PLEASE, INTRODUCE YOURSELF, WHAT'S YOUR BACKGROUND?
My name is Laura, I live in Milan and I’m 30 years old. Last year, moved by my infinite love for food, I left my office job to begin my kitchen training and I haven’t stopped to be happy ever since (notwithstanding the scars). Right after working at Erba Brusca, I’ve been at nannie.com and now I just got back from an experience at Septime and Clamato, in Paris.
YOU describe YOURSELF AS A PRO HERBIVORE, CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE REASONS BEHIND THIS CHOICE?
It’s kind of an ironic definition, due to the fact that I always eat vegetables, of any kind and in a herbivore animal worthy amount. People always joke on me because I’m constantly munching some fruits or veggies. I eat everything but, for taste and ethical reasons, veggies represent the biggest chunk of what’s in my plate.
WHAT’S SMALL BRIGADE? HOW DID IT COME UP AND WHAT’S ITS PURPOSE?
SB is a recipes fanzine which will soon become a series. Denny (the photographer who took the pictures) and I came up with it because we wanted to make a small cookbook with a contemporary feeling and that could be nice to read even for those who are not cookers friendly. We wanted it to be home made and not studio made, I mean low cost but curated and most importantly independent. Inside you’ll find some of my recipes, tested and eaten in the last few months. We distributed it to some small resellers who believed in the project and we are more than happy about this.
NOWADAYS PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS MORE OBSESSED, CAREFUL AND NEW TASTES HUNTING. HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK IT’S IMPORTANT A NOURISH EDUCATION?
I think it’s important to educate people to enjoy genuine food in a balanced and happy way, stimulating curiosity for every kind of food, its origins, its production process and the people behind it, without necessarily demonizing or idolizing some. I am myself obsessed by the research of new flavours but I think it is fundamental to first know and understand the food of our territory as it determined our taste and our DNA. Italy has a huge panorama of products but few Italians really knows about them. Maybe that's because we take it for granted.
WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES IN YOUR ORIGINAL RECIPES? WHAT KIND OF SENSATIONS DO YOU TRY TO REACH IN THE FINAL OUTCOME?
I always start from one single raw seasonal matter, treating it with respect and trying to fully understand its features. I impose to myself to use every part of each ingredient, without wasting anything. The final result should be genuine, with clear flavors, nice to see and good to eat but also good to imagine before it comes to your plate. I never use cookbooks, I try to use my insight and catch old memories of good things I ate during the years. Denny himself is a good inspiration for me.
WHAT KIND OF FOODS DO YOU PREFER IN YOUR KITCHEN?
It all depends on the season! It’s been awhile now, that I am really into fermented stuff, self production and recovery cooking. I’ve never been a creature of habit and I constantly change what I eat. Anyway, I always have garlic, onions and fresh herbs in my kitchen, that’s for sure.
WHAT ABOUT DRINKS?
As for the drinks, at home or outdoor, I let Denny decide for me the most of the time, from the moment he knows more about wines & co.. Just like for food, I like to be curious towards small producers. At the moment, I'm really enjoying the R.I.P. (Rest In Pills) a craft beer by Carlo Eugenio Fioriani.
WHERE AND HOW DO YOU TO GET THE RAW MATTERS? ANY ADVICE?
I am constantly looking for new ways to buy that gets me close to the producer. I almost buy everything at farmers market, in particular at Mercato Della Terra (two times a month at La Fabbrica del Vapore in Milan) or through short circuit selling networks, like Alveare. My advice is to overcome the laziness and avoid the supermarkets, in favour neighbourhood markets, small boutiques or , if possible, directly from producers.
SINCE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT FOOD, COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL FOOD DAY? WHAT DO YOU COOK/EAT? ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENCE IF YOU'RE ALONE OR WITH SOMEONE ELSE?
When I am not working, I cook for me and who I love anyway. The cooking job is pretty tiring but I hate random eating during my free days so I always try to save some time for me to buy and cook the stuff I like at home. Let's say I take advantage of that to try and test new ingredients and make them tasted by others. At the moment, I am very focused on fish and I mostly eat that. Anyway, even when I am alone it doesn't change that much, I spend the same time to preparation and cooking. P.S. I also love going at the restaurant, there's an enormous amount in Milan.
I simply want to keep going on with my training, without losing poetry and passion for what I do.