Family recipe favourites, with a rustic touch, from Angelo Georgalli.
Arestaurateur and chef for 25 years, Wanaka resident Angelo Georgalli leapt at the chance to star in his own TV show when a producer approached him a few years ago. Given his love of bow hunting and fly fishing, a “catch and cook show” set in the South Island was an irresistible proposition.
There was just one snag. Georgalli couldn’t source a suitable kitchen locally – “ideally one with views” – in which to shoot. Then it hit him: why not take the kitchen outside?
“I said, ‘Let’s just drive somewhere remote and I’ll cook on my barbecue.’ And it turned out to be brilliant!”
Since The Game Chef went to air here on TV One in 2015, it’s been shown in 90 other countries. An eponymous cookbook swiftly followed. And while seafood is the star of his new show, Angelo’s Outdoor Kitchen, due to screen later this year, the focus of his latest cookbook is firmly on whanau.
Angelo’s Wild Kitchen: Favourite Family Recipes is “how I cook normally, at home”, says Georgalli, who, with his wife Stephanie, has three hungry mouths to feed: Luca, 14, Oscar, 12, and Lucia, 10. His “healthy, real, unprocessed” food spans all meals and multiple ethnicities, including Georgalli’s own heritage. (His father is a Greek Cypriot; his mother, Italian.)
“I’ve got no boundaries when it comes to food; I love trying new things and experimenting. I enjoy my heritage and always try to put a twist on it.”
The 46-year- old also wanted to include gluten-free and reducedsugar recipes to reflect his own change of diet, which saw him shed 22kg over nine months last year. He credits the weight loss for making him “more active” and having fewer “aches and pains” while traversing the terrain during outdoor pursuits. (He’s recently taken up horseriding and bought a Mongolian horsebow to try out.)
He’s rapt to be living the lifestyle his father wanted for his four boys when they moved from Glasgow, where Georgalli was born, to a farm on Cyprus. The dream was cut short when the Turks invaded in 1974; their land lost, the family headed back to the UK.
Dyslexic and disenchanted with school, Georgalli left at 14 to work in his uncle’s Greek delicatessen in London. In his early 20s, he became the ultimate OE souvenir when Stephanie took him home to Auckland. He worked at a number of established restaurants, and then had a crack at establishing his own. In 2007, the family spent a year in Tuscany in a 16th- century house among olive groves (“it redirected my life; all I did was archery and cooking”). On returning home, they sold up and took on “a rundown farm” in Matakana, north of Auckland. When Georgalli bought a new digger, he had to ask the deliverer to park it in the barn for him, because he’d never driven one before. But by 2013, “it was time for a new challenge”.
A friend suggested Wanaka. Within weeks of their first visit, they moved south, and the couple now run a luxury accommodation business, Cardrona Valley Lodge.
“I can just pop outside my back door, which backs onto 2500 acres of mountain paddocks,” he says. “I’m outside most of the time. I’d rather be outside than in.” STACEY ANYAN