With more than 10k followers on Instagram, and six food and drink books under her belt, Signe Johansen knows a thing or two about cooking. But her road to becoming a chef and author was a meandering one, with some surprising stops along the way.
Having graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in archaeology and anthropology from the University of Cambridge, Johansen trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London, worked in several of the UK’s top restaurants and went on to do her Masters in the anthropology of food at SOAS food studies center at the University of London.
According to Johansen, her academic studies influenced her food philosophy. “I’ve been interested in seemingly dull subjects like food security and where our food comes from for years,” she shared in an interview with Khoollect, “More people are interested in food here now than when I first arrived, but the more academic end is still considered pretty niche,” she notes.
Apart from her books, Johansen has also written for publications like The Times, Sunday Times, Daily Mail, Stella, and Marie Claire. Her most recent book, Spirited (released in October 2019), celebrates the art of the cocktail. And boy, we could use a drink.
But when it comes to drinking, Johansen’s go-to is plain whiskey. “Whisky is still seen as a masculine drink, although thankfully that perception is changing,” she says. “I grew up in Norway and we didn’t have these gendered ideas of what an ‘appropriate’ drink for a woman was. If you wanted a beer, you drank a beer. If you wanted a whisky, you drank a whisky. Both my parents love whisky (my mother’s more of a bourbon drinker, but she’s a fan of a whisky sour with scotch) and over the years I just tried whatever they had.”
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