What I love the most about Cooking is that you can keep evolving. For example, I am a novice when it comes to BBQ – I recently got myself a Weber grill and I am super excited to learn high-class grilling techniques. I love to feed good food to people; it is fulfilling and rewarding.
My name is Sarthak Kaushal. I work as a Solutions Architect in Qualtrics. I am originally from India and I moved to Ireland just over 8 years ago along with my wife. I was in Ireland before in 2011 for a project, and I quite liked the vibe of the place – not to mention how beautiful it is! My wife and I are parents to 2 kids: an 18-month-old human baby and an 8-year-old fur baby (Troy, an Alaskan Malamute)!
I have been in the Telecom and Healthcare industries in the past. I wanted to leverage my blended skill-set (Technical Strengths and Business Understanding) and apply that to a role that enables day-to-day interaction with a variety of customers. I joined Qualtrics over 2 years ago, and it has been an immersive experience. I work in Pre-Sales with a lot of intelligent and passionate people – I learn every day and I grow every day!
Outside of work, I love Cooking and Travelling. I live by the phrase “A Solution Architect by Day, A Home Chef by Night”. I am passionate about food. I often travel with the intent of learning and bringing back local tastes, flavours, and spices from all over the world. I take notes of recipes that I like and try to re-create and adapt regularly.
I first became interested in Travelling when I was growing up. Owing to my upbringing in different cantonments (My mother was a nurse in the Indian Army), I used to move around a fair bit as my mother was posted from one place to another. I think that was the starting point, and it got further enhanced when I joined my second job in Ericsson back in India. My role made me travel quite a lot – earlier across Asia and then later across Europe and parts of Africa. Once the travel bug bit me, there was no looking back.
What I love the most about travelling is the diversity of experiences: People, Food, Languages, Landscape, Architecture, Art, Real-Life Hacks, Local Music, Sports, etc. There is so much to absorb – I think travelling is the best teacher and a companion that can last for years and years!
Hands down, the most interesting country I have been to is Japan – everything about that country is so unique and cool. I was there for about 2 months and explored the Greater Tokyo area quite a lot. I did a night trek to climb Mount Fuji and watch the sunrise during my last weekend in Japan, an experience I truly cherish!
Another mention has to be the Pyramids in Egypt. I remember that my wife and I jumped like kids when we first spotted them on our way to Giza – it is, without a doubt, one of the most humbling experiences you can feel!
I have a few other great travelling highlights:
- Driving on Transfargasan in Transylvania (one of the most beautiful roads in the world)
- Hill walk called “Path of the Gods” on the Amalfi Coast
- Road trip in Tuscany and Chianti region
- Visiting Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia
- Visiting Mount Teide National Park in Tenerife (the landscape there is unreal)
- Witnessing the Flamenco Dance Show in Malaga, Spain
- Forest hikes in Blackforest, Germany
- Watching the sunset while sipping a cocktail on the beaches of Goa in India
- Chasing the Hogwarts Train in the Scottish Highlands
Looking at my other activity, I also love Cooking. I became a little bit decent with cooking after I started my professional career back in 2006. Since I was away from home and living with a few friends, it was an opportunity to get the basics right. The real interest piqued when we moved to Ireland in 2013 – what started as a survival skill transformed into a passion.
I find cooking therapeutic. I jokingly tell my wife (she is a children’s book illustrator – her book was published recently: The Angry Bee and the Final Sting) that cooking is the only artistic trait I possess. I find the kitchen to be a place where I can innovate, experience, follow a method, and learn every day. My inspiration definitely begins with Indian cuisine and the plethora of flavours and variety it has to offer. Travelling basically augmented my knowledge (and palette) to adopt, learn, and cherish the World Cuisine.
There are few dishes that I make often:
- Romanian Eggplant Salad
- Thai Green Curry with Prawns
- Chicken Biryani
- Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Pancetta, and Truffle Oil
- Different kinds of Homemade Pizzas
- Kathi Rolls
- Thai Green Papaya Salad
- Chinese Vegetable Clear Broth
In the future, if I win the lottery, I am definitely going for a short-term residential cooking course! Otherwise, I have a clear enough goal in my head: keep travelling, keep learning new experiences, and keep bringing back some great food recipes and ideas to feed my loved ones!
I see a few similarities between my hobbies and my work – I think that you bring in traits from your profession to your personal space, and vice versa. My passion for travelling and cooking helps me in understanding some of the cultural contexts when I interact with different people across the globe. A common story, experience, or anecdote is a great ice breaker in the work setting!
Work-Life Balance has moved towards a Work-Life Blend. There are learnings, best practices, time management principles, and day-to-day hacks that you can leverage and apply between your personal and professional life. I strongly feel that travelling and following a passion (cooking in my case) opens your horizons immensely. You learn and appreciate more about the finer things in life and subconsciously try to bring these positive experiences to your work.
My advice to anyone interested in Travelling is to plan the basics (logistics, accommodation, etc.), but play it by ear when on holiday. Don’t overpack an agenda into your day-to-day schedule when on holiday – immerse yourself, take things slowly, and if you like something, (a restaurant, for example), then visit that place again while you are there.
My advice to anyone interested in Cooking is to not think of the outcome; think about the process. If you cannot enjoy the process, you will never enjoy the outcome. Play some music, open a bottle of wine on the weekends, and make cooking and eating a fun experience!
There is always more than tech. I am in awe of the talented and super-cool people in tech that I work with and have come across in the past. People are doing some incredible things and that lead to everyday inspirations and education. Learn, Share, and Spread is the Mantra!