Meet Silvia: Inspiring Through Culinary Craft

Meet Silvia: Inspiring Through Culinary Craft

We had the privilege of sitting down with Silvia Bandini, a remarkable individual who wears multiple hats as a board member of the National Menopause Foundation, accomplished chef, author, and culinary entrepreneur. In our candid conversation with Silvia, we delved into her extraordinary journey, filled with inspiration and insights. Join us as we shine the spotlight on Silvia's incredible story, now available for you to explore on our blog page.

Introduction: Could you please share your name and a brief overview of your background?

Silvia baldini. I'm 56 years old. I live in Connecticut and I'm a chef.

You’ve done a lot in your career and worn many hats, can you tell us how they connect to your core purpose?

so first of all, I was born in Italy and I came when in my late teens actually on my last year of my high school and I moved to California to Los Angeles which was insane because I didn't speak English at the time and it was my last year of a high school but such a powerful experience for me was so exciting. I loved Los Angeles immediately and I finished high school, learned English and then I had the opportunity to go to this amazing art school called Art Center College of design and that's a really big famous school for design film and advertising and so I jump on it and then when I graduated I was invited to come to New York and apply for an  interview with Joe Walter Thompson, which at the time was one of the largest advertising agency and I was really excited. So I became an art director they hire me and so I started working in advertising and I stayed in advertising for 17 years. I had a really prolific career. I worked on Madison Avenue and As I Grew into my career as I became a creative director and I got to work on really amazing campaigns from beauty to sports. I did stuff for Gatorade. for Nike. I did beautiful work a a lot of work with celebrity. I really enjoyed it. But as I was getting a little older the hours were crazy and I was traveling all the time. So I really wanted to kind of slow down a little bit. I met my husband and out of Italians in New York and always had this big passion for food and so he totally supported me and so I kind of quit my career in advertising and I decided to go at the time there was this dual program with Cornell and the French cooling our Institute and I got a master and a restaurant management then, I just jumped in and we moved to London. 

In London I become a full Chef. I got two children in the meantime, and then we came back to the States and I got to combine these wonderful experiences and career. I worked in restaurants actually in London. I worked in Michilen Stars but when we came back to the states, I just wanted to combine These two experiences and so I started working with companies that do good in the world and they're interested in food and Tech and doing products that are good for our society. And so I work with a lot of companies like that and I work in food Tech. I also had the chance to go on Food Network and we chopped and so I'm a chalk Champions. So this is what I am today. Yeah, I am.

Wow, that's beautiful. That's such a beautiful Journey. Did you always want to be a chef?

So, I never thought I would become a chef. I had obviously a tremendous passion for cooking but when I had the opportunity and I changed my careers and after doing the business side and restaurant management, I felt that I really wanted the full 360 experience and I learned that when you want to have a successful business you need to know every aspect of it. So I had the opportunity to go to school and become a chef and I thought that would make me really, understand how a restaurant or a food business work. And then once they became a chef I got really passionate about it. I'm like now I'm a chef and I want to see how it works. So I actually working in the kitchen was really an amazing experience.

Because it's the real side of these, you work with your hands you are in the heart of the restaurant and you see Humanity in a very different way. yeah, so I think I started from a little bit of a passion, as an Italian. I always say I grew up playing under the table. My grandmother's table playing with scraps of pasta. And then from there, it's always being part of my life food is it's who I am.

Wow, would you say that the food industry is anything similar to how they painted on TV shows?

The food industry is insane. It's really fun. And it's so funny. I always say my god, I've done so I mean I published books. I do a lot of pro bono work, but what people are really interested is Food Network and TV being a TV chefs which it's fun and it's more like, you have to have I think What I Call You Italian coyotas, you just have to be like somebody that doesn't care put yourself from the nine really but it's not what the real life in a real kitchen is so yeah, it's different. Haha, I tried to keep it clean…

How do you keep the balance? You have a particular routine? Is there anything that you practice in order to keep balance?

