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THE FLEMISH REVOLUTION-DUTCH CHEFS: SYRCO BAKKER

I am interested for four years by the emergence of some Flemish chefs and naturally by the Dutch chefs. I will not make any politics here, but the chefs of this region, whether the Belgian side or the Dutch side, often have the same influences, “terroirs” or internships. Many of these chefs have done an internship at Oud Sluis restaurant with great chef Sergio Herman or with Peter Goossens (Hof van Cleve) or now with Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf).

Syrco Bakker are not yet 30 years old, but he has the confidence to Sergio Herman to lead the kitchen of Pure C restaurant. As Corneille says: “Aux âmes bien nées, la valeur n’attend pas le nombre des années”. After stints (internships) at Jean-Georges Klein and Jonnie Boer, it is with Sergio Herman he could truly let go of his creativity! But besides his technique and influences of the North Sea, it’s his Indonesian childhood that brings a new angle to the “cuisine” of Syrco Bakker.

We certainly notice the aesthetic of dishes that goes perfectly with the landscape and the atmosphere (of restaurant),

but it is truly the creative process of this young chef who impressed me: creative, inspired, meticulous and who gives the time at time!

… And I think this is only the beginning of a great creator in “cuisine”!
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Q+A WITH SYRCO BAKKER (www.pure-c.nl ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

SBakker- It’s a light “cuisine” with a lot of acids, veggies and herbs. We use fish and shellfish from the North Sea, which is right in front of the restaurant. And we combine these products with tastes from all over the world, specially Asia where my “roots” are…

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

SBakker- Yes, Indonesian food! When there was a birthday of my parents, we prepared classic Indonesian dishes for these days. It was always tasty food with a lot of love in it.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

SBakker- I like to work with products from the sea.

4-(Scoffier) Several excellent young chefs have worked with great chef Sergio Herman, what did you learn with him?

SBakker- To focus and go for perfection. Just to give everything, every day to cook the best as possible. Over and over again, everyday better!

5-(Scoffier) The restaurant overlooks the sea, how the North Sea influenced your “cuisine”?

SBakker- Like I said already we use a lot of products from the North Sea in the kitchen, we also have our garden on the dunes in front of the restaurant with salty herbs and vegetables.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes & the menu?

SBakker- At my office I have a big “mood” board. Every time when I have got an idea I hang it on the “mood” board. Then we collect information about products, preparations, presentation, plates etc. When I think we have enough information then we start with testing technics and tastes and develop a dish.

7-(Scoffier) The restaurant scene looks very original in Flanders (I think at Bruges, Ghent…), and I include you, same if you are in Netherlands! Is it a perception from the outside or do you feel it?

SBakker- I think everybody is doing something what they like/love. For me personally, I cook what I like without looking to other restaurants. I try to get an own style and signature. When I cook like that I can put extra feeling in a dish/the food and I believe the guests taste it as well.

8-(Scoffier) You recently released your first book. How do you describe that book: your history, recipes of Pure C, everyday cookbook, other?

SBakker- We wanted to get the Pure C feeling in the Pure C Book. With a lot of nice photos of the restaurant, the area and of course the food. There is also a CD included with the music we play at Pure C to get the “Pure C vibe” where ever you are. In the book there are also recipes of 50 dishes that we served at Pure C.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Syrco Bakker?

SBakker- Recipe: ‘Boemboe Bali’

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef?

SBakker- First of all the goal is to have a fully booked restaurant with people how really like to be at Pure C. I am very happy that we can work like this since the opening. Then I want to level up the quality, experience and the food every menu. So we can surprise the guest every time they visit Pure C.

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PHOTO: Sambal Maison Pure C + Tomatencompote + Boemboe Bali
For the complete recipe and instructions, see the Pure C Cookbook (p.130).

