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Sergio Mottola, Founder of FOODSECRET Originally from Milan, self-proclaimed entrepreneur Sergio Mottola holds an MSC in Finance and Strategy and a BA in International Business. He began his career as an Account Executive at Howden Insurance Brokers. Whilst with Howden, he worked for the Financial and Executive Risks Division where he achieved an enviably impressive client retention rate of 100%. At the same time as his career was developing, Mottola was busily nurturing his passion for food, ultimately attending world renowned French culinary school, Le Cordon Bleu. Seeing an amazing opportunity to combine his entrepreneurial skills with his passion for cooking and a desire for a healthy lifestyle, Mottola decided to develop FOODSECRET.

Neil Armstrong, FOODSECRET Chef Chef Neil Armstrong works with Sergio and the team at FOODSECRET to ensure that the ingredients used find their way from supplier to store shelf in a consistently fresh, nutritious and delicious way. His background as a trainer of chefs is invaluable in maintaining high standards of skills, knowledge and attitude amongst FOODSECRET staff.

Sanna Anderson, Nutritionist Sanna Anderson is a Nutritional Therapist trained at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London, a leading establishment in the field of nutrition education. Sanna has a special interest in stress related health problems, including digestive issues, chronic fatigue, anxiety and sleep problems.

Kate Cook, Nutritionist

APHRODITE + DETOX COVER Photo by Chiara Romagnoli SECRET FOOD 4 8

Aphrodite Detox





Kate is the director and founder of The Nutrition Coach, author and public speaker. Having appeared with Martine McCutcheon on UKTV’s “The Truth About Beauty”, and published a string of influential and critically acclaimed books Kate has established herself as the UK’s premier authority on personal reinvention in health.

ART DIRECTOR Giulia Maresca HEAD OF DESIGN Alfredo Violante Widmer PUBLIC RELATIONS Alyn Horton STYLE EDITOR Cecilia Maresca







Start your Valentine’s Day with warming but sexy Chocobanana Porridge Pot. Not only will you get a good breakfast which will help you feel full until lunch time, but you will also get the delicious mix of two aphrodisiac foods, chocolate and banana. Bananas contain an amino acid called tryptophan which in the body converts into serotonin, an important hormone that can help improve your mood. The chocolate will not only work as an aphrodisiac, getting you in the mood from the breakfast onwards, but the caffeine contained in the chocolate can also help wake you up in the morning. On Valentine’s day you should aim to have a light lunch so that you can concentrate your culinary treats for the evening. If you have a hot date in the evening and want to avoid bloating, you should think of choosing a soup or a salad instead of a sandwich. Grains tend to induce more water retention and can bloat you out more easily. Try the Prawn Curry Laksa Soup – the Thai spices will tickle your taste buds and the prawns will provide good levels of the libido increasing zinc. Or go for the Duck, Pinenut and Pomegranate Salad. The pinenuts are full of zinc to help boost your libido, and pomegranate provides helpful antioxidant nutrients to give you a spring in your step. If you want a preview of what’s to come later in the evening, sneak in the Valrhona Chocolate Pot for small but perfectly rounded pudding. Chocolate has a long history as an aphrodisiac, but also contains substances that can help increase your happy hormone, serotonin.


Is there any foods that I should avoid? Avoid foods that are too heavy or likely to make you or your partner feel bloated. So for example for the main course, rather than heavy read meat, go for a lighter fish course. Avoid too much wheat, as it can increase water retention and make you feel sluggish. Instead of pasta, prepare some fish with a selection of steamed vegetables, including of course some asparagus!

Can you suggest a simple and quick dessert? Get a selection of fresh berries, such as strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Buy some high quality vanilla yoghurt and dark chocolate. Crush the chocolate into small pieces, mix up the berries in a bowl and serve with the vanilla yoghurt and the chocolate. It’s a tasty dessert but not so rich that you’ll feel too full afterwards.

What’s your idea of the perfect Valentine’s meal? I don’t think Valentine’s meal should be too complicated. Meals that are too rich can leave you too full and sluggish which surely isn’t very romantic! I really love soups that have a lot of taste and yet still feel light. You can make a base by chopping some spring onions and chilli, and adding in crushed garlic and grated ginger. Add some chicken stock as the broth and selection of your crunchy vegetables, such as sugarsnap peas and green beans.


