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24Isea&iISPRING-SUMMER 2011Taste notes with.Gino RazzanoDrawing on his Italian heritage, the chef aboard the 51.8m (169'9)Sai Ram serves up Mediterraneantreats to compliment the yacht'scruising itineraries charter cuisine[]

SPRING-SUMMER 2011I sea&iI25Thanks to 27 years' experience as a chef, not to mention his Italianheritage, Gino Razzano can offer guests something of a gourmettreat when chartering the 51.8m (169'9) Sai Ram. "Istarted studyingto be a chef in high school, after which I worked in hotels andrestaurantsbefore moving on to cruise ships," he explains. "It all provedto be an excellent training ground, ultimately enabling me to take on anyculinary challenge. Eight years ago I was looking for a new and unusualdirection in which to steer my career, so when I was offered the opportunityto work on board a superyacht, it gave me a chance to put my skills intopractice. The first superyacht I worked on was the 47m (154') Shanty,and one year later I joined Sai Ram."Italian flairRazzano hails from Naples in Italy so it is perhaps not surprising that hisspeciality is Mediterranean cuisine, which perfectly compliments Sai Ram'scruising grounds. However, his creative pride inspires him to experiment withall different styles and methods of cooking from around the world."I ama creative person, so I like to combine different traditions; however myultimate aim is always to honour the quality of all the products I use, so Iavoid redundant flavouring, instead allowing the natural flavours of the foodsto shine through."Meeting guests requirements is a varied and welcome challenge. Pre-charter forms allow Razzano to get a fair insight into his guests' preferencesbefore they arrive, but he sees the process of satisfying their every demandas a constant evolution, and likes to involve guests in day-to-day mealplanning - proposing recipes and dishes to compliment the specific regionin which they are cruising. Highly organised, he stocks up on all essentialand staple foods pre-charter, then makes regular stops ashore during thecruise to find the freshest local treats to highlight each dish. Having worked with countless chefs over nearly three decades, Razzanohas plenty of inspiration from which to draw, and combines this hands-onexperience with innovations he admires from Italian chef Gualtiero Marchesiand French legend Alain Ducasse. However, he admits: "My all-time favouritechef is my mother." Razzano confesses a passion for dining in Michelin-starred restaurants."It gives me the perfect opportunity to discover and study new techniques andflavours. I then take these ideas and experiment with them in my own kitchen,"he explains. The result of blending all these key influences is a signature styleunique to Razzano. Some of the speciality dishes that he serves on boardSai Ram include an octopus salad with celery and potato, and an aubergineand crab tower as starters, followed by a main of pappardelle with seabassand fennel seeds. To finish, a favourite dessert is his limoncello baba.nAUBERGINE AND CRAB TOWERserves 43 medium aubergines250g crab meat100g cherry tomatoes200g rocketOlive oilFresh lemon juiceA pinch of salt and pepperCelery or parsley to garnishPreparationSlice the aubergine and brown under the grill. Chopthe cherry tomatoes and rocket and mix with the crabmeat to form the salad mixture. Add the olive oil,lemon juice, salt and pepper to flavour according toyour taste. Building the TowerBegin with a few slices of grilled aubergine followedby one spoonful of the crab salad mixture and continuethis process four times to complete the aubergine andcrab tower. Garnish with a piece of celery or parsleyand a drizzle of olive oil around the tower.gourmetgossip