RECIPE: Makreel Boemboe Bali En Gado Gado

This dish has authentic Indonesian flavors. I transformed the original recipe to a light Pure C version. To still feel the Indonesian street food, we present the mackerel in a paper container.
-Syrco Bakker

FURTHER INFORMATION

PURE C/Chef Syrco Bakker
Blvd de Wielingen 49
4506 JK Cadzand-Bad
The Netherlands
www.pure-c.nl

PRESS

1. Syrco Bakker website

2. Sergio Herman

3. Interview by Mara Grimm (in Dutch), July 15, 2012

4. La Cuisine à Quatre Mains (Review), January 10, 2011

© Credits for photo #1 at Pure C. Credits for photo #2 (dish) at Tony Le Duc.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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ANOTHER GASTRONOMIC WORLD-ASIAN CHEFS: ZAIYU HASEGAWA

I have often thought to conduct interviews in Japan, but a few times the language was a barrier to entry. This is a real first interview in Japan (Tokyo) with the indispensable help of The Skinny Bib, probably one of the best “food bloggers, reviewers and/or foodies travelers” in the world. And when I say “Food blogger”, I imply: cooking enthusiast, rigorous, intellectually honest and trying to take photos where the image quality is equal to the quality of dishes. So I had the chance to discuss with one of the best young chefs of the moment: Zaiyu Hasegawa (Jimbocho Den).

Chef Hasegawa was born in Tokyo in 1978. His mother was a geisha who entertained customers in a “ryotei” (traditional high-end Japanese restaurant). Zaiyu became interested in Japanese cooking under his mother’s work and influence. After the high school, he started working at a well-known “ryotei” called Uotoku. It is a few years later, at the young age of 29 he opened a small “unconventional” restaurant called DEN, and since Den has received several accolades (Michelin stars, Tabelog Japan etc.). Given the hierarchy in Japanese cuisine, it is rare to see a young chef in their thirties already obtain such praise.

The “cuisine” at Den is a very personal “vision” of “Kaiseki ryori” (Japanese haute cuisine) by the chef Hasegawa. That is to say, playful, creative, inventive, seasonal, close to nature and focused on the pleasure of the customer first. The interview with chef Hasegawa is an example of short answers that imply much, simply read between the lines and watch her “cuisine”…

An “Électron libre” in Tokyo dedicated to creativity, products and customer happiness!

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Q+A WITH ZAIYU HASEGAWA (www.jimbochoden.com):

1-(Scoffier) What is the philosophy behind your “cuisine” in general?

ZHasegawa- To make people happy and express myself.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

ZHasegawa- My most favorite taste is my mother’s cooking. Also, when she was
geisha, she sometimes brought home bento (Japanese lunch box). I like both.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

ZHasegawa- I always use dashi (Japanese stock), Japanese tea and kuzu (starch from Japanese root vegetable)

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your career?

ZHasegawa- Everybody that I meet.

5-(Scoffier) What are your source(s) of inspiration to create a recipe?

ZHasegawa- Inspiration comes from my customers, producers and staff, and how to make them all smile.

6-(Scoffier) In everything I have read and seen on you, each dish seems to experience, there is a playful side. This is important for you?

ZHasegawa- Playfulness is a very important thing for me, partly because I only speak Japanese. I want my food to communicate. I always try to talk to customers through my dishes.

7-(Scoffier) Did you change your “kaiseki” menu often?

ZHasegawa- My menu changes all the time according to seasons and availability.

8-(Scoffier) The restaurant is perceived by some Westerner (foodies, journalists) as one of the best in Tokyo now. How is it perceived in Tokyo (by the journalists, foodies etc.)?

According Skinny Bib- “Jimbocho Den is one of the most well-received restaurants in Japan. Currently, apart from its two Michelin stars, it is ranked as third-best restaurant in Tokyo on Japan’s restaurant ranking website Tabelog. Chef Hasegawa’s cooking and hospitality is also creating buzzes overseas, most reputedly in Brazil”.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Den and Zaiyu Hasegawa?

ZHasegawa- Recipe:Salad” is my signature dish.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant ?

ZHasegawa- I hope everybody will come to my restaurant.

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RECIPE: “Salad” By Zaiyu Hasegawa

I use a few cooking techniques for each component that goes into my salad. Some leaves are served fresh and raw; some pickled; deep-fried; braised in stock; roasted; grilled. Each component has different texture and temperature. The ingredients vary according to seasons and come from a special grower. I often dust root vegetables with tea. Sometimes I add fruit. The dressing is made by cutting kombu into small pieces and mixing them with sesame oil.

