body and asking questions in my mind like ‘Where am I? What’s happening?’ before I went unconscious again,” he said.
After going into a coma for a short period of time, the opal miner woke up in a hospital. He took up yoga classes in order to aid his healing process and after some time he returned to the mines.
However, he was a changed man and mining was not enough for him anymore. “I’d be whipping eggs at 11 o’clock at night. I was alive with energy when I was making sweets,” he told ABC.
Sometime later, he gave up his job and started managing the kitchen at a local roadhouse, along with a group of Greek women. “I hired them to do what they loved, not to make burgers and fries and wingdings,” he said.
The local community soon appreciated his Greek creations and especially his sweets were a great success.
Four years ago, Katsapouikidis moved to Byron Bay where he completed his yoga teacher training and started selling his desserts at the local market.
Since then, he has won 19 medals at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show for his sweet creations. The Greek-Australian was able to turn his passion into a booming business and he couldn’t be happier.