Chef’s corner: Pierluigi Sandonnini, chef of Galileo G
by Sophia Wilson
After starting his career in his native Italy, followed by a 13-year career in London, Galileo G is Pierluigi Sandonnini’s first experience of life at sea. However, a three-year stint on the 55.7 metre explorer yacht has seen him travel to all corners of the globe, including Greenland, Japan, the Philippines and New Zealand. He tells Sophia Wilson about international influences, where to find the freshest sea urchins and why you can’t beat a good risotto.
Being on board has widened my horizons. Especially being on a world travelling yacht because everything influences you as chef. For example, I was in Japan for three months, you really taste and live a different culture. I cook differently now to the way I was cooking before.
Japan is an amazing culture. I visited a fish market in Tokyo and it was something amazing, standing there eating sea urchin at 5am. New Zealand is also great for provisioning from an organic point of view, you realise how pure it is. Their cheeses, their meat and also their fish is very good
The yacht is right for adventurous people. We can handle big seas and we can go far and stay at sea. So, it suits sporty people that want to explore and I like cooking for these sorts of people.
I eat out a lot. When you live on a yacht the first thing you want to do is step out and professionally I love to go around. I am lucky having lived in London it gave me the chance to have friends all over the world. In Barcelona, for example, I have two friends with restaurants so the first thing I have done is go there. It’s always a good influence to eat out in a good restaurant.
I sometimes use more than 10kg of flour a week, when we have ten or 12 guests on board. If you are baking bread, focaccia and making fresh pasta you need a lot of flour.
My strangest request was in a restaurant rather than on board. A customer asked me for a carbonara but without pork, so I just did pasta with eggs. Then she asked me, “where is the seafood?”. In the end I made a carbonara with seafood instead of pork, it was pretty weird.
I feel risottos are one of my specialities and I really like to cook them. It feels like life to me.