Oliver Hassman is the executive chef of Kalona Brewing Company, a native brewery with a made-from-scratch kitchen. “We love to keep things local and use as many local vendors as possible, from local cheese curds from The Kalona Creamy to grass-fed beef raised on JimRay Farms just five miles north of Kalona.” Learn about Oliver Hassman…
Hometown: Kalona, Iowa
First job: Lifeguard at The Kalona City Pool. My first restaurant industry job was The Mill in downtown Iowa City (as a delivery driver).
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: I enjoy spending time golfing, running, attending classes at Versa Fitness and trying out restaurants that I have never been to in the area. I also try to hike a couple of state parks a couple of times a year.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Receiving a Culinary Arts degree from Kirkwood Community College. While I was attending school, I had a full-time job at Vesta in Coralville and had to really learn how to use my time-management skills to stay focused on school and work my way up to chef de cuisine at Vesta.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Completing a half marathon. Growing up, I never enjoyed running, I chose to walk the golf course instead of compete in Track & Field. After putting in hours of time training for a race, I now have another goal to run a full marathon come spring.
Someone who inspires you and why: Both of my parents. My parents have taught me to look for positives in any negative situation which has really helped me a lot in my young adult life. They are big believers in what you think about is what you bring about. That has helped me with many big decisions.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: This industry is a lot of hard work and long hours but there are many rewarding things to let you know that you chose the right path. Stay organized and always think a few steps ahead.
Favorite quote: Nike said it best: “Just Do It”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: Up until I was 18, I was a very picky eater.
What makes someone fabulous: Just being yourself. It’s too easy to get sucked into thinking about what other people think. Just be yourself and don’t care what others have to say.