Women we admire # Chef Nana
With a beautifully considered approach to food, Chef Nana or Naiara Sabandar, embodies the title of culinary artist. Her culinary concepts are informed by a rich experience of travel and having lived in Los Angeles, Stockholm and Amsterdam.
Accessibility to delicious and nutritious food is key to her work. Sabandar's multi-faceted approach includes publishing a zine as part of an innovative initiative which is both supporting farmers in these difficult times and educating people on uncommon or overlooked produce.
- Tell us about your beautiful zine and the decision to make it?
When we saw the impact restaurant closures were having on the entire food supply chain, we felt the urge to help out those who were directly affected, such as farmer Wim Bijma. We launched the “forgotten produce” box, a box filled with Bijma's different rare Dutch forgotten vegetables. We created a zine together with it, which provided recipes and a glossary, to give more insight and background information about the vegetables and herbs. My partner in business, Zana Josipovic, is also a great graphic designer, so together we decided to create a zine for this project.
- How has it made you feel to see the increased emotional connection or focus on food in these uncertain times?
It’s beautiful to have seen this happening, it makes me feel very happy. I see more people around me taking more time to cook, going back to the source of where the food actually grows, and becoming aware of the importance of buying locally and eating what the seasons put on our plates.
- Why did you decide to work with food?
I realized it was the thing that made me most happy working with. I love being able to create something and share it with people, and to offer something that makes them happy too. I believe in the importance of bringing people together through food. But I also strongly believe in and support a future of food towards zero waste, towards a natural food system: getting things from nature in the way nature intended and working directly with farmers. Respecting the produce, cooking whole food and embracing the seasons.
- What do you eat for comfort?
I like the type of grandma’s cooking, food that is familiar, homely and delicious.
- What is your favorite music to create to?
It really depends on my mood and the occasion. When I’m cooking alone, I like to listen to more calm music. I like ambient music, like Susumu Yokota, or something like Nujabes or F.S. Blumm. Sometimes I don’t listen to anything, so I can quietly focus and be present. When I’m cooking with friends or at someone’s house with more people, I like to listen to a lot of different tunes. Most of my friends have a good taste in music, so usually I let them be the DJ.
- What brings you joy?
Friends, family, vegetables, farmer's markets, sun, sea, tea, meditation, music, traveling, food, cooking, sharing and eating.... often peaceful, happy, pure things.
- Tell us about one of your most memorable meals.
I think mostly the meals I had when I was a kid, visiting my family in San Sebastian and Ibiza, where my aunt owned a Basque restaurant. Every year I look forward to eating her arroz negro. More recent memories are at Restaurante Alfonsina in Oaxaca, and my dining experience at restaurant Ernst in Berlin. And last but not least, all the meals I had in South Korea, when I stayed at a temple cooking and learning from Buddhist chef Jeong Kwan. Those dishes will be a forever inspiration too. It’s impossible for me to stick to just one memorable meal. I feel like a lot of meals are memorable, and inspiring in a different way.
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Naiara is wearing our ribbed knit sweater in organic cotton from Edition 2.
CAES Edition 2 >>