Camillo’s Kitchen. The true story

For new followers – and for those who have happily forgot. Here’s an intro to Camillo’s Kitchen.

Camillo’s Kitchen is a pop-up kitchen – popping up with dinners, food events, chef’s table, cooking classes, food & talk, art dinners, wine makers dinners in Denmark, Berlin and around the world. Writing, designing and publishing cookbooks. Everything around “food, that makes people talk to each other.”

Wonderful picture from their recent pop-up; Camillo’s Jungle Dinners. Photo by Maria Del Pilar Garcia Ayensa

They have been ‘popping up’ for almost 15 years under the brand Camillo. Starting with pop-up dinners in Copenhagen, Denmark – followed by lots of dinners over a decade in Berlin. Spiced up with dinners and events in Italy, Switzerland, Colombia, Denmark, and once in Mallorca. They just finished a series of dinners; Camillo’s Jungle Dinners, in the exhibition ‘Not Only Monkeys’ at Kühlhaus Berlin.

For four years they ran a summer restaurant in Tversted, Denmark. Currently they are discussing whether they this summer should have some good, solid and decent summer holidays or starting up another summer adventure…. They do know that they in the meantime will pop-up in Copenhagen (May 14th), Berlin (dinners in May and June), Aalborg (August 27th) – and most likely other fine places.

Camillo – born and raised in Denmark as Jørgen Smidstrup – photo by Malthe Ivarsson

Jørgen Smidstrup is the chef in Camillo’s Kitchen, he stole the name Camillo from his late grandfather. He also works as a designer in the company Lower East. He is a self-taught project maker, chef, designer, writer, photographer etc. Feeling at home cooking in the kitchen, hosting 20-30 guests around a well-set table, in all creative processes, and when sitting in a coffee-joint with a coffee, a pen and a notebook. He do believe that he has been an Italian mama in a former life…

Marietta – with the full name Helle Marietta Pedersen – photo by Malthe Ivarsson

Helle Marietta is the host and quite a lot more in Camillo’s Kitchen. She has an eye on everything, and a special one at Camillo… A trained designer & illustrator. The woman behind the visual identity of Camillo’s Kitchen and the design of all three cookbooks from the Camillo & Marietta world. Setting every room and dinner tables with precision and beauty.

Marietta & Camillo caught in the sun, in a break with a glass of wine – photo by Juliana Toro

Camillo & Marietta are a couple in their private life, been happily together for 20 years – they are balancing running the Camillo’s Kitchen and the graphic design company Lower East at the same time. Also dividing their life between Berlin and Copenhagen (and some other fine destinations).

The Grandfather; Niels Camillo Ager Smidstrup – with his son Niels Smidstrup, the father of Jørgen.

The man behind the name Niels Camillo Ager Smidstrup – Jørgen’s grandfather – had a grocery shop in Vaarst, Denmark. No one really knows why he got the ‘exotic’ name Camillo. He was happy with food, maybe more eating it than cooking it. He was married to Marie, the grandmother of Jørgen. They were very sweet people, took good care of Jørgen when he was a small kid.

Camillo & Marietta have created three cookbooks. In 2017 they came out with “Mad, der får folk til at tale sammen. Camillos Køkken“ (‘Food, that makes people talk to each other’). Jørgen had been writing on the book for years, developing recipes and cooking, testing, cooking, testing and testing. Writing essays for the book. Helle started the design process – the fabulous photographer Malthe Ivarsson joined the team. And one sunny day the book was ready for launch. The book was published on their own Lower East Press. One year later the 2nd edition of the book came out in a cooperation with Strandberg Publishing and Lower East Press.

“Mad, der får folk til at tale sammen. Camillos Køkken. Lower East Press, 2017
“Spis & Strik. Marianne Isager & Camillos Køkken“. Lower East Press, 2020.

In Spring 2020 Camillo’s Kitchen and Marianne Isager, from the Danish yarn company Isager, joined forces and came out with a book with knitting patterns and food recipes. This time both in Danish (“Spis & Strik“) and in English (“Eat & Knit“). The books became a success – came out just when the Covid-pandemic were hitting, and everyone, more or less, were at home either cooking or knitting.

“Camillos fornemmelse for sommer“. Lower East Press, 2022.

In the summer 2022 they launched their latest book “Camillos fornemmelse for sommer“ (‘Camillo’s sense of summer’) – still only in Danish, sorry. A collection of fresh, very green, very colorful and very summerly recipes, supplemented with essays around themes such as being a good host, music, Italy, traveling, and other important themes. Written & developed by Jørgen Smidstrup, design & illustration by Helle Marietta, and – once again – photos by Malthe Ivarsson. In May, June and July this year Camillo’s will go on a little tour with their book – with food, snacks, wine, talks, dinners and special guests.

The work on the next cookbook from Camillo’s Kitchen has started, no exact release date yet. They do promise to keep you updated. The plan is that the next book both will be in the Danish and in English.

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Camillo’s Jungle Dinners in the exhibition ‘Not Only Monkeys’ at Kühlhaus Berlin. Photo by Helle Marietta.
Camillo’s Jungle Dinners in the exhibition ‘Not Only Monkeys’ at Kühlhaus Berlin. Photo by Jørgen Smidstrup.

Dinner in Camillo’s Kitchen Lab / Lower East Lab Berlin.
A view into “Camillos Sommerkøkken“, the summer restaurant at Tversted Skole, Denmark. Photo by Malthe Ivarsson.

Another view into “Camillos Sommerkøkken“, the summer restaurant at Tversted Skole, Denmark. Photo by Malthe Ivarsson.
“Food, that makes people talk to each other“ – that’s what we are cooking.

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