It is only in a few weeks’ time that Maison Del Gusto launch their innovative ‘Experiencing Excellence’ program in Norway, inviting their cherished superyacht chef clientele to join them in celebrating and discovering the true essence behind some of their exclusive food suppliers in the region. The purpose of the trip is not only to gain a deeper understanding of products such as ‘Bottarga Boreale‘ and their origins but also to explore shared beliefs and exchange ideas and experiences related to food.
During the trip, Maison Del Gusto invite the group of chefs to witness demonstrations from local revered chefs, meet local suppliers, cook together exploring traditions and flavours and perhaps even catch a glimpse of Norway’s famed Northern Lights.
Maison Del Gusto founder Elisabetta Ierardi speaks about the importance of MDG’s relationship with their chef clientele, and the importance of creating bonding experiences such as this trip:
“Our chefs show great appreciation for the work and efforts put in by our team for them, and they show it through their dedication to grow together. They are active in providing constructive feedback, collaborating on research projects, and demonstrating a genuine curiosity about the products, demonstrating high value of our job which will provide a significant advantage to them (its a very balanced relationship). They fully recognise the tremendous work involved in sourcing, selecting, and delivering the best ingredients and are thankful for it. It is truly remarkable to see such a positive and appreciative mindset in a chef.”
Ierardi also recognises the myriad responsibilities of superyacht chefs, and seeks to honour this:
“The chef’s responsibility also includes being a nutrition expert, as guests look for a cook who understands the importance of healthy eating. The chef’s goal is to strike a balance between taste and wellness, offering meals that are both flavourful and good for the body. The chef’s skill is essential in meeting the guest’s expectations for delicious food that adheres to a healthy diet. At MDG, we recognise the significance of this role and work together to continuously research and source wholesome ingredients.”
Here is the list of superyacht chefs attending the trip, their culinary preferences and backgrounds, the reason behind their choice to work with Maison Del Gusto and what they expect from this exciting journey to Norway.
Chef Francesco Piazzi of M/Y Crystal Lady
“Working with Maison Del Gusto was immediately incredible. With each product, there is obsessive research and a very high level of quality”
Starting his career in restaurants and hotels located between Italy and Montecarlo, Chef Francesco Piazzi soon made his way onto superyachts, an industry he was always fascinated by: “[From the moment I accepted a job offer on a yacht] a new world full of discoveries and satisfactions opened up!”.
Piazzi describes his cooking style as ‘varied’ combining all of the cooking techniques learnt during his expansive experiences and studies, he likes to create a range of dishes from traditional to modern.
“When I think of food I don’t just think of eating but also of the pleasure we can experience and even better if in company. Many of my culinary preparations are influenced by my memory because they are prepared with heart”.
Piazzi says of his relationship with Maison Del Gusto: “Working with Maison Del Gusto was immediately incredible. With each product there is obsessive research and a very high level of quality, this allows us chefs to compose complex dishes with a certainty of the product we are using and to satisfy the customer not only with taste but also with the other senses”.
Chef Misha Mihhal of M/Y 11.11
“Maison Del Gusto has made my life on board much easier, I love working with Eli and her team since. I am very much looking forward to being part of this program to hopefully learn and possibly contribute something back to benefit the growth of the MDG and yacht chef community in general”
Misha Mihhal was born in Ukraine, growing up between there and Estonia, where he learnt how to grow fresh produce with his grandfather in their family garden. Years later his family immigrated to Canada, and he found himself in a German Masterchef’s kitchen, where he learnt all of the basics and developed a strong appreciation for french cooking. After years of travelling and working with some of the most respected chefs in Toronto, Mihhal located himself in Australia where he decided to join the yachting industry.
Mihhal states that: “I am deeply humbled to be invited to join MDG for this food trip, as well as very excited to learn about some new ingredients, connect with like minded Chefs and hopefully cook some food together”
On his relationship with Maison Del Gusto: “I first came across MDG when I was sourcing ‘fresh as’ freezed dried products and quickly realised that they had a great arsenal of pantry ingredients that I like to use and had a strong focus on great Aussie and American meats, along with many other amazing products”
Chef Jonathon Macdonald of M/Y Sea Pearl
“It is an honour for me to take part in the first MDG traditional food program. To return to Norway, a country I love, and which I have ancestral connection to, I feel lucky to take part in this program.”
