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Better Know a Pizza Maker: Kathryn Olivarius ’11

April 9, 2010

With the arrival spring’s warm weather, our pizza makers have returned to the Farm to bring us their delicious pies every Friday at our workdays. For the next five days, join us to learn a little more about the people behind the pizza oven we know and love. Today we have Kathryn Olivarius, one of our two new pizza makers this year.

Kathryn Olivarius, Branford 2011

What made you want to be a pizza maker?
I wanted to be a pizza maker because the Yale Farm is such a special place at Yale, a place where you can be outside, and use a whole set of different skills from what you do normally at Yale. Where else can you stoke a fire and make kindling?

What’s your favorite vegetable?
Broccoli is definitely my favorite vegetable, on pizza, or with a little garlic, salt, and olive oil.

What’s your favorite dish to cook?
Roasted pork loin with parsnips and apple sauce.

What fruit or veggie best typifies you?
I went though a mango craze in high school, and I went off them for a while, but now I am very much back on the band wagon. Thick skin, hard to eat, but totally delicious with a firm core.

Describe a fun/hard/exceptional story from working at the Farm.
Cold, rainy, November days are always the least fun to make pizza because the fire can take longer to get hot and not as many people come up. And the clean up can be unpleasant because you have to do it in the dark and doing the dishes makes your hands extremely cold. But it always impresses me how much fun it is regardless and how beautiful the farm is in any season. It’s those days that I find myself revering early Connecticut settlers.

What’s your favorite food cause? Why?
The local food movement is very cool. Local food simply tastes better, normally supports local farmers, and puts you in touch with the land, your environment, and community in a way you can’t compare to anything else. I really like hearing stories about people who only source their food from Connecticut and the Hudson Valley. It is possible! (except for wheat apparently). If you can add foraging onto that, I love it!

Tell us about other work you’ve done in the world of food and farming.
I lead canoe trips in northern Ontario and Quebec in the summer and I am very used to cooking over open fires. There is a two-week period there where blueberries and raspberries are everywhere and there is nothing that can match their taste. Wild grouse and lake trout can make some of the most magical and delicious dinners, and eating this food often makes me lament that I have never really been hunting. It is important for meat eaters to see where their food comes from and learn the anatomy of animals.

Also, once, I was making glazed donuts on the 56th parallel and a bear came into our campsite so I had to shout the ABCs very loud to scare it off as the oil flicked at me.

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