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My name is: Nina Clemente.

I’m known as: A chef and mom.

My expertise is in: Food and (my own version of) motherhood. 

This is a challenging time for my industry because:

I was on the verge of opening a hotel and restaurant and all that ceased to exist in this surreal time we’re living in. Restaurants will have to adapt in a way that has never been seen before. With such minimal help from the federal government, so many restaurants will not make it through this. That being said, humankind’s resilience never ceases to amaze me and I know some incredibly creative solutions will come into play. The one asset the restaurant industry will always have is that people need to eat daily (and often love when they don’t have to cook for themselves). 

For me, motherhood during this time is all about:

Spending quality time with my child. I went back to work when my daughter was 1-month-old and didn’t stop. This uninterrupted time with my daughter is the most luxurious  blessing for us. Coming out of a Waldorf school, we have not gotten much technological learning, but I’m thankful that we can work on a variety of projects without being bound to a screen all day.

I stay physically healthy with:

My husband, daughter and I started doing boxing drills in the morning. Initially, he seemed frustrated when I took charge, but, by the end, he was smiling, so we have been making it a regular occurrence. Plus, my daughter loves it. 

I keep my emotions balanced with:

I don’t keep my emotions balanced. I live with two humans who are immensely hard-headed and full of energy like me. The ebb and flow of emotion is constant.  Instead of struggling to find a balance, I’ve started expressing when I feel the surge of emotion coming on with my family. Although conflicts can still arise, there is more empathy all around, and the surge of emotion becomes productive instead of stifling.

I’m intellectually stimulated by:

I’m infatuated with historical novels. Epic tales wound around historically accurate landscapes always get my brain stirring. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Colson Whitehead, Roberto Saviano, Fran Lebowitz and Salman Rushdie are some of my favorite authors. 

I also regularly listen to TED talks while I’m cooking and cleaning.

I was recently transformed by:

Traveling to Brazil with my daughter, who is 6 1/2 was incredible. I think this will be one of her most vivid of memories when she grows up. We were in the midst of Carnaval in Rio De Janeiro, staying with the most gracious Lenny Neimeyer. We spent two weeks in the same apartment I lived in 12 years ago when I was working for Lenny in Brazil before I became a chef. Having been surrounded by so many wonderful Brazilian friends I hadn’t seen in so long made hunkering down in NYC more bearable upon our return. 

Find one of Nina Clemente’s recipes here.

Image via Victor Roussel

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