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Oysters are probably the best known aphrodisiac food. They are thought to increase desire because of their high zinc content, which helps produce sperm and increases libido. They are best served with a glass of chilled champagne! Chocolate is another great ingredient for romance. The major active ingredient in chocolate is cocoa. Cocoa is a source of two mental stimulants, caffeine and theobromine.   Theobromine has been scientifically shown to have the ‘feel good factor’ as it’s an efficient mood elevator. Asparagus might not be the first food you think of the Valentine’s Day menu, but think again. Apart from their obvious phallic shape, they are also a rich source of potassium and vitamin A which can help boost your sex drive. Serve as finger food with butter drizzled over them – very sensual! Bananas can be a great addition to your Valentine’s menu. They are a good source of energy and contain bromelain, which can help stimulate libido. Strawberries are great for getting you in the mood for love. Serve them with chocolate dipping sauce and champagne for a tantalising dessert. Figs have a long history as an aphrodisiac fruit. Their erotic shape is enough to stimulate your desire. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a romantic dessert. Basil is a great addition to a sexy salad. It has many positive effects on your body and the smell of it alone is believed to be an aphrodisiac. The taste is also known to stimulate sexual desire and increase the heart rate. Pine nuts are high in zinc, a key mineral for male potency. Sprinkle some on your sexy Valentine’s day salad for a boost of romance!  Honey is one of the oldest remedies known. Many medicines in Egyptian times were based on honey including cures for sterility and impotence. Lovers on their “Honeymoon” drank drinks laced with honey and it was thought to “sweeten” the marriage.


Last but not least – let’s not forget champagne! Due to its bubbles, champagne enters the blood stream quickly and gives you that warm glow. But watch out for overindulging as too much alcohol is certain to dampen the mood rather than lift it!




Can chocolate be enjoyed without guilt, and what is really in it? The major active ingredient in chocolate is cocoa.  Cocoa is a source of two mental stimulants, caffeine and theobromine. The sugar in chocolate also helps to increase blood sugar levels, which gives your energy and mood a boost.  Combined with the fat also found in cocoa beans, the sugar is also believed to release mood elevating chemicals in the brain called endorphins. What’s the bad news then?  Many commercial chocolates are high in sugar, and too much sugar can cause blood sugar fluctuations and weight gain.  Because of the caffeine content and the other feel good stimulants in chocolate, it can become highly addictive too. To get the benefits of chocolate without the less desirable side effects, you should restrict yourself to good quality organic dark chocolate.  This tends to be higher in cocoa (and therefore also higher in the beneficial ingredients) and lower in sugar and other additives.



When was Valentine’s Day established?

Valentine’s Day was named after early Christian martyrs called Valentine and established in 500AD by Pope Gelacius I. It was said that one of them would secretly conduct marriage of couples by disobeying the rule of Roman Emperor. The modern day celebration of Valentines Day is believed to begin in France and England. In the UK, Valentine’s Day was first celebrated around seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it had become a day for friends and lovers to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes.

Am I supposed to give gifts on Valentine’s Day? Sending cards, gifts, and flowers is traditional in the UK and according to some sources over 70% of the flowers are bought by men (so if you are female, that might get you off the hook!). There are some regional variations though – in Norfolk a character called Jack Valentine knocks on the back doors and leaves presents and sweets for children.

Is Valentine’s Day celebrated everywhere in the world? Valentine’s Day celebrations are more common that you might think, but there are some variations to how the day is interpreted. In Finland and Estonia it’s called the friendship day, and it’s more about remembering good friends rather than a day for lovers. In Slovenia, Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as the day when the work in the vineyards and the fields starts for the spring.



SECRET RECIPE STUPID CUPID MINI BROWNIES Preparation time: 30 minutes Kitchen Resources: Whisk & Bowls, Baking Sheet & Small Cake Cups, Preheated Oven -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

