My Expat Story: Jill DiGiovanni

Here at Global Living we want to connect with our readers — know what you’re all about, what you love, where you’ve been and where you’re going. The best way to do this? Hear it straight from YOU!

We received an email from Jill DiGiovanni, founder of CHEFinBERLIN, who told us about her expat and travel experiences.

What’s your favorite part of expatriate life?

My favorite part of expat life is meeting people from other cultures and learning about their experiences, their countries and their history.  Because food is my passion, I am curious about their fruits, vegetables, spices and other ingredients that I’ve never heard of or tasted before.  Initially the hardest part was trying to figure out different ingredients. Once I made the decision to not look for exact ingredients I was able to find substitutions and rework my recipes with “local” ingredients. I’ve noticed that some expats have a difficult time adjusting to their new surroundings because they somehow expect things to be the same.

Where have you lived around the world? Favorite places?

I’ve lived all across Canada, a number of American states, and spent many years living on water as chef for a company that transported ocean cargo. I like to move and the job gave me the ability to work and travel at the same time. It was very interesting so see the differences in people from province to province and state to state.

Where do you want to move to eventually?
There are still a lot of places to visit before deciding where I want to move to eventually.  The world is a huge playground and perhaps I haven’t visited my home-sweet-home yet.  Most European cities are just a train or plane ride away, et voila, you’re in another country meeting new people, learning about their cultures, and sharing their culinary delights. I have a fondness for Italy, particularly eastern Italy over the Gran Sasso mountains.  It’s the escape where Italians go for holidays. The white sand beaches and the climate are spectacular.

What’s your sense of ‘home’?

Home is a place where one lives. I’m in Berlin at the moment so this is home right now. It’s a great city with a good vibe, a huge amount of green space, great cultural diversity, and it’s clean and safe. There is so much to see and do. My busy clientele is mostly comprised of expats and I help them create amazing parties. As a result I get to go to the best parties! For the most part, my cooking school caters to expats however more and more locals are becoming interested in my plant-based menus and style of cooking. I particularly enjoy teaching people kitchen skills so that they have the confidence to cook like the chefs they see on TV.

Share anything else you’d like us to hear!

If you’re moving to another country it’s a good idea to network with some social clubs. They provide an opportunity to meet others and share experiences. It was through networking that I found Global Living!!  Social clubs could be anything from an international womens club to wine tasting clubs. Most of all, enjoy the experience!!

Follow Jill on Twitter at: @CHEFinBERLIN and visit her website www.chefinberlin.com.

If you’d like to be featured on our Letters to the Editor section, send an email to us at info@globallivingmagazine.com and tell us about your experience as an expatriate and/or global citizen. Don’t forget to include your Twitter handle so we can help you connect with other expats from around the world!

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