Q. What’s with the blog name and why did you start this blog?
A. Thinking of a blog name can be trickier than one might think. I came up with sale, pepe, amore meaning salt, pepper, love, three key ingredients in cooking that can truly make a dish great! Of course, it sounded more romantic in Italian than in English and after all I lived in Florence, Italy for four years. I started this blog because I thought it would be a great way for my family and friends to follow my travels and see all the various delicious food served in these different countries as well as dishes I’ve created on my own.
Q. Do you intend to live in Florence forever and where would you like to live in the future?
A. As much as I loved this Renaissance city, my time living here came to an end. After living there for almost four years, I was ready for a change and I decided to move back to California, specifically to the San Francisco Bay Area, since it’s such a great food mecca.
Q. Do you want to stay in California?
A. Great question, even I’m unsure what the future holds! Since I have dual citizenship (U.S. and Germany), I can really take advantage of working in numerous countries! I’m really open to moving to various locations if I find the right job.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to cook?
A. People always ask cooks/chefs what their favorite thing is to cook and it’s one of the most difficult and slightly annoying questions out there! Since I like all types of cuisines, it’s hard to pick one dish that I prefer to cook over another. However, I do prefer cooking savory dishes over baking or desserts any day and since I studied in Italy, my strength is in Italian cuisine.
Q. What’s your favorite thing to eat?
A. I truly enjoy all types of cuisine but if I had to narrow it down, it would be between Italian and Japanese cuisine. Even though I’m American, I grew up eating a lot of Italian food even as a child because my father has a great passion and love for Italian cuisine (and he’s an awesome cook). I probably ate pasta three times a week growing up which is unheard of for an American. Of course, I love Japanese cuisine since my mother is from Japan. As a child, I would eat all sorts of comfort Japanese foods that I don’t eat as much as I would like to today. I guess my favorite dishes would have to be a simple plate of pasta al pomodoro (perfectly al dente spaghetti in a bangin’ tomato and basil sauce topped with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, no imitation cheeses please!) and nigiri sushi (excellently crafted nigiri sushi with the correct fish to rice ratio topped with high quality seafood, no California rolls for me).
Q. What’s been your favorite food destinations in Europe?
A. Where do I begin?! So many of the places I’ve visited have had a strong food culture and I’ve eaten at many amazing restaurants throughout Europe. However, a few definitely pop up in my mind. In Dublin, all three restaurants I ate at were outstanding; one was a classic steakhouse, one was a fine dining establishment, and one was somewhere in between. In London I ate all types of cuisine since it’s such an international city. I ate at two great restaurants, one serving British food and the other serving Peruvian food. Madrid was another favorite food destination of mine. The Spanish sure know how to cook, oh man! Tasty tapas everyday. Having so many Turkish friends now (I met a lot of Turkish people at my culinary school), it was an educational food experience to finally taste the flavors of my friends’ country when I visited Istanbul. As for Italy, every region and sometimes even cities have their own Italian cuisine and specialties. Some of my favorite places have been Trento, Venice, Emilia-Romagna region, and Rome.
Q. Where would you like to travel next?
A. In Europe, I would love to visit Belgium, Croatia, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden. As for countries I’ve already visited, I would love to return to Austria, France, Germany, and Spain to explore more cities and try more food! Outside of Europe, I would love to visit Japan again to see my relatives since I haven’t seen them in years. I would also love to see anywhere in South America. I would even want to visit more cities in the United States since I’ve only been to a handful of them.
If you have any questions for me, don’t hesitate to ask! 🙂