Meet the Gastronomes: Caroline Kezia

It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for the next chapter of Meet the Gastronomes.

***I promise tomorrow normal TVHT updates will return.  Between Slow Fish last weekend and feeling a bit under the weather this week, I’ve fallen behind.  But not to worry, we have a few installments to look forward to this week!***

But as for today, you get to meet sweet Caroline.

Legitimately one of the sweetest humans on this planet, I do believe.  She is from Indonesia and like everyone in the program, she has an interesting background you never would guess.  The diversity in cultures, but also just in stories is truly one of the greatest gifts of this cohort.  There is so much to learn from every person in the group.

Time to learn from Caroline.

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Hi I’m Caroline from Indonesia.

Growing up in Indonesia, the country is blessed with lots of variety of spices, so I’m used to foods that have strong flavor. Since my family is a huge fan of food, we have this tradition that every Sunday we will explore new cuisine, particularly the traditional hawker food. Usually the foods that they serve are stronger in flavor than in the restaurant. Another family tradition that made me so in love with food is that every year, we travel around Java Island to eat the traditional dishes. I must say, my love for food is greatly affected by the environment surrounding me, especially my family.

At the beginning, I just loved to eat, but never paid attention to the quality or the nutrition of the foods. At that time for me, the flavor was the most important thing that I cared for. Around the time I was at senior high school, my father had to start living in a healthier way (especially eating) because he needed to maintain his health. It all happened because we really like to eat spicy, deep fried, or just say, unhealthy food. I started to care about the nutrition and quality of healthy food. In a few years we manage to change our lifestyle to become healthier. But, the thing is we usually prefer fruit that is imported to Indonesia rather than our local produce. So our system is not sustainable at all.

Around 3 years ago, my family decided to open our second company, Arumdalu Private Resort, a small eco-luxury, private resort at Belitung, one of the islands of Indonesia. Without any background in hospitality, we challenged ourselves to build this resort together. My father was in charge of the architecture and the construction; my mom was in charge of the interior, landscaping, and of course, finances; then me and my brother were in charge of the foods, marketing, and other stuff.

The first few months we always shipped our ingredients for the restaurant from Jakarta (on another island) since there is literally nothing to buy on ours.  As the time went by, we tried to find some locally produced food, especially spices and seafood. Then we started to grow our own vegetables and fruits without any chemical fertilizers.

For the food at the restaurant, we needed to make it by ourselves. Luckily all my family (except me, because I only could bake at that time) are masters in cooking traditional cuisine. So they knew what they were doing. As the time went on, I became also interested in cooking using the local ingredients. One of the reasons is because usually we made a theme for every occasion at the resort, not only the decorations, but also the food. In order to make an  interesting menu, we needed to taste it by ourselves, that’s why I started helping with some cooking and baking.

The past two years, not only growing fruit and vegetables by ourselves, we also started to raising our own chicken. Since our resort theme is eco-luxury, we need to make our little farm to be sustainable. And that’s why I’m here studying at Pollenzo. In hopes that after I graduate I can apply somethings to my country, and especially to the resort.  I must say this university really changed my views (in a good way) to the food industry. Before I really wanted to become a marketing consultant, but now, somehow I really want to become an urban farmer. I just only can say that I’m blessed to have a chance studying in this university.

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What I love most about this series is that if you could sit and have a cup of coffee with this girl, you would never expect that this was her story.  You would only get bits and pieces of this story surrounded with sweet little giggles at herself as she talked.  She is incrediblly humble and charming to speak to, so getting her to tell her story takes dedication.   You can learn more about Caroline’s family resort in Indonesia at arumdalubelitung.com or by checking them out on Instagram and Facebook, @arumdaluresort.

These life stories are what make the fabric of the university come alive.  Although everyone worries about writing in English, they are all better than they believe and I am thankful to all of my friends who have agreed to share.

Next Sunday will be another installment of Meet the Gastronomes.  But I promise new TVHT content coming to you this week! Be sure to hit the follow button to stay notified whenever a new story is posted.  Also follow on Instagram and Facebook @TheVeryHungryTraveler or on Twitter and Snapchat @AHungryTraveler, for daily updates as well.

Until next time, stay hungry my friends.

-The Very Hungry Traveler

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