Avid cook enthusiast Krestan Kier Austria’s food posts on Instagram, all accompanied with his signature #kierinthekitchen, are inspired by the diverse cultural foods he finds at BYU-Hawaii.
A father of two kids and a hotel and tourism management senior from the Philippines, Kier said, “Before, I just cooked so we had something to eat. Now, we make sure that every food we try here, we always think to make our own version of it.”
Austria explained the history of #kierinthekitchen, which began last year. “My love for cooking and surfing the net led me to the thought of having an identity since I always do it. So, my wife came up with the idea of a hashtag. Everytime my wife and I cooks, she would always post it on Instagram and she puts #kierinthekitchen.”
April Austria, Kier’s wife, said, “We’ve been taking videos and photos even way before just for fun, so I just wanted to [make] a trademark for him.”
Attending BYUH has given them the opportunity to try a vareity of foods “from shrimp trucks to fine dining, which gave us more knowledge and confidence that we can do it,” said Kier. “My wife and I are planning to do a business because as we all know, food is a necessity for us and it will never go out of style. And this is something we can manage.”
Kier said he asked his friends to create a logo for him for the business. “The logo consists of a snapback that has my birth year on it. Since I love wearing snapbacks, I decided to have it in the logo instead of a chef hat.” He plans to build a website soon.
The Austrias used to be involved catering services. Kier said, “My wife used to bake pastries and organize weddings, and because of that our knowledge about cooking leveled up. I think we’re a good tandem.”
April added, “We got engaged in catering and baking before. From there, we fell in love with cooking more since we also love to eat and we began to explore more when we got here.”
April said adobo is kind of overrated to bring to a potluck, and they choose to stick to what we know. “For us, as much as possible we want to try something new. So we can totally enjoy the gathering, aside from the company we also want to appreciate the food more.”
April continued, “I once brought pancit to my co-workers and they loved it. It’s not adobo nor lumpia, but they loved it.”
The aim of #kierinthekitchen is to “inspire others and share our knowledge about cooking,” said April, “and it’s nice that we get the chance to share with other people what we do.”
Khetty Ann Bucag, an accounting alumna from the Philippines, said she visits Kier’s house often and learns from him about different cooking styles. She said #kierinthekitchen is an amazing idea because Kier is able to share his talent in cooking and do what he loves.
Bucag shared one of the lessons Kier taught her was to feed the hungry. “He would always invite people over their house and cook for them.”
“Kier is a good cook and I learned from him that a dish will taste better if you put fish sauce in it,” added Bucag.
“I’m not claiming that I’m a professional cook,” said Kier, “I just want to say that cooking is a skill we can use everyday. Even though our parents would always cook for us, that’s not going to happen all the time,” he said.
Kier’s parents are a huge influence for his passion in cooking, he added. “In my own perspective, I really know that my mom is a good cook. Whenever we eat in a restaurant, I would tell her stuff that I liked, and she could copy the recipe [exactly].” He said his dad cooks well too but not often.
When he and his siblings were about 9-10 years old, Kier said they learned how to cook rice without a rice cooker. They also learned how to fry and reinvent leftovers into a new dish so they wouldn’t be wasted. “Through our learnings, we had the chance to expand our knowledge about cooking. My past experience has a huge part of what I’m doing right now.”
Aside from Kier’s parents, he said he is fond of watching shows like “Kitchen Nightmare” and “Iron Chef” to gather ideas. Before arriving at BYUH, he watched local cooking shows in the Philippines.
Kier encourages single students to take advantage of the facilities available in the hales and learn how to cook. “Being a BYUH student is a privilege because we get to interact with international people and learn about their food and culture. Now is the time for you to learn and practice.”
He added, “Another advantage of being here in BYUH is your unit mates. I’m pretty sure there’s someone in your unit from another country. Take that chance to ask and learn how to cook a dish from their country.”
Kier said their house is welcome for people who wants to learn how to cook Filipino dishes. He doesn’t only focus on Filipino dishes; he is “willing to learn dishes from other countries.”
Kier said, “I know that I’m not the best cook in town, but I guarantee that I can cook for my family, friends, and my boss.”
“I might not have the highest GPA, but I’m so much grateful for my experience in cooking. It is a plus factor for my major because I would want to be able to work whether it be for guest services, cooking, housekeeping, or maintenance,” he added.