So I mean everybody always says, you have balance in your life and I have no balance. I have two late teenagers, one is a senior in high school. I work full-time. I run a family most evenings. I cook homemade meals because that's really important to me. Even if I travel a time I try to leave food prepared for my family because I feel that's important to me. So balance. It's a bit of a big word. But I try to when I can take some time for myself and I always tell that to women, at one point take time for yourself. I try to exercise I do yoga. That's my big, moment of relaxation. It's important to me. I used to run now I can't anymore but I do things like that for myself where I take care of myself. I always say when you cook for friends or family and usually people leave the best looking cookie for the guests. I always tell women take the best cookie put it aside for yourself. So the one everybody is gone, then you treat yourself to something and you feel good about yourself. So treat yourself too because as women

Can you tell me a little bit more about your pro bono work and how that fits into your life currently.

So first of all I'm part of the dams disco here, which I'm really proud of it. And that's one of the biggest basically non-profit for women in New York, but it's a Global Group and we collect money for scholarships for women in food. So I'm really proud of this and I just put out a book for them with amazing recipes from all the most famous women in the food industry and all the money goes to scholarship and through that. I met someone that invited me to be on the board of the metal. National menopause foundation and I just started serving these here and I'm incredibly excited about this work, it's such a beautiful group of women working to advance science and educate women about menopause. So, I started working with them. We were just in Washington last week talking about policies and research and it's a really exciting work and I'm excited because menopause until a couple of years ago was really a Subject for women and as we approach fifties, we don't know what's gonna happen and we don't understand the symptoms. And so, finally there is a group of women that it's working together to get data and Science and information out and I hope anybody that is in the market for that will go there is an amazing website that we are actually revamping. It's the national menopause foundation and you can find every information you want on that. You can read about the symptoms. You can download a free booklet in English and Spanish about symptoms and what to do. And so that's just the beginning.

 I mean that's one of the biggest problems is first of all menopause until again a few years ago was completely ignored and there was no studies of research or anything on it. Now there is a bit of a movement and people are working in doctors and scientists, but I think few symptoms everybody knows that maybe I don't know that your period stops or that you have hot flashes. But the truth is that there's so many symptoms. Like you said, there is brain fog and your skin gets really dry. Everything gets really dry. You forget things and these are all symptoms that you actually sometimes go to the doctor. They don't even know and the Eatery ignores you or they send you in a strange path and you get scared you think you're either Dementia or something else, but those are very regular symptoms that can be taken care of. They are pretty easy with the right approach.

What do you think that could be improved in the workplace to be able to support women during menopause?

I have a more open mind. First of all, there should be more women in the workplace. Let's start from there. it's time to finally make it where it's 50/50, I think we're getting there but not really but yes and then should be like an open situation where it's not shameful where it's an open thing is we as women need to also learn to talk about the fact that So there's nothing shameful about it, it's time to have a discourse. So, I'm right, we made big progress in the work.

Is about maybe having children, I mean not 100% but it's more accepted that I used to be embarrassing to be pregnant now finally is accepted, in the workplace. So we need to get to the point where also being menopause is accepted. We are life expectancies. Men and women so it's changed in our 60s. We're still working. I have children. I work all my life. I have teenagers. I'm 56. I love my work. I want to go to work and I want to be okay. So we need to discuss and not feel like we have to go hide.

What would you say are some misconceptions about women aging?

that you're not strong or that you lose your mental flexibility or is that it's not true. I feel we are at a different stage in life, Definitely we're more mature. at this age we have learned so much but through all these years  so we can give back a lot. I feel like it's the time where we should be the managers. We should be in the positions of a little bit like men control where you're mentoring the younger generation and I feel like we're still at the point where I was like, okay, it's time for you to retire go home but, it's not and so again that's a big discussion.

If there was just something that one piece of advice you would have loved to hear that you feel everyone should hear. What would be?

Just be yourself and go out there and always keep the best cookie for yourself.

But really don't lose track of your dreams or your passion because I think as women, it's really important. sometimes we lose track, you go through periods of your life where we're so busy we're working so hard sometimes we don't feel good. And so we lose track and life goes by so quickly. So try to take time for yourself, but also go back on track and see what's important to me and What is that I want. Once you start putting that into the universe and in front of your head, then sometimes you can get back on track and you can get what you want. But you have to get it yourself and want it.




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