Peter’s early interest in food set him on course to become head chef at the Tetra Recart Food Development Centre. Here, he describes his journey and the way his passion for food translates into exciting new products for your business.
I made the decision around the age of 13, but my interest in food was apparent long before that. When I was little, my father and I used to go shopping for food together. If he offered to buy me a treat, I would ask for a jar of sweet & sour herrings, not crisps or candy like other children. I guess that was a sign.
I studied to become a chef after high school and did my military service as a chef in the navy. Then I worked in restaurants for about ten years. It wasn’t until 2003 that I entered the world of industrial food production – first as a Kitchen Advisor in a commercial test kitchen, then as a Product Developer for a large company, and now as Product Development Chef for Tetra Recart.
After all these years, I’ve picked up a few things! I know about all kinds of food: dry, frozen, fresh, canned, etc. But there are fashions in food, just like everything else, so it’s important to stay up to date. One of the ways I do this is by working as a guest chef in restaurants in my free time.
My days are pretty varied. Imagine, let’s say, that a customer in China wants to see their existing canned product in a Tetra Recart package. I would order the ingredients, cook up the recipe and send them some samples for evaluation. Other days, I might do experiments in preparation for a customer visit. When customers come to see us here in Sweden, they generally want to find out how their existing recipe works in our packaging system. So, we make some samples together. If they’re open to it, we then also develop a few offshoots from their basic recipe.
Everything starts with a discussion. My first job is to put customers at ease. Once relaxed, people are generally more willing to try new ideas. Sometimes, I cook lunch for a group of visitors the day before we start work. That helps pave the way for a good session. Food brings people together.
I remember one customer wanted to make a vegetarian stew. I suggested going in the direction of an Indonesian rendang and making it 100% vegan. That was a big step for them, but their confidence in me made it possible.
I’m proud of having brought a passion for food to Tetra Recart. As a total solution provider, Tetra Pak offers everything from processing to packaging and services, but it all comes down to food and cooking in the end. There’s so much joy in that…. and that’s how it should be.