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Home Cook: Kristina Dryza, trend forecaster

Eat | Drink | Explore

For Kristina Dryza, cooking is about creating an experience for her guests – enjoyed with plenty of sour cream, reflecting her Lithuanian heritage.

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Kristina Dryza is a consumer trends expert and futurist whose career has taken her around the world, consulting to major corporations which are creating new products, services and strategies.

Now based in Adelaide, Dryza continues to work as a consumer trends consultant and keynote speaker in her area of specialism: pattern recognition and its influence on creativity, leadership and innovation.

She is also the author of Grace and the Wind, a novel about the rhythms and cycles of nature. Her next book, on the role myths play in society, is due for release next year.

Here, she shares insights into her life at home, how she learned to cook and a favourite recipe.

In the kitchen I am …
Not really a cook, more a hostess. Rather than making food, to me it’s about creating atmosphere. A thoughtful contemplation on who is visiting, and where they are in the story of their lives, leads me to choose certain music, scents, linen, serving platters and recipe ingredients so these bespoke moments act as a conduit to a memorable evening.

The fridge is nearly empty – what do you cook for dinner?
With frequent travel for my work, this is actually the story of my life! I’d far more prefer a solitary breakfast than a solitary dinner, so if I’ve just flown in and seen the limited state of the fridge it’ll be a quick cup of rose with French vanilla tea, a bite of some pistachio halva and straight to bed so I can get up early, get to a cafe and start the day right with a double espresso and hearty breakfast.

Most useful cooking tool?
My iPhone – but not to Google recipes. Time in the kitchen is often an extended moment of rare, uninterrupted solitude and it’s when I can catch up on those (many) podcasts that I never quite get around to listening to. Cooking for me becomes like that space that once existed on planes before wi-fi was introduced, where you caught up on all the media that sparked your curiosity, and wasn’t work-related.

Three essential grocery items?
I am of Lithuanian heritage so number one has to be sour cream. It’s a staple and eaten with everything – pancakes, soups, fish. You name it and sour cream will accompany it.

Second would have to be tea. Having lived in Japan, tea to me is a meditative experience whether it’s black, green, white or herbal and shared with friends, or sipped alone as a way to pause, reflect and breathe.

And finally, gluten-free flour. Being coeliac, should I wish to do some baking at a moment’s notice this is an essential ingredient.

How did you learn to cook?
Experimentation. I have a complete inability (my mother may say ineptitude) in regards to following a recipe so the kitchen is more like a laboratory and I rarely cook the same thing twice. This drives my friends mad, as I can never provide them with a recipe (measurements in grams; what’s that?), nor have the inclination to make the dish again as I’ve moved on to the next inspiration. I guess that’s what a career in trends and innovation does to you.

Favourite restaurant?
The Enchanted Fig Tree on Kangaroo Island, run by my friends Hannaford and Sachs. There’s nothing more magical than sitting under the fig tree’s canopy, feasting on a degustation of the best of the island’s produce, and feeling so connected and nourished by the beauty of the environment. But the most fun is drinking and eating with the chefs in their home after service.

Favourite recipe?
My grandmother used to make these pancakes for my brother and I when we were younger. This is the simple, basic recipe.


Potato pancakes topped with sour cream, smoke salmon, caviar and dill. Photo: Tony Lewis

Plain Potato Pancakes


1kg potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
Pinch of salt
Olive oil (for frying)


Grate potatoes and squeeze out most of the liquid; add eggs and pinch of salt. Mix well. Drop by spoonfuls into hot oil and fry on both sides until crisp. Drain excess oil on paper towels before plating.

Serve with the obligatory sour cream. For a savoury version, top with smoked salmon, caviar and dill. If you have a sweet tooth, go with apple sauce or blackberry jam instead.

If serving as appetisers, I suggest that you offer guests a shot of Lithuanian vodka, too – I sveikata!

Serves 4


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