Cooking vlogger Rianne Hagen wants to surprise students

| Rense Kuipers

Rianne Hagen, master student Industrial Design Engineering, will start a biweekly cooking vlog at U-Today. In this interview, our new campus chef introduces herself. 'With a few simple changes you can make your dishes even more delicious.'


How did your passion for cooking arise?

From middle school onwards. I always loved good food, but when Masterchef Australia came on TV, this hobby came into being. At home we often had a pasta or meat, potatoes and vegetables on the table in the evening, also because my little brother was a somewhat difficult eater. Moving to a student house was an excellent opportunity to go crazy. That's when I started experimenting with cooking.'

I'm sure your housemates will be happy?

'Fortunately, I'm not the only one with this hobby. One roommate is very much into Asian cuisine, I'm more into European cuisine. So we vary enough between soy sauce and crème fraîche. I cook once a week. On that day I sometimes spend an entire lecture looking for a tasty recipe, haha. Of course, in a student house you have to take everyone's food wishes into account, but once a month I try to put something totally new on the table. By the way, I dare say that our kitchen is better equipped than that of an average student house. There is no shortage of herbs and spices. And there's, among other things, a food processor, slow cooker and ice-cream maker.'

Check out the first episode below. Instructions and ingredients can be found here.

What do you think a good student meal should meet?

'For me, the basis is always carbohydrates, protein and vegetables. You can vary enough in that. Carbohydrates can be found in rice, wraps, potatoes and pasta, for example. Vegetables speak for themselves and for protein you don't just have to reach for meat, although I still do. Less than before, but more often than I would like. You can also opt for beans or meat substitutes. Vegan cooking requires a little more creativity, but that doesn't make it any less fun. Last year, for example, we prepared a fully vegan Christmas dinner, very nice to see that it's really doable. Of course, you also have to take student budgets into account. In our house we spend about 2.20 euros per person per meal. In addition to being affordable, a student meal must of course also be tasty, easy to prepare and healthy.'

You also made a cookbook, 'Rianne's recipes for students'. How did that idea come about?

'When my little brother moved to his student house, I wanted to give him a cookbook as a present. There are cookbooks for students, but they mainly contain dishes for one or two people. Totally impractical if you live in a student house with eight people, as you often see here in Enschede. For such a group you also want to put something good on the table, that's why I asked my surroundings for tips and wrote my own cookbook. I've already sold almost a hundred of them. That was never the intention, by the way. It's just that there were a lot of people very enthusiastic.'

Where do students sometimes go wrong?

'Oh, I think I'm going to offend a lot of people here. What a lot of students do is cut their vegetables thick and then cook for a long time. Then you'll end up with a really swampy bite. Or they cook too short, then the vegetables get too chewy. I'm not a critical eater, and I certainly don't grumble when I'm presented with something that hasn't completely come to the fore. You do you, I think. You just have to do what you feel like, as long as you try. But the biggest pitfalls of students in the kitchen are laziness and ignorance.'

What can and will you teach us with your cooking vlog?

'Food doesn't always have to be pure and fresh. Something edible is already fine - and I always catch myself adding scandalous amounts of cheese. I'm not a kitchen princess, nor am I going to be a snob. I think many people have an excellent basis, but they often fall back on familiar territory. With a few simple changes you can easily make your dishes even more delicious. Just removing the seeds from the zucchini, for example, makes a big difference. And it surprises me how often vegetables are cooked, while you can also put them in the oven. And believe me, students often have more ingredients than they think; with cola or a base for soup you can quickly make a delicious sauce. I hope I can provide pleasant surprises in student kitchens!'

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.