DTLA LIFE MAG #32 | SPRING 2017 - Page 26

Born in Italy and raised in New York City, Nina Clemente realized the possibilities of transforming local ingredients into Southern Italian feasts by watching her mother make traditional, delicious and seasonal cuisine. Throughout her childhood, food was the anchor for gatherings with friends and family, and the table was where stories were shared, and vibrant memories were cultivated. It was those moments that inspired Nina to make cooking her career. After graduating from Brown University with a degree in anthropology, Nina headed to the West Coast to real- ize her culinary aspirations in Los Angeles. Armed with a strong foundation from the years she spent practicing her craft alongside her mother, coupled with stints working at restaurants during those formative years, Nina began throwing dinner parties. By word-of-mouth, Nina developed a successful private catering business informed by her thoughtful culinary style marrying Italian-inspired dishes with local ingredients and produce. She went on to work at the Curious Palate and then at Osteria Mozza, honing her approach under the guidance of Nancy Silverton. Nina’s passion for European culture led her to continue her education at Maya’s Restaurant in St. Barth’s, followed by an impactful experience working under the tutelage of En- rico Crippa at his three Michelin-starred restaurant Piazza Duomo in Alba, Italy. T he time there furthered her love affair with the Italian cuisine and traditions that inspired her career. After a subsequent stint at The Plaza at The Standard, High Line in New York, Nina connected with The Smile partners Matt Kliegman, Carlos Quirarte and her childhood friend Melia Marden to conceptualize their first West Coast restaurant informed by those traditions. At The Smile’s di Alba in Los Angeles, Nina debuts focaccia with seasonal accompaniments and market-driven plates that are a reflection of her Italian culinary heritage and The Smile’s stylish, community-driven restaurant experience. Dishes are clean, colorful, and vibrant on the palate — food that nourishes is beautiful to look at and tastes amazing. Photos Courtesy of Emily Hart Roth Partners Matt Kliegman, Carlos Quirarte, and Melia Marden of New York City’s popular The Smile and Smile To Go bring their stylish, community-driven approach to Los An- geles with the opening of their first West Coast restaurant, di Alba. Located in the epicenter of Downtown LA’s Arts