Childhood & Early Life
Angelo Georgalli was born as Arcangelo Georgalli in Glasglow to a chef father and a homemaker mother. He had mixed heritage, his father being a Greek-Cypriot, while his mother an Italian by birth. He was the youngest of the three brothers and the most loved and pampered one.
Soon after his birth, the family moved to Cyprus. There, the Georgallis’ followed a Mediterranean lifestyle at a coastal farm. The blissful living however, was ruined with the Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus.
After living in the British army camp for about six months, Georgallis’ realized that they could never regain their possessions. They moved to Italy briefly before finally settling down in London.
With all assets gone and no money in hand, Gerogallis’ initially lived a life of meagre means in London. They stayed in a three-bedroom council house in Tottenham. However, despite the challenging times, his father, who believed in fresh produce, turned the big back garden into a farm. While in one section he bred animals, in the other, he grew vegetables. This laid the foundation for young Georgalli’s future life course. As a young boy, he spent a lot of time in the kitchen.
Angelo Georgalli is dyslexic and withdrew himself from school at the age of 14. Having imbibed the culinary skills from his parents, Georgalli started working for his cousin’s Greek delicatessen. The experience was life-changing as it gave Georgalli the necessary foundation for cooking good food. It augmented his basic knowledge about the different spices and herbs, grains, cheese.
At the age of 18, Georgalli moved to London where he worked as a busboy and waiter at the oldest restaurant of the city, Rules. While the Greek delicatessen helped him learn about ingredients, the restaurant in London showed how to infuse character into food.
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Life changed for Angelo Georgalli when he met his future wife, a New Zealander. Having spent some time in various parts of the world, the couple finally settled in Auckland where Georgalli opened his first cafe.
Georgalli’s inaugural cafe was a big hit with the New Zealanders and led him to open seven more outlets – cafes, delicatessen and restaurants across Auckland. The family temporarily moved to Italy for a year to live in a rambling 16th-century house in Tuscany, where Georgalli rekindled his childhood activity of growing and farming fresh produce for daily food.
Upon returning to Auckland, Georgalli realized that he wasn’t meant to be confined to the constraints of city life. Consequently, the family moved to the Wanaka region in New Zealand’s South Island. There, he took up work as a chef but later left it to start up his archery school, a sport he was passionate about.
Life turned around for a second time for Georgalli when he was offered a cooking television show. A television producer for whom he guest starred once, was impressed by his talent and wanted Georgalli to start his own show.
Not the one to follow routine, Georgalli pitched in his own style and offered the concept of foraging, hunting, fishing and cooking foods found in the wild. Finding it absolutely new and an untouched genre in cookery shows, the producer readily agreed thus forming the globally popular show, ‘The Game Chef’.
‘The Game Chef’ was a masterstroke idea that was possible because of Wanaka’s wild landscape. Through the show, Georgalli wanted viewers to get back to the basics of sourcing food locally and seasonally, using organic produce, and cooking it in a way that's nutritious, elegant, and delicious. To bring out the natural flavours, he used timber instead of gas.
‘The Game Chef’ aired on New Zealand’s TV One. The show was divided into two parts. While the first one showcased Georgalli with a bow and an arrow, hunting in the wilderness, in the second part, he used his ‘prize’ to create simple, creative yet tasty dishes.
Mostly, the show featured recipes for fish, pork, venison, lamb and rabbit, as well as salads, sauces, dressing, soups, stews and accompaniments. Most of the times, these easy-to-prepare dishes were shot in the beautiful Lake Wanaka region. ‘The Game Chef’ aimed at celebrating a balance with nature, and living off the land. It also taught viewers the importance of respecting the wildlife, vegetation, and waterways.
Angelo Georgalli’s unique concept of hunting and cooking took the world of cooking by storm. No sooner than the first season aired in New Zealand, it became a huge hit not just nationally but in internal arena as well. His show bagged screen time in the prestigious National Geographic channel. As per the deal, the show was telecast across 90 countries from November 2016.
After the tremendous success of ‘The Game Chef’, Georgalli is currently working on for series two of the show – ‘Angelo’s Wild Kitchen’. Meanwhile, he has also penned his own cookbook which shares the same name as his show, ‘The Game Chef’. Being a dyslexic, it was Wanaka writer Carla Munro, who helped him with the book. ‘The Game Chef’ was published by Auckland's Beatnik Publishing. Soon after its release, it was shortlisted in the 2016 PANZ Book Design Awards.
Georgalli’s latest project includes renovating and redecorating Cardrona Valley Lodge. He is now taking in guests, and focussing his energies on expanding his catering and hunting business.