Why Food Travel is a Must

With Celebrity Chef Nina Gross,

Food travel is one of the top reasons why people travel. It is after all the universal language that tells the story of the destination’s people and culture. 

Food tours are hella popular right now, do you know how to spot a good one? Or you should be considering when selecting an off-the-beaten-path destination versus a major city? In this episode, celebrity chef Nina Gross tells stories of her experiencing traveling through food and how she has worked her way into many kitchens to learn how to make local dishes. She also shares her recommended culinary travel destinations that include places you wouldn’t normally consider. And we also talk about how to go from being a picky eater to an adventurer. 

Chef Nina Gross recently launch Chew Your Health, an live online cooking school that will be traveling to 12 different countries through food. Through this program, you’ll get four plant-based recipes, live cooking classes, a shopping guide, a food journal, and membership to a community portal. Basically, it’s like you’re getting your food passport stamped each month. To sign up go to 

Info You Hella Want to Catch: 

  • Nina’s top recommendation for food travel destinations (15:30) 
  • Off-beaten-path vs major cities (6:00) 
  • 3 Tips for picking destinations for food (9:41)
  • Why food journaling is a MUST (34:50)
  • Tips on how to select a food tour (33:17)
  • Why you should travel with a wooden spoon (48:33)
  • Overcoming being a picky eater limiting your travel destinations (25:18)

Journal Prompts:

  • What are your expectations for this destination or a foodie experience?
  • What are you most excited about? ( it could be food to try or a tour you have booked).
  • If you could eat dinner anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  • What is the most memorable meal you had while traveling?



Full Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:06):

You're listening to the Hella Welll with Danielle show podcast, taking women of color on a journey, exploring, all things, wellness and travel related for all about showing you how to put on your oxygen mask first and creating lasting self-care habits that will free to travel the world and live the life you truly desire. And that one you have the fake loving. I'm your host, Danielle Washington. Now let's buckle up and start this journey. Hello. Hello.

Speaker 2 (00:33):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Hella Welll with Danielle podcast. I am Danielle Washington, your host, and I hope you are not hungry. Cause today's topic is everything about food and travel. Like I truly believe that food is the universal language is not English, it is food. Through food. Food is a reflection of the people who eat it. And through food, you can learn so much about someone's culture, the traditions, how they, how they're living there. You learned so much. And I, if you think about it and just do an exercise real quick, think about one of your favorite places. Like wherever you love to go out and close your eyes and think about your favorite spot and visualize it right now. I don't know why I'm visualizing being in Paris and I'm seeing a walking up the cobblestone roads. I see these beautiful buildings.

Speaker 2 (01:22):

I see the river and I see someone holding a baguette. And then I see a cheese store and I see you know, my favorite little bistro. I can have a couple of different things. I'd love to eat. I have to eat some red wine. I see people sitting, you know, under this red awning, people watching and food is a huge part of our travels. If you think about some of your favorite places, food is literally a part of what made that one of your favorite places. And I could not have this conversation with any other person than celebrity chef Nina Gross. She has miraculously found not only to get inside of them in these kitchens, in these hidden places and learning. She's actually learning from these people how to make the meals and getting the recipes. I'm all about like finding great places. But I have not thought about actually asking to get in the kitchen and learn how to make these things.

Speaker 2 (02:13):

So of course, I'm going to ask how she's doing it and what are places she should, that we should be going to for food trips. And I don't, I'm excited. I'm just going to stop right there. But the one thing I did want to say before we get started with the show is that again, I want to remind you that we are doing the masterclass on Ditching Survival Mode, so you can thrive that's happening Thursday, January 28th. So you can now go to the Hella Well with Danielle podcast. Um, both you can know that website and you can sign up for that right now. So, um, I'm looking forward to that class. It's really about helping us figure out am I in survival mode? What does it mean to be in survival mode and you know, what are the signs and how has it really affecting your life that you not be even realizing?

Speaker 2 (03:01):

And how can you get out of it? You know, right now is the time, you know, we had the new moon that was so powerful this week and you know, everyone's doing the resolutions and last week's podcast was all about, you know, forgetting your new year's resolutions and vision boards. But really more importantly, it was about how to forget how you're doing it or have you been doing it and change it. So you're more intentional about it, but like, I just want people to start this year off intentionally and not being like, Oh, this is the way it is. This is just the norm. We have, we have a way of changing it. You have a way of getting out of it. So I'm excited about the masterclass, but I'm more excited right now about this podcast with Nina. So let's get this party started. Thank you, Nina, for being on the Hella Well With Danielle podcast, how are you this morning?

Speaker 3 (03:49):

I am amazing. How are you?

Speaker 2 (03:51):

I'm doing well. I'm, we're about to talk about one of my favorite favorite subjects. Hi, I love food. And I think the one thing I love about travel the most is food

Speaker 3 (04:04):

Really travel, right? Well, I mean, there's other reasons, but like the main one is like food.

Speaker 2 (04:10):

Yeah, it is. And you know, I talk about this all the time that I'm so not a souvenir chic. Like I'm not the one to buy any souvenirs for people. So my family already has figured that out. Like, sorry, there's no gifts going to happen. But what I love doing instead of buying like little gadgets that you're going to throw in a drawer is I love having food experiences that I can bring back home. And so that's why I really wanted to have you on the show and talking about, you know, travel and food and where to go. But there's like, there's so many options out there it's difficult to choose. So how do you go about choosing the right food destination?