INGREDIENTS Makes About 20 Small Brownies 1 Small Pear, Peeled & Diced 1 tbs Amaretto 125g Bitter Chocolate (70%) 100g Virgin Coconut Oil 4 Medium Free-range Eggs 150g Caster Sugar 50g Rice Flour A handful of shelled walnuts ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEP BY STEP 1. Preheat an oven to 175C/350F/GM4. Prepare the cupcake moulds by brushing with a little coconut oil. 2. Macerate the diced pear in the amaretto. 3. In a heatproof bowl, slowly heat the chocolate with the coconut oil over a pan of gently simmering water until smooth and molten. 4. Separate your eggs into two large bowls. 5.  Vigorously whisk together the egg yolks with all but 1 tablespoon of the caster sugar for 5 minutes or until light and foamy. 6.  Whisk the egg whites until quite stiff finishing them off with a final whisk of tablespoon of caster sugar to a medium-soft peak. 7. Stir the molten chocolate into the whisked egg yolk. Fold in the Rice Flour and the pear. Loosen the mixture with 1 third of the whisked egg whites then fold through the remaining egg white in two batches until the mixture is smooth. 8. Fill each of the cupcakes 3/4 full and top with a shelled walnut. 9. Place the cupcakes on an un-crowded oven tray and insert into the middle of the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until risen and light. A skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out cleanly. Allow to cool. Keep in an airtight box and enjoy within 5 days. CHEF’S TIP: For a more gooey centre to your brownies reduce the cooking time by two or three minutes. 7



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Start your day with the Red Fruit Pot. It contains a selection of berries, including blueberries and strawberries as well as pomegranate. The colourful cocktail of berries provides a boost of many key antioxidant nutrients to help keep your liver, the key detox organ, in good shape. Strawberries can also help you eliminate any excess fluid that can cause bloating – a common post-Christmas problem! Pomegranate is a well known powerhouse of antioxidant nutrients that not only support your liver but may also help slow down the body’s ageing process by protecting your cells from harmful free radicals. The key to giving your liver a break is to avoid foods that can be a burden to your digestive system. So pick a salad or a soup instead of a sandwich to avoid wheat – your digestive system may struggle with the gluten contained in wheat. For a great winter warmer, try the Russian Beetroot Broth. Beetroot has a long history as a vegetable that provides protection to the liver. It’s a rich source of folic acid, a B vitamin that can help transport toxins out of the liver. Fennel is known for its ability to relieve digestive discomfort and is a source of potassium that can help regulate healthy blood pressure and relieve stress – just what you need while gently detoxing. The addition of the egg ensures that you are still getting the all important protein, both to support the liver and to keep your energy levels steady for longer.



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Can you give me some easy breakfast tips? A smoothie with some naturals yoghurt, frozen berries and an apple is a great start to the day. The live bacteria from the yoghurt will improve your digestion, the berries are full of antioxidant nutrients that can help protect your liver, and the pectin from the apple can really help in removing any unwanted toxins from the body.

Is juice only fasting a good idea? For most people leading a busy life juice only fasting can be a bit too much. Plenty of research also indicates that protein is one of the key ingredients in helping to keep your liver functioning optimally. With juice only fasting you are missing on this key ingredient. Go for a simpler approach by following our top tips.

How can I make my lunches more detox friendly? Change from sandwiches to salads. Invest in a plastic container that you can take with you to the office, and fill it with a rainbow of vegetables and some vegetarian protein such as marinated tofu, or beans or lentils. Make a dressing with good quality olive oil and lemon juice, which will aid your liver in flushing out toxins.

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Start the day with a cleansing mug of hot water with ¼ squeezed lemon, slice of root ginger and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Eat a fruit-based breakfast, such as stewed or fresh fruit salad with natural yoghurt, or a freshly made smoothie. Avoid black tea, coffee and alcohol and replace with herbal tea, such as nettle to support the kidneys, or dandelion root coffee to aid liver function. It’s important to stay well hydrated, so drink at least 1 litre of water daily.  Fresh juices, such as carrot, beetroot, apple and cucumber are also fantastically nourishing and cleansing so aim to drink one fresh juice daily - ideally on an empty stomach for maximum benefit. Avoid all processed and prepared foods - this really means anything that has been manufactured and comes in a packet e.g. ready meals, savoury snacks, biscuits.  Instead eat food in its natural unprocessed state and cook by steaming, lightly boiling or poaching rather than frying. Choose organic food over non-organic food to minimise your intake of toxic pesticides. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, aiming for more.  For lunch and dinner, cover at least 60% of your plate with vegetables and eat as much variety of colours as possible, aiming to cover the whole spectrum of the rainbow. Avoid wheat (e.g. in bread, pasta, pastries and biscuits) and replace with wheat-free alternatives such as brown rice, buckwheat noodles, quinoa, rye bread and oat cakes. Eat snacks, but replace sugary treats such as chocolate and cake with supportive foods such as fresh or dried fruit, vegetable sticks with houmous , half an avocado or mixed seeds.  Reduce consumption of animal products.  Avoid dairy products, except natural live yoghurt, and replace milk with soya or nut milks.  Avoid processed and fatty meats and replace with fish, eggs, lentils, beans, tempeh (fermented tofu), quinoa, seeds and nuts as good protein alternatives. 