Chef Johnathon Macdonald started his career at the age of 15, working in a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in London. Following that he moved to Australia, progressing his career in places such as Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Over the years he has worked in Fine Dining Restaurants, Hotels, Villas, Private Estates and Onboard Superyachts. Starting from the bottom to the top, he became Head Chef in a number of successful restaurants in London and Australia, and completed ‘Stagiaires’ at places such as The Fat Duck, The Ledbury and Noma.
Macdonald states that: “Over the years I have developed my skills in some of the best kitchens in the world. I began my career training in classical French, and have since become experienced in Japanese, Thai, Italian, Arabic, Nordic, Spanish, Indian and Modernist Styles of cuisine. I am very passionate about my chosen career and confident in my training to be able to cook and execute varied cuisines.”
He added: “It is an honour for me to take part in the first MDG Experiencing Excellence program. To return to Norway, a country I love, and which I have ancestral connection to, I feel lucky to take part in this program and to work with other like minded individuals, chefs, suppliers and more. I look forward to exploring the abundant resources Norway has to offer, and to again work with products I love and remember well”
Chef Bronwen Jones of M/Y Silver Wind
“MDG is something inspiring, seeing Eli and Graziano with so much passion! A passion for people, passion for food and a passion for discovering and supplying the best produce. I think something like this event is so important, for us as chefs to understand where everything comes from and the time put in behind it.”
Chef Bronwen Jones’ career started at 17, purely by chance. Achieving high marks at school, her parents had plans of degrees and universities for her: “At the time, honestly, I thought ‘every good wife needs to know how to cook, why not one year at chef school and then to university’…and then I just fell in love with cooking”. The gap year learning to cook turned into three years classic Cordon Bleu training.
Yachting came about for Jones in 2012, after working in South African restaurants, she dreamt of Michelin Star work experience. She worked onboard a charter yacht in 2012 with the view of saving up to afford a year off as Stagiaire in 2 and 3 star Michelin establishments around London and Holland. Due to work permit restrictions, Jones returned to yachting in 2014 and she has worked on motor yachts and charter vessels since then.
On the importance of good produce: “When the produce is so good, it makes our lives that much easier as a chef, when it’s just GOOD without hundreds of processes and manipulations. I guess maybe I have become more of a simple honest cook.”
Jones added: “Food means everything to me! I plan my days off and my holiday destinations around food. My life really revolves around meal times, a bit like crew members on charter!”
On the trip with MDG: “I am excited to be involved in the first MDG Experiencing Excellence Program, it will be my first time in Norway. There is so much I still need to and want to learn! Especially working as a sole chef for many years, I love interaction with like minded others. It is a privileged position we are in as yacht chefs to be exposed to so much, being able to cook and experiment and to grow in understanding.”
Chef Tony Nolan of M/Y Unknown
“Being a part of the Experiencing Excellence program will be very enlightening. It’s always interesting to hear about the produce I cook with and the story behind it.”
Starting his career as a chef in Australia in 2004, Chef Tony Nolan spent the consequent years travelling around Australia and Europe, working in various restaurants and hotels. Nolan was attracted to the yachting industry due to his love of being at sea and cooking good food: “Having the ability to cook high-end food as well as spending my days at sea is what initially attracted me to work on yachts”.
On his style of cooking: “I like to cook light fresh food, without too much fuss. I’m by no means a ‘fine dining chef’, I prefer big refreshing flavours over exotic looking plates. I would say that my cooking style is very international and constantly changing. I don’t really plan more than a day ahead (with most things). I generally take inspiration from the food markets and products themselves.”
On why he loves working with Maison Del Gusto Produce: “I’ve been buying produce from Maison Del Gusto since I first started yachting in 2018 and have always been very excited to see what new products they have each season. So being a part of the Experiencing Excellence Program will be very enlightening I’m sure. It’s always interesting to hear about the produce I cook with and the story behind it.”
The Experiencing Excellence program is set to be a yearly event for MDG, with many exciting prospects of what is to follow in coming years!
To Read More About Maison Del Gusto, And To Delve Into Their World Of Exclusive Produce, You Can Find Them Here: