Between positions as assistant vice president at Lowe Lintas and head of advertising at Netflix, Wesley cooks up a mean pork roast, and tells us about his relationship with meat, family and being in the kitchen.
When we got married, I would make all the meat dishes and Anisha (his wife Anisha Oomen, food journalist and co-founder of the Goya Journal) would make all the veggie dishes.
My mum didn’t have daughters, which is why I think when I was much younger, she used my help with all the cooking. So it was just easier for me, even after I got married, to not see the kitchen as a weird space. I’ve basically been sous-chef-ing since the age of six. Cut this, peel that, put it in here.
My relationship with food is the dishes that I grew up with that I really want to keep eating. Now I stay so far away from my mum that I can’t keep going back to her house. In Bengaluru, when we first got married, both sets of parents stayed quite close. So we’d almost never cook, because we were always either in her mum’s house or my mum’s house. It was damn good.
A lot of people can’t eat the same thing over and over again. I’m not like that. I’ve been eating the same thing for breakfast for the last nine months, because I want it to be simple, easy and fast: a smoothie of bananas, oats and milk, with nuts or sunflower seeds or raisins on top. I drink it straight from the mixie, with peanut butter straight from the jar.
Anisha experiments and cooks different things, so there’s always a little bit left behind for me to have. If I was living alone, it would have been a pretty sad life.
Earlier, when patriarchy was rampant, every mother taught their daughter that you must know how to cook all these things before you get married. Now that that has broken finally, women don’t always come in with all the answers, saying that now we’re married I will make sure that everything is cooked. It’s now a division of responsibility, you know that you need to step up your game and bring something to the table.
When you meet people, if you can be an example of the balance between a man’s role and a woman’s role, that’s a far better example to set. Even with my friends and family, with the older generation, to see me in the kitchen, to see me come and serve or clear a plate, it was new to a lot of them. And finally it caught on.
I love pork – I think it’s the tastiest meat. Everything I know how to make is meat-based.
This is a comfort food for me, but it’s a luxury. It’s fatty and rich, so you can’t have a lot of it.
I’ve tried to be as healthy as possible for a long time, I do try to watch what I eat. But, as we speak, this is the third dish of pork in the fridge, and I’ve got two types of pork in the freezer, so I might not be excelling at it.
I’d like to say that I really love cooking and it’s meditative and so on, but I actually just want the end-goal. I like that pork and I’m trying to do it the best way I can. I want to eat it.
1 kg pork shoulder, with medium fat Marinade
12 red chillies
2 tsp pepper powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp haldi
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp gingergarlic paste
Curry leaves, a handful
Coriander, for garnish
1 tbsp honey
Massage the ingredients for the marinade into the meat. Let it sit for 20 minutes.
Move the marinated meat into a pressure cooker with 1 cup of water, and cook until the meat is tender.
Remove from heat. Allow the meat to rest until cool, then cut into thin slices.
Move the pork slices and juice from the cooker into a wide, heavy-bottomed pan and roast till deep brown.
Add the honey and coriander. Serve warm.