Speaker 3 (04:46):

I alllow my spirits to guide me? Um, okay girl, do I think I've been so many places and I've had great experiences everywhere. I've been, it's kind of hard to choose, but I, uh, a lot of times, um, sometimes it's what's trendy, but most of the time I'm one of those off the beaten path type of people you want to do what everybody else is doing. And I don't want to go where everybody else is going.

Speaker 2 (05:19):

You're a good point with that because you know, you have the option of off the beaten path or major cities and a lot of major cities. You look at Tokyo and Hong Kong and so many other places. There are some bomb restaurants. Like when I remember going to Japan, I discovered so many different other cuisines that wasn't Japanese food there. And like they were having with some of the best Italian food I'vd ever had.

Speaker 3 (05:42):

It's soul food restaurant in Japan owned by black people. And I think they had better soul food than I've had in the States. Oh my God.

Speaker 2 (05:54):

But that's true. So how do you pick between off

Speaker 4 (05:58):

The beaten path and major cities? Like what's the decision when you're going to a country?

Speaker 3 (06:03):

So a lot of it is the food for me. It is the food in this, the experience of like how close will I be able to get in the kitchen. How will I have the getting into the kitchen? I can't tell you all my secrets. Cannot tell you all my secrets. But because when you go to the major cities, you know, everything is more mainstream, right? There is no way humanly possible. You're just going to walk up to the chef and you're going to be like, Oh, can I see your kitchen? Or can I experience like, that's like coming to the States and going to Cheesecake Factory, right, and asking them, they're not going to do that. However, if you go to like, you know, certain parts of Singapore and maybe, um, the, the restaurant is small, maybe you get there at a certain time where it's at the beginning of service and it's very, very quiet. And you have the ability to, and you're pleasant. You must be pleasant, but you have the ability to interact with the servers with, um, normally those were types of restaurants don't even have servers. The chef is usually, or the cook is usually the one who is serving you. It's very family oriented and I'm very inquisitive. I'm always like, how do you make these, you know, these noodles? Or how do you, how does this brand look like? And then some old lady adopts me as her child and I become a part of the place. So

Speaker 4 (07:44):

I need to learn how to be adopted that thing I've been missing because I do talk and I'm very inquisitive, but I'm not at the point where I like, "how did you make these noodles?" I'm more of utilizing that as a stepping stone to learn more about the culture, the people and their lives. And then also utilizing that as a way to be like, "Oh, this has been amazing. What other places do you recommend? I should go?"

Speaker 3 (08:11):

You know, I can do that. But I also like what you just said, right? So you can dive into their culture. You can dive into, you know, like where they're from or whatever. But how about this? Like, let's say that you got, you had a lemongrass soup, right. And you're like, but where does the lemongrass come from? And then next thing, you know, they're, they, some child takes you by the hand, who's about approximately seven to 10 years old and leads you to this path of like all this fresh lemongrass. And you're like, now you could have never paid for that in a major city. You're not going to

Speaker 4 (08:50):

It's about the experience. And that's one thing I love about taking culinary trips is that it's more than just enjoying amazing food. It's, it's just more than that. It's more about opening the door to different cultures and learning how people live and just really diving deep in. And that's part of the reason why also like being more off the beaten path, because you get those experiences more, even if it's paid or not, but adding in the food to it. It's just a whole other thing. And the other thing I would also mention when you're trying to consider the right destination for a food trip is considering what else there is to do. Like your perfect thing you talked about as being led by a girl, allegedly, who is seven to 10 years old,

Speaker 3 (09:34):


Speaker 4 (09:37):

Field. Um, but having those other moments with like, you know, say you want to go to some off-the-beaten path, you know, is there a temple, is there something else? Is there a landmark or is there just something else that you want to see in that area is keeping that in mind, thinking about, you know, motor transportation and, you know, length, how long it's going to get there. And the most important part is budget.

Speaker 3 (10:00):

Oh my gosh, listen, when I was single, Ooh. When I was single and I went, I was 25, I will never forget that I was 25 years old and I was in the military and I was in Paris. And I was like, I think we got stuck there, but we had to stay for like two, three days because something was going on with the planes or whatever. And I was like, cool, okay. We're stuck here

Speaker 4 (10:27):

In Paris,

Speaker 3 (10:29):

Paris girls stuck in Paris. And it was so crazy because, okay. So yes, I was in the military, but my, we had, we were male dominated because I was with pilots and stuff like that. So it was mostly so, you know, they don't want to go to the red light district. They want to do, you know, all that type of stuff. The women wanted to go shop. I just wanted to eat. Right. It's Paris less about any of this. And it was, I think we went to a club one night and we had got invited. And for some reason in pairs, there's like, no, it's like a time warp. So once you start partying and eating and drinking is you forget what time it is. It was like 11 o'clock in the morning, the next day. But I remember like we had met these guys and then only one of us spoke French, which was not me. It was like one of the young officers I was with. And next thing you know, we're in this vineyard like drinking wine and you know what I like, and, and it's like a gift and a curse. So I like the fact that I can go, that we can go to these countries and they have all this history is saddens me the curse. And it saddens me that I can't do that culturally. Like, I can't go back to some place. And like, my family owns a vineyard or like all of them,

Speaker 4 (11:50):

I just read this article about this black girl who was raised here, and she's a princess from Sierra Leone. Right. That African Ancestry girl, you never know.

