issue #09: food is cool
1. With your virtual platforms, you are pioneers in the field of digital communication in the food field. In this regard, what are the main challenges you faced at the beginning of your journey and the main digital developments that the sector is experiencing?
The biggest challenge, but also a privilege, was inventing a new job. When we started GNAMBOX in 2012, the digital world was in its infancy, especially in the food sector. It was not yet a job. Our passion and dedication for what we were doing drove us to explore what – and if – there was a way to turn it into a job. Building a loyal fan base and interesting content was the key to turning our project into something of value to brands. Over time we have learnt that in this industry the challenges never end, in fact the industry itself is perhaps a challenge. Keeping up with things that change, ways of communicating, people’s interests and how brands invest. These are all issues that are often out of our control but in which we have to find our place without losing the naturalness and pleasure of what we do.
2. The dishes you cook reveal an aesthetic taste strongly inspired by design. What is the relationship between design and food? How do you develop the aesthetic side of your creations?
Perhaps because we are both designers by training. For us, the aesthetic side of a dish cannot be separated from its goodness. We see the creation of a recipe as a project where the elements are the ingredients, the cooking, the textures and the presentation. Sometimes we create a dish based on how we want to serve it.
3. As well as cooking, you also work on food-related projects in a kaleidoscopic way, from concept to communication. What are the “side” activities other than food preparation that you are most passionate about?
It is often thought that we spend all day cooking or touring restaurants, but in reality ours is a communication project. If we spend one day for cooking one dish, there are at least three days of “office work” to create the recipes, post-produce the images, and prepare all the communication materials to tell the story the best way possible to our followers. There are now many channels, from the Instagram Feed to Stories, Reels, the newsletter and the website (which for us is always the starting point). Our job is to think and create content, always asking ourselves: “Why should a person follow GNAMBOX?”. Finding the answers to this question is our daily challenge, our job.
4. Travel is also a recurring theme. Are you meticulous in organising these moments, or do you love adventure? Are there any rituals you like to do when you are travelling?
Thinking back to the past, preparing a trip, doing it and telling the story was a huge job for us. The search for the “perfect“ places before leaving, the tour de force to try out as many as possible (we only publish tried and tested places in our guides), the production of the content and then the editing of the travel guides. At some point we realised, or maybe we changed our mind, that this way of doing things made us lose the spontaneity and beauty of the unexpected in a trip. Today we are more relaxed, we know what we like and we continue to look for it, but with more lightness. We do have a ritual: we always take some palo santo with us to burn wherever we go.
5. I would call you ACTIVISTS in the area of “responsibility” in the food sector: awareness of waste, advice on using seasonal ingredients, zero kilometre, tasty recipes with few ingredients, etc. Do you agree with this definition? What are, if you had to summarise them, 3 behaviours that each of us, in our own small way, should implement?
We really like this definition. We think that having a large following nowadays, especially in an area such as food and nutrition, and not caring about certain topics is really a shame. What we are talking about are issues that we care about first and foremost, so it feels natural to share them. If we had to choose three behaviours, we would certainly put in first place eating in season, our piece de resistance since 2012, reducing the use of plastic and, thirdly, more related to our own well-being, doing sport. It may seem like a misplaced suggestion, but for us it is the key to feeling good, especially mentally.
6. In the spontaneity of your narrative you have made explicit the fact that you are a couple. Have you ever received personal attacks for this fact? Are there any battles that you help to fight in your work or private life?
Here too, naturalness won out… We shared our relationship right from the start, without thinking about it. Only realising afterwards how important this, which was obvious to us, could be. It was a friend who made us realise this, who said: “do you know that what you say about yourselves is revolutionary? And that seeing your ‘normality’ is good?” Then, over the years, there have been many messages of support. There are so few haters that we don’t even remember.
7. What is a special dish that has the power to bring you closer together emotionally? If you were to write the recipe in a diary (like Caleido is), what would it be (in short)?
This will probably be the most banal answer, but it’s true. Pizza (click here to read the recipt). We love it so much that we named our cat after it.
8. What are 5 inspirational Instagram accounts that you suggest we start following?
@giorgiaeugeniagoggi a friend and a great chef. We think her cooking is the best we’ve ever tasted. And we have tried many star chefs.
@reneredzepinoma needs no introduction.
@thesocialfood a couple of French photographers who we love everything about and would like to eat every dish they post.
@herberthoffmannconvention too cool not to follow him and to find out what’s trending.
@sunnei as we always say “they’re brilliant and never get anything wrong” they’re definitely a source of inspiration.
9. We usually associate a dish with a wine. I am asking you to associate 3 dishes with 3 pieces of music. Are you a vinyl or Spotify kind of person?
Nice association! We live with music on 24/7 and you hit the nail on the head. We’d say Spotify for convenience, but we have a lot of vinyl that we listen to a lot when we’re at home. Here are the combinations:
Pizza – L’amore, Cosmo
Apple pie – Rapide, Mahmood
Raw shrimps – Il Veliero, Lucio Battisti
10. What is an object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory attached to it? Can you send us a photo taken by you?
Riccardo: the rocking chair Stefano gave me for my birthday, the evening we entered our house for the first time. It was the only piece of furniture, and nothing else. It’s the Eames chair from Vitra.