Cristina Bowerman is one of the select few of famous female Italian chefs to have been awarded a Michelin star and was also one of the Ambassadors for Expo Milano 2015. Cristina grew up in Bari and after graduating with a degree in law in 1992 she left Puglia to move to San Francisco in the United States. Cooking is said to come from her family’s DNA, which helps explain her passion and why she went on to complete a degree in Culinary Arts from Texas Culinary Academy in Austin to pursue a new career as a chef.
In 2005 she decided to return to Italy to work for the prestigious Glass Hostaria restaurant in Rome where she has greatly accelerated her knowledge of Italian cuisine. With her seasoned international and local experience in Rome, Cristina has famously developed a unique cooking style that is refreshingly modern with a balanced blend of diverse global and traditional Italian features.
In 2012 with Fabio Spada and Silvia Sacerdoti, she launched Romeo Chef & Baker which boldly houses a Bar, Restaurant, Bakery and Delicatessen. In 2014 she published her first book for Mondadori: Da Cerignola a San Francisco e ritorno – La mia vita di chef controcorrente. (From Cerignola to San Francisco and back – My Life as a Chef Swimming Against the Tide).
This is the exclusive interview between Cristina and Love Italian Life:
With so many restaurants in Rome, why should passionate Italian Food lovers choose to dine at Glass Hostaria and Romeo Chef & Baker?
Glass and Romeo are trendsetters in the Roman food scene. Glass was one of the originals of it’s kind over a decade ago, with the concept being to set a new level of understanding of what modern cuisine is and to continue to raise the bar with a very dynamic menu and service.
Romeo has dominated the trends of Roman casual food for the last three years since it opened. With its innovative Bakery, Deli and Restaurant inside, it lets the customer decide on their personal level of engagement: a cappuccino? a glass of wine? lunch, dinner, pizza to go? The customer decides. Also, the street food section with a fleet of 2 Ape cars and Frigo for ice cream, makes it young, fresh and easy for every type of person.
In your opinion, what is the best kept secret Italian Food product that is a treasure to locals but people outside Italy are seriously missing out on?
There are a plentiful supply and do not include just ONE product, as there are hundreds, but I am a big advocate for products to stay here in Italy and it’s natural surroundings. If you want to eat it, you have to come here, smell the air, meet the producers, travel on a train or a car to places where, sometimes, don’t even know what the internet is!
Why do you think Italians have a different attitude towards food compared to other countries in the world?
Because we simply love food! As cooking takes you back in time, to your childhood when your mother would show her love for you and everyone around her through great food. It is also because feeding people is amazingly rewarding and the true reason for that is due to the fact food expresses who we are and our culture.
What’s the inspiration behind your dishes?
There is not a single source, not one major way. It could be anywhere from a product to a dinner, from a conversation to a book page. Traveling helps a lot and I generally get inspired by meeting new people and cuisines. One thing though remains constant throughout the creative process and that is studying.
In your opinion what are the store-cupboard essentials that all great Italian chefs should make sure they have in their kitchen?
Microplane Grater, a Good Chef Knife, Superbag and a Squared Tip Spoon are all Must-Have items!
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of coming into the industry as a chef?
Don’t think it’s going to be easy but if you work hard, study hard and have that little pinch of talent, you can do it.
Is there a very simple recipe you have to get people started with?
Yes, a risotto. This is so that you learn right away that Risotto is a technique and not a recipe.
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