Incorporate lifestyle factors into your regime to support the process: get a good nights sleep, take a yoga class, treat yourself to a massage or sauna, try dry skin brushing before showering and use natural organic skin products.




Lemons have been linked to detox diets for decades, and for a good reason. Lemons, and lemon juice in particular, can have many helpful roles in improving detoxification processes. Lemon juice mixed into water sipped throughout a meal can boost the stomach’s digestive ability. The better you digest, the more nutrients you’ll be able to absorb, many of which are important for healthy liver function. Lemon juice is also often used for cleansing process to help the body reduce gallstones. Gallstones generally from when the substance secreted by the liver called bile gets too thick. Lemon juice can help thin the bile, keeping this important liver detox route flowing. At the simplest level, lemons are also a good source of vitamin C and other antioxidants that help protect the liver from the effects of toxins



What can I expect from following a detox regime? A detox helps to rejuvenate the body and mind. It improves energy and mood, aids weight loss, clears the skin and improves digestion with all those benefits, who wouldn’t want to give it a go? 

What is toxins effect on the body? Toxins damage the normal functioning of our cells, and therefore prevent us from reaching optimal health. We are exposed to an array of toxins on a day to day basis, and with approximately 4000 chemicals used in food production our food can be a major source.  Toxins we consume include preservatives, artificial colourings and flavourings, pesticides, fertilisers, antibiotics, growth enhancers, caffeine and alcohol.  As the majority of these are relatively new man-made substances it’s not surprising that our body isn’t designed to process them, and overtime can leave us with fatigue, headaches, skin problems, cellulite, digestive problems and weakened immunity.

How often should I do a detox? It really depends your life style, but we would recommend a gentle detox at least twice a year. This would include cutting out alcohol, caffeine, sugar and processed foods for at least a week. If your diet is normally high in these foods, then we would recommend you do this more often, perhaps every two months.



SECRET RECIPE BITTER LEMON HOT TODDY Preparation time 15 minutes Kitchen Resources Knife & Board, Kettle, Bowl, Sieve & Jug. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

INGREDIENTS Makes about 1 liter. 4cm Cinnamon Quill, Scrunched 4 Cloves 4 Cardamom Pods, Crushed Peel of 1 lemon A thumb of Fresh Ginger, Grated 750ml water 250ml Fresh Apple Juice Juice of 4 Lemons 1 Tablespoon Fragrant Honey ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

STEP BY STEP 1. Put all the ingredients into a pan and bring to a simmer. 2. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. 3. Strain the infusion through a sieve into a heat-proof jug. Adjust for acidity and sweetness with additional lemon juice or honey as required. 4. Serve hot with a slice of fresh lemon CHEF’S TIP: You can make a large batch of this, let it cool, bottle it up and keep it for 3-5 days in the fridge. Simply reheat a mugfull for 1 minute in a domestic microwave.




‘When temporary gallery space Flash Projects ‘popped-up’ a stones throw away from FOODSECRET in Soho, we had to check it out. A spin-off of the James Hyman Gallery on Savile Row, Flash Projects first exhibition of iconic original vintage photographs by Jean Clemmer explore fantasy, sensuality and haute couture in 1960s Paris. FOODSECRET kept their clothes on at the launch while chatting to Christabel Armsden from Flash Projects.’



What prompted this new project? As the programme of vintage paparazzi and celebrity photography at James Hyman grew, it became clear that this facet of work could be presented independently, with its own space and identity. It was increasingly apparent to us that there was a strong interest in photography of this kind, a contemporary fascination with the stars of the past, and the notion of a pop-up gallery was very much in keeping with the tone of the works and subject matter exhibited.

Did you consciously choose the Jean Clemmer exhibition to coincide with the comeback of the Paco Rabanne fashion brand?

