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Bettina Campolucci Bordi: Eating For Wellness

by Wolf & Badger

Bettina Compolucci-Bordi  is a cookbook author, sustainable chef, teacher and podcast host. She was recently named one of Marie Claire's Changemakers, recognising her efforts to fight climate change from her kitchen table.

Sustainability has always been at the heart of your cooking and just last year you were highlighted as part of the Marie Claire Change Maker series, for taking action on climate (congrats!). Can you tell us a little bit more about how your awareness of sustainability has impacted your practice?

Sustainability has definitely been at the heart of my cooking right from the beginning but it wasn't something that was planned or marketed. I started in the Wellness industry more than 10 years ago. Before the Vegan and free from wave became mainstream and when the word sustainability wasn't really coined or used as it is today. To understand where my principles and passions come from we need to go back to the beginning. I was born in Copenhagen but raised in East Africa Tanzania from the age of zero to eleven. Supermarkets as we know them today did not exist. We sourced our ingredients from markets, farmers, fishermen that would come weekly and my father who used to hunt. Everything we cooked and ate was made from scratch. Butter, yogurt, bread, cream, tomato sauce, the lot. I was essentially surrounded by a farm to table ethos from a very early age. My Bulgarian grandmother was a fantastic cook and grew or sourced her own ingredients and equally so did my Norwegian grandmother. Growing food, foraging, pickling, making jams and preserving was just what she did and a big part of the countless summers I spent with both of them. When I founded and started cooking on my wellness Retreats based in Southern Spain, I would source all my ingredients from farmers markets - meaning that all the produce would always be seasonal and as local as possible. Cooking with whole foods and creating recipes on vegetables, fruits, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds has always been the basis.  

When my first book ‘Happy Vegan Food’ came out five years ago we decided to make a move to London to further my career in food. My ethos has stayed on and I am 3 books in now with my latest ‘Celebrate’ that includes recipes for every big occasion. Think birthdays, Christmas and soon Easter. I still run Wellness Retreats and have also got an Academy called Bettina's Kitchen Academy where I teach my students how to become Retreat Chefs. Apart from that I develop for brands and consult within the plant based genre. Whether it's cooking, teaching or creating content - I try to include sustainability at the core from an environmental, social and economical point of view to make everything I am involved in as circular as possible. It is not always easy but it's something we all need to do our best at.


How are you hoping to build upon this in 2023?

I would love to create more awareness. Hopefully be an example to other businesses. Foremost keep improving my own practices. Never stop evolving and learning. 

As we enter a new year what are your favourite seasonal ingredients?

I am very excited about spring. It is one of my favourite seasons and I coin it as a period of many good things to come. At the moment I am enjoying the citrus season and we are entering the forced rhubarb season that is stunning. There are also countless pumpkins, greens, chicories and cabbages to be enjoyed at the moment. 

Is there anything you’d particularly recommend for wellness that might be especially mood or energy-boosting?

There are three core things that are essentially good for you. To try and get as much good sleep as possible. To do something active on a daily basis even if it's just going out for a walk. One of the most important things is to give yourself time off your devices. We practise digital free mornings and no phones during meal times which makes a huge difference to socialising.

Images: Sara Kiyo Popova @shisodelicious

Are there any easy, affordable, swaps that you feel our readers would find useful if they’re looking to eat more plant-based meals?

One of the things that I always recommend is to subscribe to a weekly veg box. This way you are supporting local farms, eating seasonally and it's going to be tastier as you're eating ingredients at their peak! You will also probably end up cooking with ingredients you might not necessarily have bought yourself. Last but not least cooking for yourself is one of the best forms of self care as you know exactly what is going into your pot.

I'd suggest using pulses and legumes instead of meat, and gradually increase the vegetable versus meat ratio on your plate to 'crowd out' animal based products.

Do you have a go-to dish that you revisit during these colder months?

YES - Curries, stir fries, and piping hot noodle soups are my go to in winter and an opportunity to add lots of greens.

We already know you’re a fan of Wolf & Badger! Do you have any W&B brands, in particular, you’re lusting over at the moment?

So many brands that I adore, some of them are Polo & Storch earrings, Yaa Yaa London jewellery, Ottoman Hands, Lavaand (my fave dresses), the yellow suit (that is always a hit).

What does this year have in store for you that our readers can look out for?

I am running multiple Retreat Chef Academies. I will be launching my India Retreat soon that I am co-hosting, along with my yearly Bali Retreat. I will be running pop ups, travelling and recipe developing. You can follow along on my Instagram account @bettinas_kitchen and keep in touch via my newsletter on my website