FURTHER INFORMATION

JIMBOCHO DEN/Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa
1010-0051 2-2-32
Jimbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo (Japan)
www.jimbochoden.com

PRESS

1. The Skinny Bib (the best guide), About the Fine-Dining in Japan (Tokyo), February 2013

2. The Japan Times, Review of 2012 by Robbie Swinnerton, Dec. 28 2012

3. Tokyo Food File (Long review + photos), May 2013

4. Spanish Hipster Blog (review), June 2013

© Credits for photos at: #1- Portrait by The Skinny Bib/ #2- “Salad” by Jimbocho Den.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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THE FLEMISH REVOLUTION-BELGIUM CHEFS: MICHAËL VRIJMOED

I am interested for four years by the emergence of some Flemish chefs. Initially I saw it as some “Électrons libres” in the Kingdom of Belgium, but after my first (2-3) interviews with Filip Claeys, Kobe Desramaults, Gert De Mangeleer, I understood that it was much more … Beyond the media trend to always seek “the Next Big Thing”, there are actually in Flanders a lot of creativity, an uniqueness and a willingness by the chefs to highlight an often overlooked “terroir”.

Many of these chefs have done an internship at Oud Sluis restaurant (chef Sergio Herman) but the chef Michael Vrijmoed comes rather from the other school, that of great chef Peter Goossens (Hof Van Cleve). It is after eight years as Sous chef at Hof Van Cleve that this young chef (33 years old) decided to open his own restaurant, Vrijmoed in Ghent. Besides his talent and his creativity, it is this longevity that struck me, it is rare to see in 2013 a young chef stay as long in a restaurant!

Vrijmoed loves its “terroir” and it is perceived in its plates. The dishes are originals, technical, complex and simple in same time. This simplicity in appearance rather reflects a harmonic complexity that finds its influences everywhere. There are a few things of Pascal Barbot in his “cuisine”, just a feeling!

There is another school in Flanders equally talented and dedicated to the unique “terroir”! Try Vrijmoed and Ghent before this city became a must in June 2013!

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Q+A WITH MICHAËL VRIJMOED (www.vrijmoed.be):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

MVrijmoed- A pure “cuisine” where we follow the seasons. We start with the search of a good (honest) product and we create a dish without overloading it with to many ingredients.

2-(Scoffier) You worked almost 8 years as sous chef for one of the most important restaurants in Belgium, Hof van Cleve. What have you learned with the chef Peter Goossens?

MVrijmoed- That was as 8 years of exploring and learning about the products, techniques. I learned to know Peter Goossens himself and myself…

3-(Scoffier) Why did you decide to open your own restaurant now (2013)?

MVrijmoed- It was a dream for a long time to open one day my own restaurant and to do “my things” but I waited for the good moment, when I would be ready in all aspects.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

MVrijmoed- The smell or taste of a fresh baked bread is something that I adore, we make our own bread in the restaurant and will keep doing that for the future for that reason.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

MVrijmoed- I like acidity or the use of citrus in my dishes.

6-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires in your career?

MVrijmoed- For sure Peter Goossens was one of these persons. But also Guy Van Cauteren who closed his restaurant this year (after almost 40 years) where I really learned “what’s cooking”.

There are other chefs that touched me with their “cuisine” including Michel Bras, Pascal Barbot and of course many others!

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

MVrijmoed- I start with the “main ingredient” of a dish and I think to how I would love to eat it. Next step is thinking what are the seasonal products who would improve the dish.

8-(Scoffier) I had the chance to interview some talented young Flemish chefs, the restaurant scene looks very original and singular in Flanders (I think at Bruges, Ghent…). How do you explain that?

MVrijmoed- I think it’s true that we have some really talented young chefs in Belgium, who (may be the most important) do their own “cuisine” and give a 100% in their work all the time.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or one that you like now) that is characterized the cuisine of Michaël Vrijmoed?

MVrijmoed- Recipe: Confits of pork cheeks, goose liver, roasted spring onions and “saltcrustbaked” cevenne onions.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for Restaurant Vrijmoed?

MVrijmoed- Keep on going as we do now, two (2) months after the opening: make the people happy with “la cuisine” we do!

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RECIPE: Confits of Pork Cheeks, Goose Liver, Roasted Spring Onions & “Saltcrustbaked” Cevenne Onions.

-No Instruction. A little secret even as the restaurant has just opened!

