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Kitri Spotlight: Nina Parker

#KITRIspotlight
Meet our creative, intelligent and simply brilliant friends who inspire KITRI in every single way.  



Meet Nina Parker, chef, writer and director of her own food company, NINA. Talented and ambitious, Nina is part of a new wave of successful women who are defining their own careers, working for themselves and applying their talents to multiple projects. From hosting her own food YouTube series, to writing a travel and food column for Tatler, Nina is the epitome of a go-getter! We sat down with her to talk about turning passions into businesses and her impressive career so far.

We’d love to know more about your career path so far!
After leaving Leeds University I started working in an Italian kitchen in Liverpool Street to learn the ropes. I loved being in the kitchen creating new dishes, and although it was tough, I enjoyed the crazy service! After 3 years working in various London restaurants, I bought an old Citroen H van and turned it into an ice cream and cake truck. I used to go to festivals and people would hire me out for parties. When the summer season ended I would organise pop-ups and supper clubs from my flat and I became increasingly interested in the catering side of things. Sadly, I have said goodbye to the van, but I now have two cookbooks - (NINA St Tropez / NINA Capri). I also  give out recipes and restaurant recommendations on my Instagram (@antoninaparker). As my books are inspired by my travels I have fallen into travel writing, and I’m currently the food/travel columnist for Tatler online. It’s safe to say that my days are quite varied!
 
Did you always know that you wanted to work in the food industry?
No! Since the age of 15 to the end of university I tried so many different work experiences, including periods in finance, PR, fashion magazines, fashion design, events, the list goes on! It took me a while to discover the food industry but at least I started looking early on. I started working in L’Anima when I was 23 and realised that I was in the right place, but back then I had no idea where it would take me. All I knew was that I enjoyed it! I loved all of the fresh produce that would come in the morning and I enjoyed the creative atmosphere.


(Left: Nina wears our  Rodeo Cotton T-shirt, Vinyl Skirt (Sold out). Right: Nina wears our Camilla Check Wrap Jacket Amalfi Printed T-shirt and  Giana Check Linen Mini Skirt

Here at KITRI we’re always inspired by women who have turned their talent and passion into a successful career. What are your top tips for women who are thinking about going it alone and setting up their own business?
Relentless determination is key and to have a passion for what you do is essential. If you don’t totally love it then this will make it almost impossible to succeed. You have to be completely dedicated because there will be some tough times when you ask yourself why are you doing it, so you have to be sure. I believe that this drive helps to bring success later on. Money is important but for me its all about the challenge and creating my own luck and opportunities. I’ve always read a lot of business books and I am obsessed with career podcasts about people from all different industries - they're great for inspiration and will get you going on down days!    

You’ve had an incredible career so far. Can you pinpoint a moment you are most proud of? 
That’s very nice to hear! I felt that everything changed for me when I got my book deal. It felt like I had won the lottery, I was so happy! It was insane and so unexpected. I was having dinner with some of my best mates when I found out and we all got quite pissed that night! 
 
You’ve cooked and eaten in some exciting restaurants! What are your top 5?
  1. I was in Lisbon for my best mate’s hen and we went to so many great seafood restaurants. I would recommend A Cervecheria which is Peruvian and the ceviche is really good. Also Cervejaria Ramiro is an old school Lisbon seafood haunt!
  2. Recently I cooked at The Peligoni Club on the Greek island, Zakynthos which was pretty cool. I cooked in one of their stunning villas and also hosted a popup in the main restaurant.

  3. Back in London, I always enjoy eating at Morito for dinner on Hackney Road.  The open chef counter of blue Brazilian marble is beautiful and their sharing plates are perfect for dates.

  4. Dusty Knuckle near Dalston Kingsland station is a good breakfast/lunch spot. The coffee, pastries and tartines are delicious! When it’s warm you can sit outside on their large industrial terrace and you feel like you could be in LA. 

  5. My new favourite Japanese is Okko! It’s modern, good value, flavourful and they have some great veggie options. I loved their broccoli tempura with mayo!



(Nina wears our Persephone Vintage Blouse & Sasha Frill Mini Skirt

What does your typical day look like?
My days are never typical because I do so many random jobs all the time! It usually starts with a smoothie and then it can be anything from shooting my recipes, to cooking for a popup, to travelling to Croatia for a travel review, to shooting clothes for lifestyle Instagram shots. Sometimes I would like it to be a bit more structured but really, I think I prefer it being a total mix. I usually cook from home in East London and when I’m writing I work at my sister’s in Chelsea.  
      Who inspires you?
      So many people inspire me but someone that I always love is Roger Federer. Everything he has achieved in his career is mind-blowing and he never gives up even with all the pressure surrounding him. I’m a huge tennis fan and I often relate a lot of things back to tennis as well as cooking. My dream would be to cook for Federer someday….watch this space!

      What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
      One of the best would be from my mum. She told me when I was little that I could do whatever I wanted and I think that made me fearless when choosing my career. It’s definitely made me throw myself into challenges more and I’m not a worrier. I should add that I owe everything to my family. They have been the biggest support and continue to help me with advice along the way.

      (Nina wears our Bianca Feather Jumpsuit

      How would you describe your go-to 9-5 style?
      White Converse, jeans, white t-shirt and light grey sweatshirt. When I’m in the kitchen I’m pretty casual!  
        
      We love to see you wearing KITRI! Which are your favourite pieces?
      I LOVE the black two-piece skirt suit as it's perfect for meetings and for smart going out events. I obviously had to get a T-shirt and went for the “My first rodeo!” which goes with everything. Another favourite is the green silk t-shirt which I’m already wearing on holiday with a white denim mini skirt and converse.


      (From left:  Persephone Vintage BlouseSasha Frill Mini Skirt Olivia Green Silk T-shirt Rodeo Cotton T-shirt

       Finally, what’s next?
      I want to write another cookbook and to continue with my Fast Food video series with famous people in their field. So far I have had Fearne Cotton, celebrity hairdresser George Northwood, Deliciously Ella and The Doctor’s Kitchen

      You can find Nina's delicious recipes and Fast Food videos at ninafood.com

       

       


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