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People from many different countries live, study and work in Eindhoven. Every week, E52 has a talk with an international about what brought them here and what life is like in Eindhoven.

Name: Ailén Gamberoni
Country of origin: Italy
Work: Owner of Cucina Italiana and journalist

Behind Stratumseind, a street full of pubs and clubs, is a green oasis. It is the street called Het College with houses, shops and ateliers covered with vertical gardens. On the corner, you find Cucina Italiana, the cooking studio of Ailén. “I was here during GLOW in 2015. This street was part of the route. I was so surprised: this in the city centre? We were lucky to find a place here. Most housing for expats is furnished, but we didn’t want that. Our cooking studio is downstairs and we live above it. And we have such lovely neighbours. They help whenever they can.”

Ailén got to know Eindhoven when she visited the city two years ago as a journalist, writing for a travel magazine. “I felt the good vibes immediately. We thought about changing our lives drastically and started making plans to move to Eindhoven and organise cooking workshops. But would it work? We wanted to test our concept, so we came to Eindhoven during a few weekends and were very happy to use the kitchen of Yetunde for our workshops. When I was in Eindhoven for the first time I met Sietske Aussems of Trudo and she connected me to Yetunde. After our test weekends, we knew our concept works.”

“I love the fact that at Cucina Italiana also expats meet each other, ask for information and share their knowledge about the city”Ailén Gamberoni, Owner of Cucina Italiana

“We deliberately chose not to open a restaurant. We want to be part of the interaction and fun , and not somewhere in the back of the kitchen. I tested also the Dutch food. To me, the Dutch cuisine doesn’t really exist. There are so many influences from other countries due to this country’s history. You have amazing ingredients here. And stores like Hanos or Sligro we don’t have in Italy. That is food heaven. When we have Italian friends of family over, we like to take them there. We love to collaborate with local producers and test how we can use Dutch products to make Italian dishes. And the coffee culture is going well and fast here. No complaints there.”

“We want to stay here. Not just for a couple of years, but much longer. We took our time and prepared well before coming here. We took extra lessons on cooking and health regulations and so on.  We opened Cucina Italiana last September. I love the fact that at our place also expats meet each other, ask for information and share their knowledge about the city. It’s something that wasn’t in our plans, but started naturally and has become really important to us. We try to share all the good tips, like in my job as a journalist and also now as a host.”

It’s very handy we can communicate in English, but we really want to learn Dutch. Currently, we are doing an A1 level Dutch course. It is very difficult to learn a new language, later in life. And all those GGG-sounds in Dutch, those noises aren’t polite in Italy!” she laughs.

Read all the internationals stories here.
Photography: Diewke van den Heuvel