Impress with: Giovanni Pilu
Sardinian-born chef Giovanni Pilu speaks proudly of 17 years of restauranting in Sydney. He has had great success, starting with Cala Luna at The Spit and now at one of the most beautiful venues in Australia, Pilu at Freshwater, on Sydney’s northern beaches. But more than that, he has personally educated Australians about the unique cuisine of Sardinia, and how it fits into the deliciously varied world of Italian food.
“When I first came here Sardinian food was very unknown to Sydneysiders,” says Giovanni. “So when I started my first restaurant and cooked Sardinian food it was quite challenging. People had never seen it before, so to get them to trust what we did wasn’t easy. But they really enjoyed it. Now, people are demanding it, so it has turned a bit.”
While there are major differences in food across the regions of Italy, the cuisine of Sardinia is perhaps the most distinct.
“It is very different from say Lombardy, Lazio or Tuscany, where things can be similar because they are all attached to one another,” says Giovanni. “Being an island that was invaded by so many different cultures throughout history has resulted in a crazy diversity of food and culture and created a cuisine that is very unique.”
At the heart of Sardinian food is seafood, game and pecorino (cheese). “If people say pecorino, they know it is from Sardinia. It is a big part of our menu at Pilu, to the point that our cheese plate is only made up of pecorino.”
Watch our interview with Giovanni Pilu below:
Check out the recipe for Giovanni's beautifully simple Pecorino broth with pumpkin & chestnuts as well as his delicious recipe for Malloreddus with chickpeas, vongole, chilli and parsley.