Chef of the Week: Bettina Campolucci Bordi, Plant Based Chef at Bettina’s Kitchen
How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
The short answer is I don’t have a restaurant. I am a freelance plant based chef with a passion for sustainability. I have been working in the wellness industry for the last 10 years running and cooking on Retreats all over the world. My kitchen is anywhere I get to go!
I have written 3 cookbooks – Happy Vegan food, 7 Day vegan Challenge and my latest Celebrate. I develop recipes for magazines, brands, food and beverage outlets and Wellness Retreats. I now run a Retreat Chef Academy – where I teach people how to cook and run Retreats. Additionally I run a website called www.bettinaskitchen.com and an Instagram account called @bettinas_kitchen where I share recipes and ideas daily. Now that things have opened up I will be doing more festivals, pop ups and live events.
Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
I have had a lifelong passion for cooking. I grew up in East Africa – Tanzania where I was surrounded by amazing produce from a young age and also learnt the value of cooking from scratch. I was the other half of my pre teens growing up in Sweden where I had a green fingered grandmother who also happened to be an amazing cook. My other grandmother was from Bulgaria, so growing up I had access to many cultures, flavours and tastes that has inspired my cooking since. I grew up wanting to be a chef but chose to go down the Food and beverage front of house route for several years. That’s until I started running and cooking on my own Retreats and everything fell into place.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
In my case – the flexibility and being able to dabble in so many different flavours. My work is very varied being freelance. I am lucky I get to experience so many different aspects of the trade. I guess that’s the good thing about not being bound to one space, even though I dabble with the thoughts of possibly opening up a space. Lets see what happens!
Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Salt, olive oil and lemon.
Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
A good knife.
What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
The mushroom trend is fully blooming!
What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
I can only speak for myself – In my industry which is wellness and retreats – It’s being able to be flexible. Sometimes you turn up to venues that have none of the equipment or ingredients that you expected.
What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
Spring because it’s the beginning of many delicious things.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
My nut based cheeses and my books that are filled with many recipes!
How do you come up with new dishes?
I get inspired by produce and seasonality and keep the ingredients as the hero of my dishes. Also travel – when I used to do loads of it!
Who was your greatest influence?
My grandmothers and my auntie.
Tell us three chefs you admire.
Chris Leach, Raymond Blanc and Sabrina Ghayour currently.
What is your favourite cookbook?
Hard question – I am re-reading Noma at the moment.
Who do you think are the chefs to watch over the next few months?
Anna Williams is amazing.
What’s been your favourite new restaurant opening of the last year?
Fallow in London