From journalism to vegan chef
I’m Giulia, italian based in Berlin where I moved in May 2011 after quitting my job as senior culture editor at newspaper “Corriere della Sera” in Trentino-Alto Adige. During my years in Trento, I started to become very interested in food and wine and my project was to open a wine bar in Berlin. But things went differently. Just one month after my arrival in Berlin, I was asked to write a book for the famous italian publisher “Ponte alle Grazie”, which came out in October 2012. The book, “Il nuovo nel piatto” (The new on the plate), is about 128 new and exotic food and ingredients that in the last 30 years came to Europe from Asia, Africa and America. Soy but also still unknown products as kuzu, lotus root, stachys, Kopi Luwak coffee and many more. Working at this book changed my view to look at food. A whole new world of flavors, colors, texture, combinations opened up in front of me! I started to create recipes with ingredients I didn’t know before and the result was so exciting, that I seriously began to think to become a cook! Just after few months that my book came out, I started a collaboration with Mondo Mediterraneo, an italian company based in Amsterdam with over 20 years of international banqueting experience and a strong recurrent client base. With Mondo Mediterraneo I have organized many events and catering for Fashion Week in Berlin, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, from 2012 to 2015.
In the meanwhile, I published another book, “La dieta slow aging” (The slow aging diet), together with Pier Paolo Rovatti, for Gribaudo/Feltrinelli publishing. It was then clear to me that I wanted to learn more about food, cooking and how to combine good food with health.
Becoming vegan was the next step. I stopped with eating meat. Then came fish and in 2013 was the turn of cheese. At the beginning, my vegan diet style was all about fake meat, fake cheese, fake eggs! I sincerely felt not so good. Too salty, too spicy, too much gluten, too much soy… it was not the healthy food I heard about it. Something had to be wrong.. I started to read, study, learn and I was determined to know even more and more. But how? And where? The answer came in a beautiful, sunny and warm day in July 2013. I was still working as freelance journalist for my newspaper, and I had to interview a famous raw vegan chef from Berlin. We met in Prinzessinengarten, eating some salat and drinking smoothies. I spent 2 hours with Boris Lauser, who told me about raw food, and how tasty and healthy is, why the right temperature should be 42°… I was so fascinated that I thought: this is what I wanna do! I wanna become a raw vegan chef! I took the decision to go to Los Angeles to study at the academy of Matthew Kenney where my journey as raw vegan chef began.
Becoming raw chef
Back to Berlin, I opened a raw vegan bistrot in Kreuzberg, Officina Berlino, where I had the chance to meet wonderful people and to do important experiences. Just 2 months after the opening, the founder of Alge Initiative, Jürgen Gratze, together with Boris Lauser, patron of Alge, came to eat to my place. They were so happy and enthusiastic about my food than asked me to join Alge. And so I did. Officina Berlino became Alge Officina and I had the opportunity to get in contact with many famous exponents of the german raw food scene.
But it was soon clear to me that I needed something different. What I wanted was not only to bring the world into my little bistrot, but to spread the word of raw food into the world! So, after one year, I decided to close Officina and to start to work as private chef, nutrition counselor and raw food instructor. Since 2016 I regularly organize private dinners, catering and give workshops in Berlin and in Italy, where I also have a collaboration with Veganima, in Arco, one the best vegan restaurants in Europe.
And here I am! Happy to share with you what I learnt and still learn, and what I do.
“In all the round world of Utopia there is no meat. There used to be, but now we cannot stand the thought of slaughterhouses. And it is impossible to find anyone who will hew a dead ox or pig. I can still remember as a boy the rejoicings over the closing of the last slaughterhouse”.
This is the world described by Orson Welles in 1905 in his novel A Modern Utopia. A world where nobody could kill or cut an animal.
This is the world vegans wanna build, a world where compassion prevails over cruelty, tyranny and indifference; where equality prevails over speciesism, oppression and exploitation; a world where love will prevail over hatred.
With my job, I try to contribute to the realization of this new world. We can have awesome food without the unnecessary exploitation of other living and sentient beings, doing at the same time a big flavor to the environment and to our health.
“The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men”. Alice Walker, author of the Color Purple