This was pure coincidence, as our emphasis has been on Jean Clemmer as a photographer, whose estate we represent in the UK. The recent 40th anniversary of the Canned Candies book presented a fantastic opportunity to display the vintage collection of Jean Clemmer and Paco Rabanne’s collaboration for the first time in the UK.

If Jean Clemmer were to stage a similar exhibition today, which artists and designers do you think he would choose to work with and why?

Jean Clemmer’s collaboration with the fashion designer Paco Rabanne for the book Canned Candies is one of the great fashion moments of the 1960s. These images do feel contemporary, and are certainly an acknowledgement of Clemmer and Rabanne’s avant-garde vision. That others continue to be inspired by these photographs is a testament to the strength of the vision created by Clemmer and Rabanne

and their longevity.

The exhibition would have been shocking during its original release but is perceived as much gentler now. Is there anyone who you see as a modern day equivalent to Clemmer and his work? It is very difficult to compare the work of Clemmer to contemporary equivalents, as in contrast to today’s surplus of overt sexual imagery, what these rare original vintage photographs capture so beautifully is the essence of a lost era, of a utopian dream formed at the height of a radical culture of sexual freedom that was reaching a peak in the late 1960s. The collaboration was deemed a great success and was very well received though there was naturally some controversy. However, what’s striking to the contemporary eye is their innocence.   The next Flash Projects exhibition ‘Street Fighting Man: Fifty Years of Youth Protest’ takes place during April 2011. For more information on Flash Projects and the James Hyman Gallery, go to By Alyn Horton Alyn is a creative PR and brand consultant, founder of Alyn UK Ltd and fashion director at creative agency Margaret London.





The 3rd Fashion in Film Festival took place in London recently showing a series of rare films that explored costume as a form of ‘cinematic spectacle’. We were there to support the launch of the festival and catch up with programme curator Marketa Uhlirova about Fashion in Film and her favourites from the festival.

SECRET STYLE What is the Fashion in Film Festival? Fashion in Film is an exhibition and research organisation based at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Our mission is to showcase the common ground between film and fashion across the history of cinema and dig a bit deeper than the usual suspects like Audrey Hepburn, ‘La Dolce Vita’ or ‘Pret a Porter’.

What are your favourite films from the festival?

Jack Smith’s films ‘Flaming Creatures’ and ‘Normal Love’ were two important cornerstones of the curating process. I was also quite mesmerised by the late 19th and early 20th century dances of Annabelle Moore, Crissie Sheridan, Bob Walter and Lina Esbrard, all of whom were imitators of the famous stage dancer Loie Fuller. But a real revelation for me was the French German coproduction ‘Secrets of the East’ (1928) – it is stunning, very camp and also quite hilarious.

Short fashion films are becoming increasingly popular as a medium for designers and brands recently. Why do you think this is? The availability and accessibility of digital technologies combined with the omnipresence of new dissemination platforms and social habits related to these. Put simply, it’s thanks to the internet.

Do you see any parallels between the films in the festival and any more recent films from the new wave of fashion film? There are some parallels. Take Ruth Hogben/Gareth Pugh’s AW 2009 film. The opening sequence is a direct reference to a serpentine dance, except the film is a much starker, darker vision, more controlled and fragmented. I also really liked Wonderwood by Brothers Quay for Comme des Garcons

Are there any collaborations between film directors and fashion designers that you think have been particularly successful?

Absolutely. ‘Kika’ is completely outrageous and you just think Gaultier and Almodovar were made for each other at that point. One of the most breathtaking collaborations is Luchino Visconti’s ‘Il Lavoro’ (part of Boccaccio ’70 made in 1962) where Romy Schneider wears Chanel. Chanel was pretty much responsible for launching Visconti’s career as a filmmaker so it has all the more poignancy for me. The official Fashion in Film Festival book ‘Birds of Paradise: Costume as a Cinematic Spectacle’ will be published in early 2011. The festival itself travels to New York in April and a special project in conjunction with the Arnhem Mode Biennale is lined up in June. For more info on the Fashion in Film Festival, go to By Alyn Horton Alyn is a creative PR and brand consultant, founder of Alyn UK Ltd and fashion director at creative agency Margaret London.




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FOOD SECRET 04/05 Aphrodite + Detox  
FOOD SECRET 04/05 Aphrodite + Detox  

In this issue food secret looks at aphrodisiac food and detox.