Speaker 3 (12:03):

And you know, we might've, you know, I don't know. I don't know what it was so fun. And, and like, we went from this club and then went to this vineyard and then we were eating. Like, it was just food and we were just eating and it was just fun. And we fell asleep. We woke up, we did make it back in time to the hotel. We did make it back. But like, that's something that I wouldn't get on a tour.

Speaker 4 (12:28):

No, you would never get that on a tour.

Speaker 3 (12:30):

Probably like fell in love along the way was one of them, because I mean, what guy takes you for parties and then a vineyard on the first day, you know? So the guy after my own heart,

Speaker 4 (12:46):

I mean, I love Paris. It's funny. I, one of my favorite trips to Paris was a layover. I had six hours on the ground. I'm making six hours. Am I shopping? Hell no, I'm eating favorite spots to go to. And I literally just went around town and ate at my different spots that I love eating ended my own food tour for six hours and made my way back to the airport in time to go to South Africa.

Speaker 3 (13:10):

It's beautiful when you can just experience. And then I think that a lot of people are like, Oh, I'm fearful of traveling by myself or the people who they are traveling with aren't the fun bunch, and you know, the fun people. So you can't necessarily, something stops you from experiencing the off the beaten path excursion. However, I feel like, I think I'm so secure in like being, I'm just, I'm just an introvert, but I'm like a happy one and extraordinary one. But so food brings the extraordinary part out of me. So I think we need to start relishing in the fact that we are these great humans who can travel the world, continent countries, States even now during COVID like you should, if I was single with no children, I would be all over the United States eating my way through 50 States. Like that's what I will be doing. It will be a blog. It will blow up and be major. And I mean, that's what I would do. And it would just be amazing. I feel like we have limited ourselves because, Oh, we think that, Oh, because we're not traveling overseas or abroad, like we're missing out, but have you ever had Nashville, barbecue and compared it to Texas barbecue?

Speaker 4 (14:33):

No, I haven't. But my family is from Texas. So I'm little partial.

Speaker 3 (14:39):

Have you ever had a taco Uh, how have you, have you have your head street food from New York versus street food from California? And say that right now,

Speaker 4 (14:52):

Ours is better, but you know, someone's gonna look at me like, I'm crazy. Cause you got pupusas on the street in San Francisco. That is bomb. I'm gonna let you have that one kind of, kind of, I mean, I don't eat the street hot dogs cause that looks sketchy and I'm not eatting them anyway, but the pupusas on the street you just don't understand and don't even get me talking about Mexican food so it's just not the same food. The question I want to ask is if you were to pick, let's say, I'm going to give you four. I'm going to give you some options. Give you four, five, five, five travel destinations where you're like, Oh my God, this is the place to go for a food tour and try to, you know, at least one in Europe, one in Asia, like anywhere in that, the other three could be anywhere else.

Speaker 4 (15:47):

Where would you pay? I don't like this game. Um, I would pick, I would definitely do Italy. Yeah. Italy has my heart living there to go down. But why do you say Italy? I know why I do being everyone who, anyone who knows me, knows I am an Italy is like my second home after living there for so many years. And it also, food plays such a huge part of it, but why for you? I like the relationship they have with food. Like what food does for them and how I just like the relationship. Like, it's almost like, have you ever taken a pasta class? Like the romanticism of how they're making? No. Cause I just had a roommate that would just like, like, Oh, are you hungry? Oh, I'm going to whip something up. And I'm like, I love you. He'd be like, Oh, I'm just going to whip some, you know, squash flowers with all these other things.

Speaker 4 (16:44):

And like, he's like this carbonara or whatever. It's like, Oh, you want some wine? I'm just going to open to this really amazing bottle that was like, hella expensive. And yeah, no food in Italy. It just, when I think of part of reason why I love at least so much, because it reminds me of all the memories. They reminds me of Sunday dinners at my ex-boyfriend's house where his mother swore I didn't eat beef and that I ate pork and every Sunday she'd make pork. And then the father would serve, fighting the sister, get into like, she doesn't eat pork. Why are you making pork? I thought she didn't eat beef. And it'd be this whole conversation to the point where I was like, look, I eat pork. That's how I started eating pork. Again was because of those Sunday dinners. I'm like, dude, how many times can you forget any of you really forgetting question Mark? No.

Speaker 4 (17:36):

Yeah. Yeah. I think when it's funny, when like living in Italy, I recognize that rabbit and piegon was common and I was like, no, we're not going to go that way. But we did we meet it was it wasn't the first couple of it was probably the, it was, I would say in the country probably for four months or so. I was in Southern Italy in Puglia. I was by myself and again, my, you know, the owners of the hotel that we're staying kind of took me under their wings and invited me to hang out with them. And they had this like family meal with their friends and they started ordering all these things and I'm like, I don't know anything. I can't understand the things that they're saying. But the one word I understood was cavallo I was like, we're about to order horse.

Speaker 3 (18:24):


Speaker 4 (18:27):

And like the other word I couldn't, I told myself I'd remember the words and the other word. I forgot what it is now. I forgot how to say it now, but the other one was sea urchin. I'm like, Oh, okay, first I'm having sea urchin. But I,

Speaker 3 (18:39):

I love Italy, well, one place I have gone to was, um, Doha, Qatar.

