Eat, meet, live and learn. Sharing stories for everyday food and health.

Meet Foodadit – Nina Wagner

  • Nina Wagner Foodadit team
On 1st July 2015

Nina Wagner has a natural ability to rustle up meals that are both nutritious and full of flavour. By following her natural instincts, Nina creates recipes that are sensitive to how people’s bodies react differently to food and she’s been impressing the rest of the Foodadit team with her innovations.

Where did you learn to cook?

My mother was always very passionate about food, so I collected ideas from her growing up. Her side of the family has some Italian influences and my grandmother adopted a couple of Tibetan children, so I grew up with a mixture of Mediterranean meals as well as Asian fusion since our family extended out as far as Tibet. When I moved away from home and I was shopping for myself for the first time, I started to look at food differently and began to experiment. I used a lot of my friends as guinea pigs, and they didn’t seem to mind!

Where does your inspiration come from?

I don’t follow recipes closely, even with baking I tend to go by feeling. There are two things that inspire me, the first being photos of food or watching food programmes on TV, and the second is trying to make a meal from the bare minimum of ingredients. The amount of times my boyfriend has looked in the kitchen and said something like ‘there’s not enough there, we can’t make anything’ and then I just get creative and make something different using what we have. I enjoy a challenge, and it really gives me the chance to experiment and try something new.

When your kitchen is more fully stocked, what kinds of ingredients do you enjoy using?

Some of the ingredients I use the most are sea salt or Himalayan salt, fresh chili, ginger, garlic, olive oil and most importantly – lemons, lemons and more lemons.

Lemons are my secret ingredient and they just add sparkle to anything.

I love working with lentils for soups, salads and stir fries. I also go through phases, for example I am currently making loads of meals with different types of beans – they’re so versatile. Regardless of what I feel like cooking or eating, my diet consists of very little processed food, maybe some white flour from time to time, but nothing that comes out of a packet. I like to know what has gone into my food.

What do you try and avoid eating?

I like to eat healthily, but for me it has to go much deeper than this. I also pay attention to where ingredients come from and how it has been produced. A lot of the things we see as healthy have been flown halfway round the world or sprayed with chemicals. I think it’s quite tricky to find a balance – it can sometimes be difficult to find produce that is local and organic. Organic vegetables are also not cheap. Not everyone has a choice because of the huge price difference. In other parts of the world so many people have to eat things that are genetically engineered, giving huge corporations power over people. In an ideal world, we’d all be able to eat local, organic food, but as that’s not always possible, I’d go for regional produce over organic in a pinch, and I try and support small farmers wherever possible.

What advice would you give to people for finding the best ingredients?

I think the best guide is to eat food that is in season in your region. This does mean that we can’t necessarily have the same things all year round, but in a way that makes things more exciting.

It can also be fun to grow your own vegetables, and that way you can tell what’s been put into it. There’s also much more variety to what you can grow. For example with tomatoes, in the supermarket there’s always the same three or four types available, all mass produced and they all taste the same. There is so much more variety out there, with different colours, shapes sizes and they all have these incredible flavours.

/ Berlin
Article by Alastair Coates
Pictures by Kasia Zacharko

Nina Wagner
Nina Recommends

Supporting local farmers markets