Silvia Baldini is an Italian-born chef and entrepreneur. She started out as a successful art director in New York before attending Le Cordon Bleu in London where she achieved the Diplôme de Cuisine. Among her many achievements, Silvia founded Strawberry and Sage, an innovative culinary think tank, has recipes and articles featured in multiple publications and won Chopped, the award-winning show on the Food Network.
Silvia's passion for food comes from her upbringing, being surrounded by quality ingredients and people who respect good food.
“I was born and raised in Turin, Italy; a town where the bond to your own family is as strong as the one for beautiful food and good wines. Following a distinguished and award-winning career as an art director on Madison Avenue, I enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu in London. I wanted to make a change in the way people eat and think about food. I’m convinced we need to teach people to get back into the kitchen, to learn to cook again and to appreciate wholesome ingredients. I felt I had to upgrade my skills and became a classically trained chef in order to truly advocate and teach others about wholesome food.”
Silvia decided to complete her culinary training at Le Cordon Bleu in London. She was drawn to the city and impressed by the school.
“I chose the London school because it is in a vibrant and cosmopolitan city. I also loved the idea that classes are in English. I owe a lot to Le Cordon Bleu; from day one I felt I was part of a professional environment, surrounded by the brightest and best in the business. I loved the hands-on approach and I still cherish, consult and carry with me the recipe books from the lectures with all my nerdy and meticulous notes. The skills learned at Le Cordon Bleu became my launching pad for my first experiences in the kitchen of great restaurants. I was hired to work at The Ritz the day after I graduated, and from there I had the opportunity to work under some of the best chefs in Europe and in the US.”
Although she decided to change career paths, Silvia’s background as an art director still influences how she works now.
“I worked for many years as an art director building and growing large brands. Being an art director got me to think visually and artistically and turned me in to a problem solver and a business leader. I ran an advertising agency creative department with teams and hundreds of people. I now use these skills to run my own business and to keep my own brand fresh and consistent.”
Silvia used this experience and her Le Cordon Bleu training to build her culinary empire and work with companies with sustainable practices;
“I founded a food tech accelerator and an online olive oil company in the USA. I work with a lot of food, food tech and companies that are developing products that benefit the circular economy and our planet. I’m very lucky and proud of the effort we are making at my company to revolutionize the food of the future. I’m a Chopped Champion of Food Network and a sought-after speaker. I have grown into a leadership role in the food world and work to build food brands that believe in circular economy and in giving back to the community. My days are BUSY! And fun. I juggle many aspects and roles and I multitask a lot. I don’t sleep much!”
Despite her busy schedule, the difference her work makes keeps Silvia going.
“My inspiration comes from seeing very young people taking on important issues about food and sustainability and wellness, coming up with brilliant ideas and new concepts to make our world a better place. I am passionate about mentoring; you should never stop learning and being able to create and be inventive.”
- What advice would you give to someone looking to follow in your footsteps?
Never stop learning. Be nimble, humble and always listen to the advice from experienced leaders. The food industry is taking the world by storm and it will be a catalyser for the new generations.
- What does Le Cordon Bleu represent for you in one word/sentence?
Le Cordon Bleu was my first step to become the successful person I am today.
- Finally, what are your plans for the future?I want to keep learning and being curious and surprised by what’s next, at the same time I want to relish the past and respect the wonderful food traditions I grew up with!
If you'd like to follow in Silvia's footsteps, you can read more about our Programmes and Courses here