Kodan Spotlight: Oliver and the curse of the bell pepper soup
Kodan Spotlight is a series of blog posts introducing our employees through their passions. This time in the spotlight is our app developer Oliver Vartiainen.
“I started to cook seriously when I first moved out at the age of 20. I soon found that if I wanted to eat good food, I’d have to make it myself.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, we began to cook even more food at home than before. I took a systematic approach to cooking. When you have lots of time on your hands, you also have the opportunity to try out all kinds of new things - and to fail.
Cooking has become more to me than just an everyday routine. It’s become a hobby. My daughter has also changed my relationship with food. I want to provide her with a varied diet, and that’s led me to discover new ingredients.
My signature dish at the moment is rendang, an Indonesian curry. It’s an interesting dish bursting with flavours that you wouldn’t normally run into. The combination of anise, ginger, and coconut is delicious and unforgettable. Rendang is usually made with beef, but I’ve often used chicken, too.
I have yet to experience any major failures in my adventures as a cook. I’ve usually managed to save everything that was in danger of becoming inedible. We haven’t thrown anything away except for a bell pepper soup, and that one was doomed from the start.
I mostly follow a vegetarian diet. Awareness of the climate crisis has probably affected my relationship with food, but to me, being a vegetarian is more of an ethical and animal rights issue than a climate issue. As a dog owner, I can’t help but compare how we treat dogs with how we treat cows, for instance. Cows are just as intelligent as dogs, so why do we treat them differently?
If I eat meat, it’s always high-quality, nothing cheap and processed. For me, meat is for celebrations and special dinners and deserves appreciation. I don’t believe in banning meat entirely, but I do think that we should not habitually gobble it down every single day.
Cooking has brought so much good into my life. It’s made me bolder in the kitchen, more willing to try out new things, and that attitude has spread to other areas of my life, too. I’ve also noticed that I get inspired by ingredients in particular: I might see something on a shelf in the supermarket or at home and then create a menu around what I find. This has also reduced my family’s food waste, because it’s fun to think about how to use up the piece of pecorino left in the fridge rather than throwing it away.
If you want to be inspired by cooking, I suggest searching for interesting recipes, skimming through them, and trying to cook them by memory. This method will inevitably sometimes lead to failure, but ultimately you will learn to remember the ingredients, learn the techniques for cooking with them, and soon enough you won’t need recipes at all; you’ll create your own dishes.
Don’t be afraid of failures, they force you to learn.”
p.s. We’re always looking for new software developers and designers.