Speaker 4 (18:46):

And that's the off the beaten path. I don't think a lot of people think about, uh, Qatar as a location.

Speaker 3 (18:52):

Right. Another off-the-beaten, you know, I like Qatar? Let me tell you. So it was my 28th birthday. I think it was my 28th birthday. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Doha, which literally sits on a golf or whatever. All the islands look like animals like a turtle or a dolphin. Like they're all in these different shapes. Then I cannot drink orange juice. So that morning we had a brunch on the patio where the yachts wer. And I was like, well, I don't drink any of these juices. Like, is there a way that I can get like a guava juice or like fresh Apple juice or something? Or like pear, I don't just anything that is not orange or lemon or has citrus in it. And Muhammad brought me some Apple juice and it was, um, I looked at, I remember looking at it sideways, like, is this Apple juice?

Speaker 3 (20:02):

And I was nervous. And everybody at the table was looking at me because they had, you know, orange juice. And I was like, but what kind of Apple juice is this? It was the brightest green. And it had the foam at the top. And I remember drinking it. And I know at that moment I would never drink Mott's Apple juice ever again. I had to have, I was like, well, wait, um, how did you, how did you make this now mind you this is the Ritz. Carlton is in Doha. The women are not treated the same. Of course. I don't know how I got into that kitchen, but I've got in that kitchen. He showed me this juicer and I was like, Oh my God. When I got back to the States, nothing was ever the same. I changed. I was in the military. Mind you who knew that I would grow up and be this chef, but I remember throwing out all my appliances and I bought me a cold-press juicer. I remember going to the farmer's market in Maine. And I remember buying like all this fresh fruit, like everything was fresh. And after that we could never buy Apple juice or watermelon juice or any type of juice for that matter. My sons were four and seven years, four and a six years old and drinking out of wine glasses, cold pressed juices

Speaker 4 (21:30):

And drinking out of wine glasses.

Speaker 3 (21:32):

I lives have been changed forever. We are never going back to Mott's, you do not know who Mott's is, but Muhammad showed me a different way.

Speaker 4 (21:44):

That's awesome. I love that. And then again, now people would never, never put think of that as a destination. So that's two

Speaker 3 (21:51):

Oh, shopping. Okay. Correct. I'm going to say Maine really?

Speaker 4 (22:05):

I mean, outside of lobsters, what you got

Speaker 3 (22:08):

Specifically Camden, first of all, y'all just all y'all. Y'all think about lobsters but the fruit in Maine is ridiculous.

Speaker 4 (22:18):

Okay. I'm like, hold up sister, you said fruit, is it fruit, fresh in Maine? Or are they importing it from somewhere else?

Speaker 3 (22:26):

You can literally go and pick it yourself. And it's like a strawberry can be as big as my hand. The Apple picking the strawberry, the berry season in general. Um, I mean, and then people don't look at Maine because they're like, Oh man, it's cold. I liked it because I'm one of those people. I like to use that downtime as a time to like plan and meditate and just get my, you know, mental life together or whatever, which is why Covid doesn't bother me that much. But Maine, it was just one of those places where I was able to nurture my gifts and I was able to experience food different. Like I had never really been fishing. I was able to show fishing, but for lobster and crabs and scallops and mussels and oysters and all these things that a typical black girl from DC would never even experience even

Speaker 4 (23:25):

Crabbing like in like Maryland?

Speaker 3 (23:28):

Crabbing. Yeah. But like lobster?

New Speaker (23:31):

Yeah. It's a whole different ball game. But I figured in Maryland because we didn't crabbing or crawfish, whatever catching in Texas. And I'm like, Hmm, this is for the birds.

Speaker 3 (23:40):

And then like these fishermen, I remember one time I had made friends with, um, this mom and pop restaurant and they were telling me about this guy, like, if I really wanted lobster, I can go meet this guy at like five o'clock in the morning. Like, he'll give them to me for $2, but they didn't tell me that I had to go on the boats with the man and fish with like, they didn't tell me the whole story.

Speaker 4 (24:06):

Surprise. You actually have to work for this.

Speaker 3 (24:09):

So satisfying. So be like, so work for this. And then he wasn't like taking it into a kitchen and boiling it. Like he was grilling them. And I was just like, what the heck is this new phenomenon? So Maine is like, this place is very quiet. It's quite clean. But it was, it was like just that alone time. So kind of like get myself together and then even a chef experience to be able to go for like go fishing with a person who actually catches lobster on it. Like, this is his income. This is how he makes his money to have these stories. Like that experience alone was something that I never thought I would ever get. No, I loved that. It was great. Um, Oh my God. She makes my life so hard with these choices.

Speaker 4 (25:02):

I wanted to get people different variety because I feel like there's so many options. Like I think about so many trips that I made just because of food. Like for me, I went to Thailand. Oh wait, honey. I went to Thailand. Not because I like Thai food because I hated Thai food.

Speaker 3 (25:19):

Say what now? Yeah. Let's unpack this.

Speaker 4 (25:23):

Yes. I went to Thailand because I hated Thai food. And I'm like, am I the only black girl, that's slightly bougie, and doesn't like Thai Food? I think, I think I am. I'm the only one. I think I'm the outlier. And so there was like a cheap flight and love, you know, I love my last minute flights and it was around my birthday.

