Hello, I am Panayiotis Galanis, Pany for short to my friends and family. Click to follow on ( Twitter )
I grew up with four sisters and of course, my mum and dad. As in most Greek families at that time, being male and having 4 sisters, I was not expected to do any housework or cooking in my younger years. Times change though and as I have grown older, I do not believe in this thinking. I have partially made it up to my sister’s since, by cooking them some lovely meals at some of our family gatherings.
When I was at an age when I began living on my own, I soon learnt how to do everything for myself. I was fortunate that one of the many professions my father had been in, was as a chef. So for example, when Sunday lunch was being prepared, my mum would cook the vegetables and roast potatoes and my father would cook the meats. They were both excellent at each! So I got to watch and learn from both of them, when they cooked different dishes, which came in handy years later.
From quite a young age, like most of us I should think, I acquired the bug for fine dining as I always enjoyed trying different foods. As much as I enjoy eating from the Greek cuisine, I also enjoy Italian, Chinese, Lebanese and Spanish cuisines. I am more for food with herbs, rather than hot spice.
As I grew older and especially during the years while I was still married, (yes, like a lot of people these days I am divorced), I wanted to try my hand at cooking some of those fine dishes that I liked so much in the restaurants.
To my surprise, after a couple of goes, I was quite successful in recreating them, some I would say even better than the dish at some of the restaurants. Now this is probably due to the fact that I was able to add more of the ingredients that I like and hence adjust a dish, more to my liking. For example with a dish like “Veal a la Crème”, I would add a little more of the herbs which I enjoy and the type of white wine that I like and I would use low-fat cream. So still the same dish, but slightly adjusted. The more you experiment like this, the more you hone in on the type of adjustments which will suit your own tastes.
From then on, I’ve never been one for sticking to a recipe exactly as it’s written or suppose to be. I always like experimenting and varying slightly, towards my own tastes and encourage others to do the same, at least sometimes.
My professions have been Acting, Travel & Tourism, Bookmaking, Pub & Club promotions & management, Advertising Sales in Local Media, Personal Banking and Acting again, in that order. I would say I am a salesman at heart. But the kind of sales that means you gain customers with great communication and fantastic service, not the pushy type of sales. This way, you make sure you keep the customer for life, even as a friend. I have run my own businesses twice in the past and I am currently a Self-employed Actor.
I have always been good with figures and I like Mathematics, so I had never thought of myself as someone who would be able to write or Blog. It was not until the time I spent working in Local Media Advertising Sales that I discovered that I could write. As a Field Sales Executive, in order to reach and surpass my Sales Targets, I came up with the idea of creating a supplement, to insert in the middle of our group’s newspapers. This would be over and above my normal duties and work, which would cater more for the Greek Cypriot Businesses that were numerous in North London, but none were advertising with the group at that time. The idea was to gain additional new revenue.
I called this supplement “It’s All Greek to Me” (Surprise, not). But in order for this to happen, I would have to massively help the editorial team, as well as take care of all the advertising sales. I had to plan the articles, source all the information for them and after a little coaching from the assistant editor, I even tried my hand at writing some restaurant reviews and also an interview or two. I found that by applying myself to these new challenges, in order to reach my ulterior goal, of higher revenue, I was quite successful. I think having enjoyed visiting restaurants for years and my own interest in cooking some of the dishes which I liked, certainly helped in writing the restaurant reviews.
The supplements were a huge financial success, so my employers were extremely happy with me and I smashed a 100 year old Sales Record for revenue gained by a single sales executive, in a given week. My biggest supplement, 20 pages, even won a Best-Supplement of The Year Award from the Independent On Sunday Newspaper. As I had negotiated Sponsorship form “The Cyprus High Commission Trade Centre” and “The Cyprus Potato Board” for this particular supplement, the prize was discussed and the supplement shown around the Cypriot Parliament of the time.
I went on to create a further, again successful supplement, this time naming it “A Taste Of Cyprus”. I did enjoy my time in Local Media immensely!
After a few years I retrained as a Personal Banker, passing my General Insurance exams at first go for Barclays Bank Plc. I remember from the beginning, while training, my trainers began referring to me as “Mr Barclays”, as I treat people, as they aspired for all their staff to treat their customers. Alas, I only spent a year there, as the big financial crisis hit in 2008, it was a case of Last In, First Out, when they had to slim down their workforce.
In 2009 I heard an advertisement from a casting agency, on London Greek Radio, for olive skinned people required for a film that was being made called “Clash Of The Titans”. My daughter, Georgina was with me at that moment and began to encourage me to apply, as she had heard of my Acting escapades in my early years. So after a little coaxing, I decided to go for it. I went to the casing, along with around 400 other people, but eventually I heard that I was not one of the people picked to work on that particular film. However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining. The agency informed me that they would like me to join their “Book”, so I did just that.
It’s been mostly background work, but on some major feature-films and documentaries as well as TV series such as Eastenders, twice. I have been on some fantastic sets and met a lot of interesting people, as well as some very famous Actors and Directors, including Steven Spielberg, while on his set for his film “War Horse”. It was quite magical watching him work. Believe me, he earns his fame and success as a director and he is a very nice person too. The sets I enjoyed most thus far though, were for the documentary series “ Mafia’s Greatest Hits” by Yesterday Channel. This was more than background and I was even taught firearms safety by an expert for this. This 13 part series has been shown in many countries around the world; I am in 5 of them, but appear the most in part 3, about Joe Colombo. For feature films, the Fast & Furious 6 set, was big Fun over a 2 day shoot.
It was not until May 2014, that my daughter suggested to me, that since I had lot’s of time in between filming jobs and sets, that I should start a website and begin writing articles on subjects that interest me. So, I rose to her challenge and here we are. It made sense for me to try to write food related articles, taking into consideration my longstanding interest in Restaurants and my own cooking escapades. My daughter loves my cooking, so I do have one fan (Lol). Georgina especially likes my sherry-soaked herbed Souvlaki (barbecue) and my slow-cooked leg of lamb, finished off while browning with drizzled honey.
But finally, it was my love for my Birthplace, the Island of #Cyprus, that prompted me to take my Blogging more seriously, so it was, in December 2014, when cytasty come into existence! The aim is to lovingly promote this beautiful island, the food, the produce, it’s “Filoksenous” (Welcoming to strangers) people and the absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking places to visit there.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.