Today we’d like to introduce you to Chef Camille Bernardi.
Chef Camille, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Since I was very young, most of the memories have been in the kitchen. My entire family would get together every week just to cook and spend time together. My grandma was a baker and my aunts took after her. My uncle was a chef and owned his own Argentinean style catering and my cousins went to culinary school. Although they all were into cooking, the one who inspired me the most was my dad. My dad was the Chef of his own Argentinian-Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, California. He eventually closed his restaurant, but he made sure to keep cooking. We would make all kinds of food together. One of my biggest memories was making his famous pizza crust in our garage and packaging it to sell it to nearby restaurants. My dad would walk into every kitchen and market and get recognized by the entire city. He was known as one of the best chefs in the valley.
At the age of eight, my family decided to move from Los Angeles to Miami to fulfill his dream to re-open my dad’s restaurant. He opened his restaurant in Coral Gables before we even moved into our house. I remember spending a lot of my time there helping him when he would be making bread or pizza crusts. He would give me a piece of dough and I would make little shapes and mini pizzas. He would put it in the oven and when they were ready, I would pass them around to the kitchen staff. I always enjoyed the reaction of seeing people eat something I made.
A few months later, my dad passed away. It was a very hard time for my family. My mom had to close down the restaurant and our family was torn. As the years passed, my mom would work and my brother and I would stay home. I would always cook little things for my brother and I. As more years passed, I kept cooking and learning new thing from watching the food network, especially Bobby Flay and Rachel Ray. In middle school, I took home economics where I learned how to make rice crispies and biscuits three years in a row. Eventually, in high school, I began taking the cooking elective. I ended up becoming president of the culinary club and winning first place in our first cooking competition. I would always make my teachers and the principle my “famous” shrimp ceviche which they still remind me about to this day. I would invite people over my house just to eat pasta and fried rice before Cheerleading practice or a game or even a party. At the beginning of the senior year, my passion had grown and I decided I wanted to go to culinary school and applied to Johnson & Wales University. It was the only school I applied to and fortunately, I got accepted. There my passion just grew even stronger. I learned more than I ever thought I could. Not only about culinary but about management, marketing, and event planning.
I did my internship in Area 31 in downtown where I got offered the job. After a few months of working there, I started realizing I didn’t enjoy the restaurant industry. I had the best chefs around me but I didn’t enjoy not being able to create my own recipes. It made me wonder what I really wanted to do. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelors in Culinary Arts and Food Service Management, I started to realize I wanted to really work for myself. I began making meal preps from home for friends and family and worked with a few private chefs where I began to build my passion for working for myself. A year later, I am now a Private Chef working to travel and cook around the world. I could not be more grateful for what I do.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I was always very close to my dad. I always enjoyed helping him cook and build things. We have a very special bond. My father dying was one of the hardest things for me. I never got to learn as much as I wanted from him. I just knew I had the passion for the kitchen and I had to keep pushing to make him proud. I am lucky I had the strongest mother to help me become the person I am today. She helped me by supporting my passion and making sure I accomplished my dreams.
Another thing was when you think of becoming a chef, people expect you to work in restaurants and be a line cook. I struggled with not enjoying working in the restaurant industry. I wanted to quit cooking so many times. I felt like I had chosen the wrong career even though I knew how happy cooking made me. I always wanted my own restaurant but it is much harder to do. I then realized that by becoming a private chef, I get to do some of my favorite things, Cook, travel, and visit beautiful houses and kitchens and best of all, create my own recipes. I get to do everything I love.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I work as a Private Chef located in Miami, FL although my goal is to travel and cook around the world. I cook for private events like anniversaries, surprises, honeymoons, birthdays, or if you are on vacation and just want a chef. We work together to create the menu and then I shop, cook, clean, set the table and serve all in the comfort of your own home or hotel. My menu is made special for every client wants and needs.
I love creating every recipe with my own twist. I enjoy creating foods with a little spice and pop of freshness, my specialty is Argentinian food, including everyone’s favorite, Chimichurri, and mostly Asian or South American inspired dishes. I love to mix flavors and recipes from around the world to create the perfect dish.
I have always seen how people are brought together by food and I am proud enough to say that I can be part of bringing people together and making people happy. I strive to make sure all my clients have an incredible experience and are satisfied with everything. I make sure my passion shows in all I do. I love cooking so the fact that I get to have my hobby as my career makes me really lucky.
Any predictions for the industry over the next few years?
There is something to constantly learn in the kitchen. Where your ingredients come from, who your competitors are, new ingredients, equipment, techniques. The industry is constantly changing. I believe in 5 years there is going to be more sustainable farming and a lot more fusion cuisine.
More places are using local ingredients or growing their own. From rooftop gardens to little plants in the restaurant. Chefs are starting to become more conscious as to where their ingredients are coming from. In five years, I believe more chefs will begin using more local ingredients. Also, much more fusion cuisine. Most chefs enjoy mixing different ingredients and recipes to create an incredible new dish. I believe traditional food is going to start getting lost and the fusion food is going to take over.
As for private chefs, food delivery companies are making it more difficult when someone can just order food from any restaurant. It can make it harder for a private chef but nothing can take the experience of having your own chef cook your meal to perfection in front of your eyes.
- Website: www.ChefCamilleBernardi.com
- Phone: 305-924-6055
- Email: ChefCamilleBernardi@gmail.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chefbernardi/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChefCamilleBernardi/