- 38m | Sanlorenzo | 2012
Chef Angelos Christodoulou is the perfect example of the symphony that comes about when passion and creativity meet intellect and a relentless desire to be the best in one’s field.
After a brief career at sea as a skipper followed by a stint spent working in hotel kitchens, he combined those two interests at the highest levels.
He now boasts fifteen years’ as a chef on board large superyachts, as well as a published book and at least one award under his belt. And to top it off, he’s a proud dad, too.
Adamant about using only the freshest, best ingredients that the Mediterranean has to offer, Chef Angelos talks us through the types of dishes you can expect during a charter on Souraya, and why you’ll be dreaming of his delectable dishes for months to come.
Tell us a little about your background
I have 15 years of experience in the culinary field as sole chef in large motor yachts. I started working at sea as a skipper on sailing boats 23 years ago. In 2001, I decided to study culinary art in order to be more actively involved in the tourism industry in Greece. My passion for cooking is demonstrated by my First Prize in the “A Platinum Category” of the Chef Competition, at the Mediterranean Yacht Show in Nafplion, Greece (May 2015), and my book, “A Taste of Heaven” (2014), a personal collection of recipes specially prepared for my clients.
I have always aimed at customising my dishes to my clients’ needs and palates. My golden rule is high quality, fresh ingredients to create dishes of different styles and cuisines. Whether international, nouvelle cuisine, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or customised to dietician’s instructions, ethnic/regional, fusion as well as kosher and halal.
What motivated you to become a chef and where did you train?
I have always enjoyed good food and I have excellent childhood food memories. In my early thirties, I decided that the time had come to express them creatively. I trained at the AICA culinary school in Athens for two years.
Who are your chef heroes – who has influenced your style of cooking?
I like Yotam Ottolenghi’s masterful mix of comfort and gourmet Mediterranean cuisine. It is the perfect balance between the simplicity of Mediterranean ingredients and the pleasure of multi-level taste that I also aim for with my style of cooking in order to offer guests an unforgettable culinary memory.
How did you come to work as a super yacht chef?
I love the sea and, as a skipper, I had a solid background in the tourism industry. I had also worked as a sous chef in hotels, so the next logical step was to combine my love for the sea with my passion for cooking.
What is your favourite type of cuisine?
Being Greek, I was raised with traditional Mediterranean dishes, and the memory of those are dominant in my cooking. My personal touch is a more contemporary take on the smell, taste and texture of the traditional recipes as well as the creation of new ones.
What are your specialities and what’s your signature dish?
I specialise in fresh seafood. I would say that my signature dish is white grouper with fennel bulb in crustacean soup.
How would you describe your culinary style?
Original, real, handmade food based on pure ingredients of the best quality.
Where do you get your inspiration and ideas for menus?
A lot of reading and studying, attending seminars and coming into contact with people from all around the world and with their culture has boosted my creativity and inspired my menus.
What’s the secret to cooking high-quality food on board compared to ashore?
As a chef on board, you have to adapt to the preferences or the dietary regime of each guest. There is no set menu, and let’s not forget that every dish is prepared from the first step to the last detail of plating on board. This requires a high level of adaptability, flexibility, inventiveness and creativity.
Do you prefer to use local ingredients when on charter?
I always prefer local ingredients of the best quality as I want to offer guests a holistic experience of the place they are visiting. Local ingredients are also a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly option.
What are some of your favourite destinations in terms of local produce?
I would definitely say the island of Crete and the area of Peloponnese in Greece because of their “idiosyncratic” produce. Crete is famous for its wild greens, organic dairy products and free-range meat, while the olive oil from the Peloponnese ranks among the best in the world.
What’s the most unusual ingredient you’ve come across on your travels?
Well, I could cook with practically anything. Especially in the Mediterranean, there is nothing that cannot be cooked!
How do you manage special dietary requirements - are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free now standard requests?
Yes, a variety of special dietary requirements are standard requests nowadays. I rely on my special suppliers, my recipes and my menus to satisfy the guests’ needs and preferences.
How do you cater for young children?
I am the father of a five-year-old daughter, so I do the same as at home. I focus on healthy ingredients and real food when creating playful, colourful and attractive dishes for children.
Which Greek spread do you use the most?
I would suggest a spread based on yoghurt, a refreshing ingredient that is always present in Mediterranean cuisine, combined with aromatic herbs. It is the perfect match for most meat or vegetable dishes.
What’s your dream menu – your personal favourite?
To start with, I would serve sea bream carpaccio marinated in lime and verbena and fresh ravioli with shrimp in fresh tomato sauce. I would continue with dentex a la Spetsiota and finish with peches melba topped with forest fruit.
As well as creating beautiful dishes, do you have any influence with table decoration?
I always consult with the chief steward to arrange the table setting in accordance with the menu to be served. Table decoration definitely enhances the dining experience.
Who chooses which wines to stock on board?
We do not stock a wide variety of wines on board. We prefer to customise in accordance with the menu and the personal preferences of our guests.
What do you most enjoy about working as a super yacht chef?
By personal conviction, I never stop pushing for better results and I also don’t like excuses. That’s why I never stop trying for the best. For me, offering our guests a holistic culinary experience is a must and also a pleasure at the same time.
What have been some of the highlights and best moments while working on board Souraya?
One of the best compliments I have ever received was by a guest from Cyprus who compared the baklava dessert he enjoyed on board to the one his grandmother used to make for him as a child. Some time ago, upon leaving, a second year repeat Brazilian client asked me to prepare several “take away” dishes for his way home on his Learjet.
Cauliflower cream soup with sea urchin and fennel oil
Fresh fish tartare marinated with lime juice, chili pepper, horse radish sauce with a flavour of 'Avgotaraho' on marinated avocado and microgreens
Baby gem with grilled asparagus, caramelised hazelnut, marinated quail eggs and mango sorbet
White grouper with fennel bulb in crustacean soup
Forest fruit biscuit with patisserie cream and raspberry coulis