Meet Aarron, our Chief Technology Officer and maestro of everything IT in the Dinner Ladies world.
Are you a good cook, Aarron? What do you like to cook at home?
I’m a hopeless cook. I could burn water. I’m Italian and come from a big family of chefs. I think my father hoped I’d run the family ice cream and restaurant business. It was a small disappointment to him when I wanted to work in IT.
The only thing I feel confident cooking is pasta. I think that was the basic requirement not to be disowned!
Hmmm. That doesn’t sound good. Any particular kitchen disasters spring to mind?
Adding too much yeast to a breadmaker and having a basketball-sized blob of dough growing on the bench.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Would it be too cliched to say this is my dream job? The ready-made food delivery service is a developing market in Australia and introducing new IT systems to support this is very exciting. I work for two extraordinary ladies, who give me and my department creative freedom to support customers and I’m in a market with no set rules on how to deliver meals as fast as possible. We have some amazing new things planned for 2022 that I’m sure customers will love... easier ways of paying, great notification systems, and exciting changes to the website. (I’m convinced some of these are so good they’ll be copied by our competitors too!)
We hear you’re a keen user of the air-fryer. How did you get into that?
Being in IT I always want to find ways to automate things. A good example is home duties like vacuuming or cleaning out the cat’s litter tray. I’ve programmed an automated robot to vacuum and mop the house, and another robot to clean out the cat’s tray! My partner isn’t happy that I’ve weaseled my way out of doing things, so I decided to automate home dinners some nights. (My partner is a keen cook, but some days she just wants to relax with a wine instead.) Cue dinner! Even an IT guy can cook bloody good meals in the air-fryer!
What was the first thing you cooked in the air-fryer?
Chicken nuggets! Eight minutes from frozen and perfect every time.
What’s been your greatest air-fryer triumph?
I generally leave for work around 8am, so I pull out a frozen meal and put into the fridge. When I get home, I chuck it into the air fryer and a few minutes later it’s done. Now I’m experimenting with throwing things into the air-fryer in the morning and building a remote app to start as soon as I leave work. So dinner is ready as I arrive home!
Hmmm – it’s more of a programming issue by me, but setting the air fryer for 400 minutes rather than 40 minutes. I came home to a very blackened lemongrass chicken.
Which Dinner Ladies meals have you tried in the air-fryer?
I’m experimenting with a lot of them! I would say I’ve tested over half our meals and written down the times. I started with a small air-fryer but that won’t work for the larger dishes on our menu – you get uneven cooking. So I upgraded to one the size of a small microwave. Small things like chicken drumettes and nuggets are great in the air-fryer on working at home days. And anything that comes in a metal tray works very well. Reheating is brilliant in the air-fryer.
What’s your favourite Dinner Ladies dish ever (NOT in the air-fryer)?
Definitely the marbled choc fudge and raspberry brownies!