Speaker 3 (25:42):

Want to move so that I can just like catch those types of flights from over there.

Speaker 4 (25:47):

Are you kidding me? I mean, you're in no, you're not in Atlanta. I always think you're in Atalanta. Yeah. I always think you're in Atlanta. I'm like Atlanta has so many great flights. I mean, we don't, if you're an LA the flight deals a little bit better, but San Francisco is not as great. But yeah. So I decided to go and I was like, okay, I'm going to go to Thailand and see if I can like Thai food. And so I told myself, I'm going to be intentional about this every, at least every other day. Cause I was like, let's be real. I'm not going to kill myself. I'm going to try Thai food. And so, and try something new and different. And so I remember my first night there, I get there and there's like, this open market looks like this big festival going on, but it's just your typical market.

Speaker 4 (26:29):

They have whatever. And there's all this street food. And there's all these vendors with all making different things. And it looks interesting. But at the same time, I'm like, Oh my God, what am I going to eat? Am I really any off the street cart? This is really the clean am I going to get sick? I'm by myself. What can happen again? So part of the reason I should have backtracked further, I was a picky kid. In terms of food. My parents missed a flight from Hawaii back home because they tried to make me eat McDonald's I don't know why they were silly. I didn't eat McDonald's we all knew I didn't eat McDonald's and I don't know why they said it this morning in Hawaii before our flight that they were in trying to force me eat McDonald's breakfast. So it was like, um, no, boo, I ain't eating this. And so we missed a flight. So I've always been that picky kid and up to the point where even my first trip to Paris, I didn't like the food. And my parents were literally where I passed out. So my parents were like, literally shoving croissants and orange juice down my mouth in the morning. Cause like you going to eat, you're not going to pass out on this. This time

Speaker 4 (27:36):

I went to Thailand. So it was awhile ago. I went to Thailand and I was still picky, but I was more open because I'd lived in Italy by that point and had kind of Italy really pushed me forward in expanding my palette and expanding into trying new foods. But in Thailand I was like, okay, here we go. Here we go. And so I ordered like three different vendors and I tried most things. I was like, okay, this isn't bad. One thing is, I forgot what it was. I was like, Oh my God, this tastes like ass. I don't know what ass taste like, but I bet this is close. I'm positive that this is close. The great,

Speaker 3 (28:13):

Like the American palate is different from overseas. And a lot of restaurants that we have here, like one that bothers me to no end is the hibachi places is very Americanized. It's not what you would typically get. You know, if you go to these places, so when you have it here and then you go to these places, people are very jaded.

Speaker 4 (28:39):

We'll see. I was the opposite. Once I finally kind of found a good fit, I went to Chiang Mai and found this most amazing vegan or vegetarian vegan Thai restaurant. And it changed my life. I was like, Oh my God, I love Thai food. Oh my God, this is amazing. So when I came back, I'm like, this ain't my Thailand. This don't taste right. Like what? Like what is this that you're cooking?

Speaker 3 (29:01):

Americanize it like, even I remember, uh, when I went on a date one time, Oh my God. I was, I'm like the worst person to date because I judge you based on what you order that. So horrible. But I remember they say Island heat and I was like, Island. He ain't always hot. Like, I didn't know what, what that meant. And then like he was telling me, Oh, you know, like one, I said, it's in numbers. What is going on here? Like it was numbers one through five and like one was mild. And then five was extremely like Island heat. Right? So I remember him ordering a number one. And that was like, you cannot handle spicy food. You can not handle me. There's no way

Speaker 4 (29:50):

You cannot handle spicy foods. You can't handle me. I,

Speaker 3 (29:54):

This is a different version of spicy food. This is a tea. I said, this is a Thailand Americanized spicy food, which was like my ploy with smoked chili peppers. And you can't have, Oh, my I'm like the worst person. I'm the worst. And then he didn't want to have a plum wine and he didn't want to have Thai tea. And I was like, Oh, who are you? Like, I don't even know who you are. I don't know who you are. You're not the same person who I talked to on the phone yesterday when it comes to dating and food. That's horrible. Right. But no, because I cook a certain way also. So if you can't handle this restaurant crap, then how would you be able to handle the things that I cook in the kitchen? Like I definitely hear you. I got it. My Japanese bubble waffle maker out. I'm so excited.

Speaker 4 (30:47):

I will take you off the hook. Just one more location that you would recommend.

Speaker 3 (30:51):

One more location that I would recommend is Greece. Greece. I love Greece. I like that is very, for me, it was just very freeing and I got to eat a lot of, um, I liked their diets because, um, it's more pescatarian to me. I like the idea of small plates, anything on a small plate, I'm going to eat it. I don't care. And that was like my first time trying real sardines. I had not, I mean, my grandmother, when I was younger, you know, they used to get the sardines like in the, can they pop that? Can they just be, I'm like, what the hell on a cracker wit some hot sauce. What is going on there?

Speaker 4 (31:32):

My mother and I, she still does that to this day.

