This Holistic Vegan Chef Wants You to Slow Down, Simplify and Enjoy Happy Food
Interview with Bettina Campolucci Bordi
Bettina Campolucci Bordi is a freelance chef who specializes in plant-based and gluten-free cuisine. Bettina was born in Denmark and brought up in Tanzania to a Norwegian father and Danish-Bulgarian mother. After working in the food industry for ten years she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. Bettina quit her job and researched natural ways to heal her body and mind. This led to her founding her successful blog, Bettina’s Kitchen.
She now runs a chef’s academy in London, a pop-up supper club, a kitchen retreat in Bali, and has written a cookbook called “Happy Food” (2018). Bettina hopes to inspire more people to become vegan, and to develop a simpler approach to eating through slow cooking, locally sourcing organic ingredients, and preserving family-based traditions around food. For Bettina, food and cooking is all about building community and preserving rich cultural traditions.
Parvati Magazine: What inspired you to become a chef, and how did you become a vegan chef?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: My background is in hotel management within the food and beverage sector, so, when I was offered a partnership in running wellbeing retreats eight years ago, I jumped at the opportunity and wanted to cook on the retreats. Being super inspired and obsessed with food from a young age it was the perfect fit. I specialized in plant-based recipes and the rest is history!
Parvati Magazine: You have such an eclectic collection of recipes of vegan and gluten-free recipes from all over the world. What have been the most important inspirations for you as a chef?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: Ingredients, seasonality and what is available in the different locations I travel to. The first thing I do is suss out the local markets and ask local chefs where they get their produce from and start to build my dishes around that, by experimenting with the local produce.
Parvati Magazine: You have a second cookbook coming out. Would you like to tell us about that? What is your favourite recipe in the book?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: I love all the recipes! It’s called “The 7-day Vegan Challenge”. It’s a book that will hopefully inspire lots of people to give eating veggies for a full week a go! It has simple-to-use menu planners and easy-to-go recipes for anyone and for all tastes. I especially love the brownies, the burger and the chickpea omelette – sorry, I couldn’t just choose one!
Parvati Magazine: What can participants expect to experience on your upcoming kitchen retreat in Bali?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: A complete and wholesome food journey. It’s all focused around seed to farm to table, mixed in with Balinese culture and sprinkles of Balinese traditional healing.
Parvati Magazine: You have taken on a large teaching role, in addition to working in the kitchen and developing recipes. What inspired you to start teaching and advocating for a healthier food system?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: It’s something that has always inspired me. I come from a food background and growing up in East Africa, Tanzania and Sweden where sourcing was important, and both my grandmothers were huge advocates of preservation and slow cooking—traits that we have now forgotten but that I can see are slowly coming back into fashion. If we don’t preserve our food traditions, we will drown in the fast-paced life we have created for ourselves. If food culture and systems disappear, then so will our social structure, culture and community. Food is so much more than just food—it’s linked to everything, and I am so grateful to be able to educate and inspire a new generation of foodies.
Parvati Magazine: As more people are feeling empowered to embrace holistic living, what are the opportunities you see in the coming years to reach a wider audience of people interested in healthy eating and sustainable food systems?
Bettina Campolucci Bordi: I think holistic and wellness are such broad words and unfortunately adopted by many companies as it means larger profits. Rather than adding more to our lives and food systems, we need to simplify. Buy less, waste less, purchase seasonally and support locally. Eat better ingredients, better quality and less quantity. If we look at our consumption as a whole and are able to peel off a few layers, then I think we have hope of a better future.
Bettina Campolucci Bordi is a chef specializing in plant-based and gluten-free cuisine. Bettina sources as much as she can seasonally, locally and wherever possible, organic. She runs a successful blog, Bettina’s Kitchen, and holds health retreats. She has written two books: “Happy Food” (2018) and “The 7-Day Vegan Challenge” (2019).