Chef Gianluca Donzelli : More Than Five Things About Sydney

Rebecca Varidel
14th Jan 2015

When asked to write this article I was told to write with my heart and list five things that I like about Sydney. If I have to write with my heart I can't reduce the city that I love into just five points.

My name his Gianluca Donzelli. Born in Napoli Italy and moved to Sydney in 2007. I started surfing when I was 11 years old and since then I have always dreamed about living close to the ocean.

I don't know why but from the first moment when I landed in Australia, I felt at home. When I first saw Bondi Beach I loved it because it reminded me of one of my surfing spots at home, Serapo. The shape of the bay and the right wave that breaks near Icebergs is so similar to the wave that brakes in Serapo on a big day.

From that moment, I decided to make my new home in Bondi. I live in Curlewis St and I feel like it's the perfect spot. I love to cruise down in the morning and stop at Lock and Stock Café to and have a nice brekkie and a chat with the chef Neil. Or go past The Shop Café, another one of my favourite places.

Further down the road I always stop off at the fruit shop for a juice and then wander down to the beach. The local community knows me in the water and I always meet my friends in the line up. I love Bondi because it's like being on holiday but it’s also so close to the city so it gives you so many options. It's very international and you can meet people from all over the world and share your experiences.

I love the colour of the sunrise, the smell of the flowers and the sounds of the birds in the early morning. I love having a BBQ with my friends on my balcony, playing some vinyl records and watching the sunset.

Although the sunset from the grass at North Bondi is hard to beat, so is a nighttime swim in Bronte pool. I love surfing in the winter as we are greeted by dolphins, penguins and whales.

I love to go out to experience the many different food cultures. Wandering through markets and trying new flavours, being inspired by my palate to build new recipes.

I like all of the different festivals and event nights. I like Tuesday at the Establishment for salsa and Wednesday night at Beach Road Hotel for live music. The crazy nights out around different bars in the city, Newtown and feeling at home in the chilled vibes of Bikini Bar in Bondi.

Another great thing about Sydney is that you can drive 2 hours down the south coast and experience some of the best surfing spots in the world. You can see amazing landscapes and be away from the busy city for a while. I feel like I take a trip into the wild, which calms me down from the stress of daily life, especially when you find a really good surf spot with your best friends.

I enjoy escaping north to the Hunter Valley for a night of food and wine and then the next day head to Port Stephens for a swim.

We are so lucky to live in this city. I love this land and I thank Australia for giving me the opportunity to live my dream.

Words by Gianluca Donzelli, Head Chef Pizzaperta The Star