Coffee And Pastry

Good Morning from Milan Everybody! My name is Justine and this is my first official post on LITTLE MISS LOCAL!

Just to give you some background information, I’m 25 years old and I’ve finally mustered the guts to take on a new project that I’m passionate about: FOOD MEDIA. On paper, my qualifications in the food industry may be minimal, but I am quite resourceful.

My brain navigates by way of hunger. Everything I do revolves around food. I grew up on the East Coast, wandering into some of the best kitchens/bakeries in Manhattan and some of the most unique/local finds that New Jersey has to offer. I loved life on the East Coast, but I was itching for a change.

In 2009, I accepted an English Teaching Position at a Bilingual School in Northern Italy. I mean, I’ve always been adventurous but this has to be the most spontaneous/best decision I’ve EVER made in my life (so far)…

At the time, moving across the ocean wasn’t my main concern, I was mostly concerned about what I’d eat since my Mom wasn’t going to be there to cook for me, and ordering food from a restaurant was somewhat problematic… my Italian vocabulary consisted of: Ciao! & Grazie!

Times were rough at the beginning. I was living on PB&J’s and aperitivos* for a month… and I came to point where I just refused to eat another cold meal. So, I decided that it was time to grow up and take initiative. I called upon new friends to show me the easiest/peasiest recipe in their cookbook and started cooking.

September 12, 2009 marks my first attempt in the kitchen. The first recipe, “Aburgine” involved eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, olive oil and 2 vegetable cubes. To begin, my friends told me to cut the eggplant… I picked it up, looked at it and responded, “How?”

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this was an eye-opener for me as well. (But seriously, they gave me the strangest shaped veggie on the table.) For the past 23 years I was only exposed to restaurant menus, take-out and Mom’s cooking. Pathetic? You bet!

Two years have passed since that September afternoon, and it feels as if I’ve turned the page to  discover a brand-new chapter in my life; my ‘Restaurant Italian’ has become fluent, I’ve been cooking in my own kitchen, visiting local markets on a weekly basis, purchasing my fruits and veggies from local vendors, experimenting with recipes and learning how to cook/run a restaurant under Head Chef, GianPiero of Turne Monza.

I’m currently based in Monza, Italy and plan to work my way around the globe, introduce myself to locals, and find the best food/treats at the right prices. Some cooking/baking may happen along the way but that is not my focus for this project. I decided to create LITTLE MISS LOCAL // curiosity meets craving  to share my excitement, knowledge and discoveries about local gastronomy to fellow food enthusiasts. I’m taking 1 year off from my ‘9-5 job’,  so I can focus and develop a career in gastronomy… let’s see what happens!

*Aperitivos: Usually from 7-8:30pm, bars will host a free buffet with the purchase of ONE alcoholic drink (yes, it’s pretty awesome and you can totally substitute aperitivo for dinner depending on which bar you’re at). Some bars are more generous than others- most times you’ll find cold plates with finger sandwiches, grilled veggies, egg frittatas, little pizzas, etc., on occasion you may find hot pasta dishes, and other times you’ll just find potato chips/crisps and peanuts. 


If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!