Speaker 3 (31:35):

Yes. To look at an actual sardine and then see it on like this grill with, and they make it and make it like a little, um, uh, hummus type of like a hummus with a sardine. And it wasn't crackers. It was a nice crusty bread with olive oil and these spices of oregano and thyme. And, and then you have these olives, like, it was just, I just love it. I just love Greece. And then I was so glad that, um, when I actually took a job in DC as a chef, chef Jose, Andreas has a rest of our called Zaytinya. Yeah. Okay. And Zaytinya, chef Jose Andres is not Greek at all, but let me tell you something about Zaytinya and this Turkish-Greek mashup, beautifulness that happens in his restaurant. Literally, you feel like you're walking into Greece.

Speaker 4 (32:26):

Wow. I can imagine his food is good. He has this. Um, or I don't know if he still has it, but he's had the secret restaurant in Vegas. I heard about that. Oh, it's bomb. So it's, it's called. It was called E I don't, again, I've been a Vegas and forever

Speaker 2 (32:40):

But I used to go all the time for work. And it was inside of another restaurant. It only sat eight people and it was a 23 course meal and it was just the most unique meal I've ever had in my life. And it was bomb. And I would say it was even better than, um,

Speaker 3 (32:59):

Well, what's that I love secret restaurants

Speaker 2 (33:03):

Even better than, um, was it French laundry? Which was 500.

Speaker 3 (33:07):

Oh yeah. Yeah. Don't do that. That's my husband over there. He don't know. He don't know, but

Speaker 2 (33:15):

When picking a food tour, what would you, are there any tips that you have for people if they're actually looking for there instead of just going rogue, the way you went, if they said to do an actual food tour on some of these places, do you have any tips for him?

Speaker 3 (33:29):

I would. Are you going by yourself or is this with a group?

Speaker 2 (33:32):

This could be anyone. And you know anyone of our listeners either probably travel both ways.

Speaker 3 (33:37):

Um, my tip would honestly be to, I would do some research first. I would, because like you said, like, um, you didn't like Thai food, but then you went to Thailand. Like it was it's different. It's, it's different. It is not, it is not an American thing is very different. And I will also pay attention to the flow of the culture because the way that we order things here is different than the way that you would order things in certain places. And that's highly important because what we might take as funny or pleasant, they might take as rude.

New Speaker (34:12):

Such a great point because I learned that in many places, uh, Japan being one of them, like I went on a lunch spot in Japan. I was like, Oh, okay. And then even in Italy, like, you know, when you don't want something, you wave your finger no and it's not a problem, but here, God forbid do that. People look, look at you are the rudest thing in the world,

Speaker 3 (34:31):

Right? So it's like, you want to learn the cultural, the cultural food language, right? Learn those. You want to make sure that you're honoring them, but at the same time, if it's something that you don't like or something that you wish more of, that you are gracious enough to ask for it in a way that does not disrespect them. Also, I would journal capturing the essence of what you ate in a, in, in, in a journal form is a great story to have, yes, we can keep telling these stories or, you know, you can tell the story, but imagine if you wrote all these stories down and then you have a granddaughter or grandson who's going overseas and you have these, these Epic and food adventures that you've taken. And they're able to experience that through your eyes. And then you're starting like this. And then also for yourself, think about how amazing it would be, you know?

Speaker 3 (35:25):

Yeah. You could take a picture of post iton Instagram, but what if you could take that picture and impression it into a book and then you've written this great story behind, you know, what happened? I remember I went to a, I think we were in Keflavik and I had just, we were going on, on tour on our like six months old was turned into nine months, but we were going on a tour and, um, I had just worked out with my boyfriend. Oh my God. Before I got on a plane, that waffle I had was probably the best waffle I had it. It just, food just speaks to you in a different way. And it's almost seemed like the people in there knew what was happening with me. I was by myself, I was in a corner, but I was enjoying this great Icelandic breakfast Americanized, you know, cause we were, we were American and we want our waffles and uh, but it came with champagne. I didn't know, we could have waffles with champagne. I thought, you know, yeah, my Mimosas, but just. It was just champagne. And, and then it was more champagne. And then they gave me like this, um, it was this wine that was made out of, uh, it was very sweet. It was made out of frozen grapes from Iceland. I was like, what is this? And then it just, it just remembering that and having those memories. Oh my gosh. It's great journal about your food experience.

Speaker 2 (36:49):

I think that's great. I think journaling is good. I also think, you know, before going somewhere creating a food list of items you may want, or like doing your research. I think doing research is key, but I think creating a food list of items you may want, you know, also not eating huge meals, like you're going around because if you've had like a huge breakfast or a lunch, whatever, when you're out and about trying different foods, by that point, you're like stuffed and you're like, Oh, I want to try it, but I'm stuffed. So I always recommend that. And I also recommend having your water hydrate it, but also the cleanser palette.

Speaker 3 (37:22):

Yeah. Keep water on you too because that, I think I call it a restaurant hopping. We went like restaurant hopping. And you don't want to have the taste from the last place in your mouth. No you don't. If you're like in Italy where everything's like, you know, pasta saucy, right. Or Paris where everything's buttery and rich, you want to be, yes, everything could be buttery and rich and pastas and sauces, but you want to be able to taste because maybe that family is from South Italy and the other restaurants family's from North Italy. So their red sauce is going to be totally different, completely different.

Speaker 2 (38:00):

And the other thing I'd also recommend is booking like on the first days you're going to do like a food tour. Cause it also helps you get again, the lay of the land and of the culture and you get recommendations. I always, you know, again, I can only emphasize this, ask the locals of where you should be going, besides where you are. I think that's so important. But one thing you talked about is like, you know, cleansing the palate and you know, the importance of water. I don't know if you've ever gotten sick from food. Um, and if so, while traveling, like what are your tips or things you always bring with you to make sure like, whoops, that didn't agree with my stomach. Oh my gosh.

