The Love of Food - With Stephanie Alemanno
It’s always nice to meet someone who is truly passionate about something - and that is certainly the case this week. Stephanie Alemanno is a 26 year old student from Denmark who loves cooking - particularly the Italian food that she grew up with! Nordique had a chat with Stephanie to get some foodie inspiration!
Tell us a bit more about you! How did your love of food start?
“Well, I’m a creative, geeky archaeologist, who loves food and nature. I guess food has always been part of me in some way. Whether it was my childhood self who did creative stuff and just wandered around, or my older self who loves nature, it was always the food which was important. My favourite thing to do as a kid was pretending that I was in a survival situation in the forest. I would have to go gather different ingredients to make a feast in my fictional kitchen. Alongside with my creative skills, the food interest grew and once I was able to use a proper chefs knife, I was good to go!”
You participated in the Danish MasterChef competition, how did you do and how has this helped you in your food career?
“I participated in the Danish Masterchef in 2015 and once again for a Christmas special. Both times I made it to the semifinals You could say I got a 7th place out of 50! Since I participated, people started to request for my recipes. There by I wanted to share my knowledge in anyway possible.”
You run the creative web-platform Snilde.dk – tell us a bit more about this venture?
“In Danish ‘snilde’ means, to be creative or innovative at something. I thought this was the perfect name describing what I do. Because not only am I interested in food, I also love being creative and think outside the box.”
“Making your own booze is super fun and easy. This is my homemade wild amaretto with woodruff. Woodruff is a plant often found I forests and the smell and taste of it is like a mix between vanilla and almonds.”
What does food mean to you?
“I believe that food has power, the power of binding people together. Through food we can be comfortable and find our way home. When we eat together, people are bonding, strengthening relationships. I like to think of food as that power connecting us.”
Living in Denmark with so many good restaurants by your doorstep, what are your favourites?
“Living in Denmark and especially in Aarhus, the amount of great food opportunities is staggering. I love exploring flavours from all over the world, therefore I love to visit Aarhus Street Food. I always try new places and rarely do things twice, but I love to visit places with a great offer, serving a menu with wine for a descent price.”
What are your favourite Nordic dishes to cook?
“I love traditions, food traditions in particular. Therefor the best time of the year for me, cooking Nordic inspired dishes, is Christmas. This is The feast of the year, and I always want it to be special. I don’t think I have a specific dish that I love to cook, I just like the Nordic feel of it.”
You are studying archaeology, how does this effect you love of food?
“Since I started study Scandinavian archaeology at the university of Aarhus, I have grown a big interest in prehistoric food and taste. Therefor I like to rethink these flavours and use both domesticated and wild ingredients to make something delicious. And like the prehistoric people, the main thing that they did cook, was properly soups or stews, likewise I prefer this type of cooking with basic methods and great ingredients. I believe the power of culture lies within the history of food. Therefore, I think it is important to know what people ate before. Its not just about cooking or eating, its about how we influence the culture.”
Why do you think Nordic food have been in the spotlight so much around the world?
“I think the main reason for why the New Nordic cuisine has grown in popularity, is the caring and focus on the ingredients. Nordic chefs are very fond of great produce and by where their ingredients come from. Also people like to supplement with their own knowledge to give the ingredients and the food experience more personality (Which I like).”
Where do you get your inspiration from?
“I gather my inspiration from very different sources. When my inspiration is low, I like to go for a walk in nature to find something edible, and when I do so, I often get the feeling of something. When I stand face to face with a great ingredient I almost immediately get a vision in my head. I also like to use my stomach, what do I feel like eating today? Because when your body wants something you don’t need to think so hard, you just have to do it”
Any exciting upcoming plans? What are your future goals?
“Well my goals… I just want to be happy and make other people happy with what I can do and my way of doing it.”