Nadia Damaso is a Swiss food blogger, cook book author and lifestyle influencer. Her first cook book “Eat Better Not Less” was a huge success and is the Nr.1 bestselling book in Switzerland. What her second book will be about, what she could never resist and how you can take a perfect food picture – read the exclusive interview with Nadia.
Have you always been eating so healthy or was there a turning point?
I grew up in a very sporty family and my mother always cooked healthy. But when I went to Canada for a student’s exchange in 2012 I came back with 10 kilos more on my hips. I wanted to lose the gained weight but I wasn’t up for a classic diet. So I had to change my nutrition and lifestyle in general. This is when it all started.
Who is your biggest inspiration when it comes to cooking? Any famous cooks, other food bloggers?
I like people who are passionate about something. That’s why I adore Jamie Oliver, you can really tell that he loves what he’s doing. And the Australian food blogger Katie Quinn Davies from whatkatieate.com is a big inspiration for me when it comes to food styling. Her pictures are amazing!
You love traveling. What have you learned about food preparation and cooking from your travels?
My travels are always food journeys. Everywhere I go I am always keen to try out now things and learn about local ingredients and food trends. Some combinations sound a little special in the beginning but turn out to be exquisite. You have to be open for new things and experiments and always be ready to get surprised – that’s what I love about travelling. My favorite cities for delicious and original food I have visited so far are Santa Barbara, Berlin and Cape Town.
What is a typical Swiss meal? And how would you make it healthier?
Every Swiss loves his Rösti with cheese. To make the dish a little less hearty I would exchange the potatoes with sweet potatoes and add spinach, spring onions and a homemade cashew cream on top instead of the cheese. Or, or, or… too many ideas flying around my head already haha!
You take all your food pictures yourself. What’s the secret behind a perfect food photo?
The picture has to live! You have to feel the emotions coming through it. This is my number one rule and the reason I only work with natural light. I always say my pictures tend to be an elegant chaos. It’s important to mix different textures – a little crunchy, a touch creamy. My mind thinks in colors and I always make sure to have a good combination of bright and vibrant colors in the picture. Sometimes one red strawberry can make all the difference.
Hot Strawberries, homemade Cacao-Chia Rawnola, Peanut-Vanilla butter & Banana-Vanilla ice-cream topped with another dollop of Peanut Butter, Pomegranate & Pana Chocolate.
Food blogs are trending right now. What’s your advice to a fresh blogger to create a popular blog?
It’s important to find your own style and to be authentic. Find something that lets you stand out from the crowd and provide a recognition value. But the most important thing is that you are passionate about and have fun. And most importantly: always stay true to yourself!
How much of your time does blogging occupy? What else do you do in your everyday life?
I don’t really like to call by self a blogger. I am more of a lifestyle influencer or a cook book author. But this job takes up all of my time. Until recently I attended an acting school in Zurich but I had to quit because of my tight schedule. I cook, create new recipes, take pictures, write and post, give cooking workshops and have a lot of media appointments to attend. Other than that I do lots of sports, like to meet friends, cook for them or go to the movies, go traveling and photography is a huge passion of mine as well. What I am really good at is to entertain people. At least that’s what my friends say.
Tell us about the process of writing your first cook book. How much time has it taken to write it?
The publishing house called me two days after I sent in my concept for a cook book and asked me if I can finalize the book by August – this was in April. So I only had about 4 month time for a whole book! I worked day and night and created 130 new recipes and took over 12’000 pictures. Besides that I went to the film-acting school, so it was really A LOT! Although I did hardly get any sleep during these month it was all worth the efforts. When I held my own cook book in my hands for the very first time it took me a while to realize that I just wrote a book with 256 pages, like an actual book haha! I’m proud of it and I had so much fun working on my first book.
Your second book is in progress. What will you do different this time compared to the first book?
The new cook book will contain more recipes for bigger groups of people. With my second book I want to bring people together and show that food is here to enjoy! The new recipes will be inspired by my travels to different countries and their colorful food world with unique flavors and spices. The launch of the new book is planned for Fall 2017.
Are all your meals so healthy or do you cheat sometimes?
I honestly prefer healthy food over unhealthy food. It just tastes better and I feel so much better afterwards. And I just like to try out new things & combinations in general. But when I feel like eating something you would call a „cheat meal“ I just go for it. I could never say no to pasta or chocolate. My favorite is dark chocolate with caramelized nuts and sea-salt. Oh dear, once I start eating it the whole bar is gone in no time (smiles)!
Could you please share with us an easy lunch recipe you can prepare in less than 20 minutes?
One of my favorite lunch recipes is the avocado pizza. All you need is a whole-wheat tortilla as a base and then you top it with some cashew cream, mashed avocado with salt, pepper, lime, spring onions, grilled veggies like eggplant and to give it some color red radicchio and for the perfect spice homemade Dukkah! Ready in less than 20 minutes. Another easy and delicious dish are oven baked sweet potatoes with almond butter, maple syrup, onions, cherry tomatoes and spices.
Healthy pizza à la Nadia.
You’ve stayed in VISIONAPARTMENTS in Berlin. Tell us about your impressions of your trip.
I love Berlin, it’s one of my favorite cities. Berlin offers so much – from culture, to shopping and of course a fantastic food scene. My VISIONAPARTMENT was very centrally located and I would walk literally everywhere. From my apartment I had a nice view over the city and I loved the modern furnishings. The kitchen was very well equipped and had all I needed to prepare my breakfast. Berlin just offers too many good restaurants to cook at home 24/7. I really enjoyed my stay with VISIONAPARTMENTS and felt like at home.