Speaker 3 (38:37):

I've never gotten sick.

Speaker 2 (38:39):

Love you. I can't say the same. Unfortunately it was my 30th birthday in a Ibiza.

Speaker 3 (38:48):

Want to go to the place that I've been dying to go. I just want to party for days.

Speaker 2 (38:53):

Yeah, I did too. I got food poisoning. I was sick for weeks because I remember being in a Ibiza and having issues with my child partners. I ended up leaving them and went to go stay with my friend Cato who has pretty much like this mansion in London, which I love him. And I was so sick that I couldn't keep even water down. Like everything just kept flowing through me. At the time I didn't have medical insurance. Cause I was living in Italy. Was I living illegally? I was still legal then, but I didn't have medical insurance at the time. I don't know why

Speaker 3 (39:28):

Child best,

Speaker 2 (39:31):

But like, and also I remember on our, on our last South Africa trip for Rogue Experiences and a lot the girls got sick and I forgot we were at this one winery and I didn't eat whatever the ate, but someone else there was like, you know, a significant amount of them that got sick. And we had to go to, some of them had to go to the emergency room. So I always make sure that I have, uh, uh, uh, prescription of Cipro, which has the antibiotic, um, on me. I was bring like Imodium I'll bring active charcoal, which is really good for many different things. Um, and just the basics, bitters, bitters and ginge ale. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (40:10):

Bitters and ginger ale will get rid of a headache, migraine and whatever parasites flowing in your body to make you sick. And I learned that from a bartender in Oh Amsterdam. Yeah,

Speaker 2 (40:26):

It's smart. I do use bitters. It's when I'm like, I love bitters. I love like Fernet, which was one of my favorite drinks for me Fernet reminds me of being in Argentina though, San Francisco has the largest consumption outside of Argentina. Shocking. I don't know why, but that's the case, but I drink bitters and I would go to bars and I wasn't feeling well. And I'm just, can you just get me like heavy bitters and some water and I'll be good. And so I think that's a great recommendation. People don't think about that. It's so easy to access that unless you're

Speaker 3 (40:55):

really off the beaten path. And it's like at every single bar, every bar has bitters and they have some kind of seltzer or a ginger ale. If you don't want to sometimes some ginger ales have a sugar in it, or you could do a ginger beer with bitters that also works, but it's the anti inflammatory. The ginger is. And then if they're making it fresh. Yes, of course. I remember where were we? I can't remember where we were, but it was like a limonello with ginger in it and it was so good.

Speaker 2 (41:36):

Interesting. Cause I'm like, I, I'm not a fan of, I love grappa, but I can't stand Limoncello.

Speaker 3 (41:42):

Uh, it wasn't like sweet, sweet. The family made it had to be in Italy, but the family was making made. That's what they were known for the women. But they also may like different Italian sodas too. So yeah.

Speaker 2 (41:56):

So, you know, in the beginning we talked about the fact that I am not a souvenir girl and I like to bring travel experiences home. So one thing that we always do in most of our Rogue Exoeriences trips that will have a cooking experience that will like, you know, in Cuba, we went to some, you know, grandmother's house and literally who didn't speak any English. And we like, she, she taught us how to make these amazing meals and we've done the same thing in Greece and, and other places. And I know that you have this bomb program is to kind of help bring these travel experiences into the house. Can you talk about your, um, cooking school that you have starting up in January?

Speaker 3 (42:33):

I am so excited about Chew Your Health Live cooking membership. How crazy was it that this came about because I taught a cooking class for a friend of mine. She was like, you need to teach these all the time. And I was like, yeah, but, uh, she was like, but do it your way. And I don't know what happened, but as soon as she said, do it your way. I instantly thought about traveling the world virtually through food for 12 months. Like I, it just, I was like, I feel like that's what needs to be done. Yeah, it has. It has to be, you can't go anywhere. It has to be.

Speaker 2 (43:16):

We right now. And lot of people are fearful what traveling, but you know, they want that travel experience. And I think traveling through food is such a great way doing it. So I know that you're doing, you know, it's, uh, every week there's a session or is it,

Speaker 3 (43:29):

Um, every month we are going to a different country. And I just announced this morning that we're going to Greece. So what's going to happen is, uh, before of course class starts January the sixth, but before class starts, you're going to know what's your spice rack needs to look like for class. So you'll have a list of spices that you should have to create an optimal food experience through Greece. You're going to get four recipes. So you get one recipe we're going to do a week live. You get that, a replay of that. You get the shopping guide every Sunday, you're getting a shopping guide with the recipe that you don't even have to print the shopping guide out. You can literally go on your Instacart, your ships or whatever you have order your groceries and just have them there. The reason why I did one country a month is because it makes it easier for people to shop. You don't want to go to Japan this weekend next week, we to Italy. And then you have all this excess and I'm really big about less waste in the food department.

Speaker 2 (44:38):

I think that's great.

