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How Cool is That?

Words by
November 03, 2016
Being a chef is a hard job, no doubt about that. The working hours, the standing all day, the constant stress—all of it is part of the job. But at the same time, this is what makes it one of the best jobs in the world.

How cool is it to make the freshest food using great flavours, textures and looks, all from scratch? To start off with the vegetables fresh from the countryside, warm from the sun or cold from the first frosty night? This is pure nature and even more so, pure cooking. Being so close to earth, getting more and more respect for it—it’s so motivating! Making a dish with vegetables, combining it with a beautiful piece of meat or fish, simple but understandable for the guest.

At De Kas we let the young chefs do everything. Everyone in the kitchen needs to be thinking about the food we present to the guests.”
But even though you feel this excitement yourself, how do you get the next generation involved? How do you get your young chefs to think about food like you do? Of course they already think about food and they have a passion for food, otherwise they wouldn’t work in a professional kitchen. But I’m talking about the deeper feeling for food and the pure passion for creating art with it. How can you give that feeling to someone else?

How Cool is That
photo © Bas Wiegel

How cool is it to be talking about food, showing your young chefs different flavours, letting them experiment with different vegetables? All of this is important to learn the true feeling. At De Kas we let the young chefs do everything. Everyone in the kitchen needs to be thinking about the food we present to the guests. Every week we share the email from the countryside with every chef in the kitchen. It tells us what produce is ready to use for next week’s menu. From that point on the young chefs are free to make a dish, course or dessert—anything as long as it fits the menu and as long as it fits the season.

How cool is it to show your parents the first signature you put on a menu? I know how proud I was the first time there was something on the menu I created, even if it was just a small part. It made me eager to get more of my own ideas on the menu. And it still works like that. The young men and women in the kitchen challenge each other with dishes and different techniques. It becomes a small competition. And in the end, it brings everybody further, one dish at a time!

And most of all, how cool is it to see young chefs share this feeling with the guests? The ultimate location for this purpose is the chef’s table, where chefs and guests interact. This is the place where a chef can show his or her part of the menu and talk about it with the guests. Hearing their enthusiastic words about what was made or the questions they have: “How did you do this? How is this possible? Can I make it as well?” The guests get more and more inspired by something the chefs created and are even willing to try it at home.

How cool is it when I see my chefs tell their story to the chef’s table? Being so unsure and nervous at first, I now see them opening up and telling the guests with honest passion about what they made and how they made it. Without knowing it, they inspire and motivate the guests with their presentation and their dish.

And, how cool is that?