The time we spent in Up with People influenced each of us, but does Up with People still play a role for us today? This is the leading question of this series of interviews that will be published in the German alumni magazine “eXtraplatt.” This is the first interview of the series and has been published in issue 1/2018.
Three questions to Jörn Gutowski (E98, A06, A07, B07)
What exactly is your job?
I am the founder and CEO of TRY FOODS. Since 2013 I have been developing tasting sets. Through these sets, I want to offer special taste experiences and in-depth information on high quality foods.
Each set has one main ingredient (e.g. olive oil, chocolate, gin, coffee etc.) and is delivered with five different samples of this food group. The products come from small manufacturers and present a wide variety of flavors. In addition, the set contains a booklet with detailed information about each product and instructions for the tasting at home.
I am a passionate sampler. I am very curious and explore many different products. Even though I am not a specialist for each single product, I spend a lot of time researching and getting to know them. I sample a lot, interview experts and read many relevant books and websites. It is my goal that people are more aware of their sense of taste and learn about good foods.
How is your time in Up with People related to your job today?
Through my time in Up with People my passion for food and eating grew. I got to know many different cooking styles in North America, Europe and Asia, and I learned about the importance of eating in social and intercultural contexts. The first time we really spent time with a new host family was usually at the dinner table. They welcomed us to their family with a special meal. When communication became tough because of language barriers, e.g. at host families in Japan, we were able to connect through food and eating. This multidimensional nature of food and eating fascinated me and encouraged me to pursuit my career path in the food industry.
During your everyday working grind, do you sometimes think: Wow, this is exactly something that I learned in Up with People?
During the start-up phase of my enterprise I participated in several competitions where I had to pitch my idea. Obviously the presentation skills that I had gathered through numerous presentations during my time in Up with People came in very handy. Stage experience helped me a lot during my appearance at the TV show “Die Höhle der Löwen” (editor’s note: the German version of “Dragons’ Den” in the UK or “Shark Tank” in the US). The ability to perform, despite being nervous, is something I learned during my time with Up with People.