Speaker 3 (44:39):

Yeah. And then all that. And then the other great thing is that all the dishes are plant-based. So it doesn't matter what cultural place they were going to, what continent country we're going to, we're going to keep it plant-based because I think that it's simply easy for you to throw a piece of salmon, chicken, whatever you want on top of it. But I feel like people have gotten a little bored with the vegan plant-based and they need more options and they need a little bit more creativity and to be able to create these dishes without stress, right. Because that's what happens. We're going on, Pinterest. We're getting these recipes and then we're like, Oh, it looks good. And it says, it's easy. And then you see an ingredient that you do not recognize or know, and then caputs you order from UberEATS. So I'm just trying to make it a little bit more fluid and exciting and get people back in the kitchen.

Speaker 2 (45:37):

No, I love that. And I love that you're doing like each month they get another passport. So it's like, you're getting your passport stamp for food. And I love that. It's also plant-based because as someone who is vegan ish, I feel like I do have a hard time finding things to eat. Like even I was talking to my cousin yesterday, I was like, yeah, I'm just having another type of salad because I was too lazy to cook something else. I mean, I, you know, I know how to make other things. It just didn't, I didn't want to take the time to make something else. And so that's what I was having with another salad. And sometimes you just kind of get bored with those things.

Speaker 3 (46:09):

It drives people crazy because they're like, Oh, it's just easy for them to resort to the salad. Right. But you get so bored of the salad or zucchini.

Speaker 2 (46:25):

Yeah. You do. You do. You do. So we have part of Hella Well with Danielle and Rogue Experiences we have a special code that we'll put in there. It's, whatever the Bitly thing is. And then it is go rogue with food. We'll make sure to put that in the show notes as well. Um, but it starts January 6th and it's a monthly program, correct? Yeah.

Speaker 3 (46:48):

This is a monthly subscription, uh, program. So every month I've already thought about what we're doing in year two though. And it definitely includes you and you're going to be so excited.

Speaker 2 (46:59):

I'm already a member y'all very excited and Greece again is one of my favorite places for food. The reason why I love Greece is because like Italy, it takes the most simplest ingredients and makes it into this amazing, magical moment. And so I love, I can't wait to see where you're going to do, because I know you are not my basic B, so I can't wait to see you and heard that on that list. So I totally love that. So again, we'll sure that we put the link into the group for that, into the show notes for this. How else can they find you on social?

Speaker 3 (47:37):

So you can find me literally anywhere, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook clubhouse as Chef Nina G.

Speaker 2 (47:45):

Okay. It keeps it simple. Keeps it simple and easy. Luckily your is easier because mine is not as it doesn't work out. So like Twitter, I'm like Hella Well Dani, which I hate the name, Dani. So it is what it is. All right. So at the end of every show, I love to ask like four quick fire questions. It's a, whatever comes straight to mind, just answer away.

Speaker 3 (48:07):

Oh God, hopefully it's Hella Well in there. So,

Speaker 2 (48:12):

All right. So the first one, which is interesting that you said that is, so what does living Hella Well mean to you?

Speaker 3 (48:20):

That means having my mental, spiritual, physical, and financial world together in whatever capacity that means for me

Speaker 2 (48:31):

Aisle or window? Window. What's always in your travel bag? A

Speaker 3 (48:35):

wooden spoon to stir things

Speaker 2 (48:39):

I have to admit. Um, that is the first time I've heard someone say they carry a spoon with them. What do you see that can confuse? What are you stirring?

Speaker 3 (48:51):

Okay. So let's say I go someplace like there's this restaurant and they make this sauce and I'm going, I always get a room. That's like a suite or Airbnb where I have a kitchen because I am going to try to repeat that. And I know that I need to have like wooden spoons or something like that because metal will change the color texture and feel of a sauce because it causes a chemical reaction within pots. So I always, it doesn't matter where I go. Like there's a set of five to six wooden spoons in my bag

Speaker 2 (49:21):

Bomb. I love it. I love it. New carry a wooden spin with you when you travel case you're making a sauce. In the last question I have is, you know, it was part of Hella Well with Danielle. We're creating this wellness revolution for women of color to get them to start putting an oxygen mask. First can take care of themselves and making self care. It's not putting themselves on the back burner. What advice would you give to your younger self to be a part of this movement and to really get into that living of hella well?

Speaker 3 (49:52):

You need you more than anyone else will ever need you.

Speaker 2 (49:56):

I love that. It is. I thank you so much Nina for being here and I can't wait to January 6th. Um, we're obviously recording this a little bit earlier, but you know, I can't wait for people to join the food challenge that you're doing. Chew Your Health. And I am so excited for Greece and the country is coming up more. And for everything that you do, um, you are an amazing celebrity chef, and I'm so grateful to have you as a friend and as a chef. And by the way, I should've mentioned that Nina, it makes them the most amazing meals that I've had. So I just, I, I can't wait. So thank you so much. All right, we'll talk to you guys later. Have a good afternoon.

Speaker 1 (50:41):

Thanks for joining us this week on the Hella Well With Danielle show, make sure to visit our website, where you can subscribe to our show on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon music, and never miss an episode. Also, you can follow us on social media at Hella Well WithDanielle on Facebook and Instagram and Hella Well Dani on Twitter manipulate hella hella hella loved the show and got some good nuggets out of it. Know that I'm not too proud to ask for you. Please leave a rating or review on iTunes so that we can continue to expand our reach and help other women of color. Again, thanks so much for listening and I hope to see you next week. Ciao.