10 minutes with… Antonina Parker

Nina is a chef, author of 3 best-selling cookbooks, food writer, founder of the Saucy condiments range and all-round manifesting superwoman! She has worked in London’s top restaurants and has a private client roster that includes Donatella Versace. She is the epitome of someone who has created a life based on her passion by stepping out of her comfort zone and into her power to follow what lights her up. She’s so authentic on social media and also shares my passion for France and Italy, so I couldn’t wait to hear from her.

We talk about what she would tell her 15-year old self, her advice if fear is stopping you from pursuing your passion, the experiences she has learnt the most from and the words she lives by.

Quickfire questions

Typical breakfast: always a berry smoothie during the week.  Basically where I get my fruit intake.

Morning routine: the ideal morning routine is meditate for 20 mins, do 15 mins yoga or run and affirmations.  This goes out the window at the weekend though.

Favourite place in the world: Port Grimaud in the South of France with my family and friends.

Favourite type of food: pasta!

How you spend your free time: I love playing tennis and painting.

What you’re reading: trying to get into 9 Perfect Strangers for the second time.

Favourite type of food to cook: vegetarian.

Go-to hot drink: cappuccino with oat milk.

Your style: laidback, sporty and mini skirts.

Wellbeing tips: water, sleep, probiotics, cold water swimming, great podcasts, veggie diet, yoga….the list is endless.

Self-care ritual: face masks are my vice!


Your 3 defining moments in life so far

Firstly, great question!  My year abroad in Madrid was a very special time and I made some of my all-time best mates over the year.  I think living in a foreign country is so important and I love learning about other cultures and languages.  This is something that I have continued to do throughout my work today. Secondly, my time spent working at L’Anima in Liverpool Street.  This was my first job in a kitchen and where I cut my teeth.  I learnt so much from the chefs in this kitchen and I am still friends with some of them today.  This is where I found my calling in life to work in food and my passion first started.  Lastly, when I got my book deal for my St Tropez and Capri cookbooks.  This felt like a massive achievement and I felt like I had won the lottery.  The feeling of pure joy and elation when I got the call from my agent was unforgettable. You don’t get that feeling often in life and it was incredible!

The advice you would give to your 15-year-old self

Start the wellbeing journey early!  I wish had learnt meditation and all of the good stuff when I was at school.  It would have been helpful.  Luckily I can now teach it to my niece and nephew!

Your life motto, mantra or words you live by

It seems impossible until it’s done. 

What would your advice be to someone who knows what they’re passionate about but fear is stopping them from taking action? 

Feel the fear and do it anyway !  Also YOLO, it’s something I’ve always lived by.  I’m half Polish and there is a similar sentiment that my mum used to tell me growing up, “Live like you’re going to die tomorrow”.   Full disclosure, I’m actually not someone who worries a lot or at least I feel I can control it if I do and doing all those wellness things has made a huge difference.  Everyone needs a “toolbox” of things they can do to get them out of a bad mood.

What would your advice be to someone who isn’t sure what they want to do in life? 

Do what you love and money will come later.  I truly believe that!  It’s what I did!  I had zero connections in the food world and worked hard and somehow made it into a career because I put myself in front of the right people.  Working in something you love breeds ideas and I believe this helps you find the right path for you. It naturally opens doors up!

The hardest thing you’ve ever done 

Self-publishing my own book Saucy last year is definitely up there.  There are lots of tricky sides to my work but the last 3 months before publishing was very stressful and I put so much pressure on myself sometimes that I gave myself panic attacks. It’s wasn’t cool and that is something I’ve tried to be better at.  This is when the negative sides of social media come into play and you start comparing yourself to others and what they are doing.  Despite this, I’m so glad I did it and it’s out there.  I broke even with it recently and that also felt pretty amazing.  It can be hard doing something solo but when it goes right, there is a huge sense of achievement. 

Your goals in life 

Get my product range out into the world and hope that people will love them.

The biggest lessons you have learned in life

  • Always follow your gut instinct.  
  • Take the holiday and don’t feel guilty because life is for living.  
  • What other people think of you is none of your business.
  • Surround yourself with good people and loose the lead balloons. Preferably keep the ones who laugh at your jokes.
  • Try not to make assumptions about people, everyone is doing their best.
  • Be open and you will always have adventures!

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