FURTHER INFORMATION

RESTAURANT VRIJMOED/Chef Michaël Vrijmoed
Vlaanderenstraat 22
9000 Ghent
Belgium
info@vrijmoed.be
www.vrijmoed.be

PRESS

1. Alle Dagen Honger site (Review in Flemish), May 5, 2013

2. Le Figaro “Gand Gourmand”, March 16, 2013

3. Flanders Today (Review), March 20, 2013

© Credits for photos at Restaurant Vrijmoed.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: JUNYA YAMASAKI

The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.

I thought I’d come back later with another English chef, but circumstances have changed the schedule, so I complete a “Londoner trilogy” with the chef Junya Yamasaki. I know that many chefs already know very well Junya and Koya restaurant, I have heard only “good things” about him and his “small dishes” marked by simplicity and creativity.

It was during his art studies in Paris he began to cook, and it was under the teaching of Mr. Nomoto (Udon master) he learns the art of Udon noodle in Paris. Junya Yamasaki is a self-taught, but he made an “internship” with two of the most famous chefs of the moment, Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken Magasinet) and Dan Hunter (Royal Mail Hotel). In 2010, he opened with partners, Koya (London), a casual restaurant specializing in Udon noodle but quickly became a “must-go-to” for the “daily small plates” of chef Yamasaki.

But thanks to this interview, I discovered a creative chef in symbiosis with its products and very influenced by his japanese roots (Kansaï) and philosophy Shyojin Ryori. His “cuisine” is unlike any chef that I interviewed, except maybe 1-2 chef(s) from Australia/NZeland. A “cuisine” closer to the artistic improvisation and to the instinct of the chef, completely inspired by the products of certain suppliers. It may be a coincidence, but in the way, I think at chef Bertrand Grébaut (Septime). Just to illustrate, here are a few recent titles of his dishes: Nuka Fermented & Grilled Mackerel with Shiso Daïkon/Steamed Turnip in Dashi with Ramson Oil/Tofu, Chicory, Dandelion & Mustard Salad/Grilled & Hay Smoked Char.

Definitely a chef to follow for a long time!

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Q+A WITH JUNYA YAMASAKI (www.koya.co.uk):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

JYamasaki- Our speciality is Udon noodle, but we also play a lot with daily changing/special black board/small plates Menu.

My “cuisine” is honest/natural/simple/minimal. Stylistically close to the popular and everyday home cooking, philosophically influenced by Zen and Shyojin Ryori.

Seasonal ingredients are essential, then we try to find our products locally, therefore some of our food become strange for the Japaneses, but familiar to the Europeans, that could be a challenge for us and exciting for the customers.

2-(Scoffier) Where did you learn to make the udon noodles/dishes?

JYamasaki- In Paris, under the Udon master Mr. Nomoto at famous Udon noodle restaurant called “Kunitoraya”.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

JYamasaki- I’m from Kansaï, West side of Japan, which is famous for light seasoning. I love the tastes of fish caught and grilled by the river and I love the smell and taste of ripe tomato just picked from tomato plants.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

JYamasaki- I like pickling the part of vegetable we normally throw away like turnip green and use it for seasoning. I also love the English game in general which I perceive like a true luxury.

5-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your career?

JYamasaki- Fergus Henderson, Rosanjin Kitaoji as chef and some Zen monks (past and present) in Japan.

6-(Scoffier) Koya specializes in the classic udon dishes but you have a great reputation for your “daily small plates”? How do you develop (creative process) your daily menu?

JYamasaki- Very simple. First, I get fresh and local seasonal ingredients and then wonder what can I do with these ingredients today. It is the fresh ingredients that dictates our “small plates menu” everyday. I try to be open to all cooking methods but I also try to listen to the “voice of nature” and to the precious gifts and tellings of great predecessors and precious thinkers.

7-(Scoffier) Initially it was only udon restaurant, how daily specials meals arrived in the menu?

JYamasaki- True, but we had this in our mind before we opened the restaurant. We knew we have to enjoy cooking, not just do the same food to feed everyday, and this is the best way to do.The more we do, the more we have learned things, that is actually so exciting. That’s also why I want to do a “daily changing menu”. The literal meaning of Shyojin Ryori ( Zen Monk’s food ) is “make effort to progress everyday”.

I learned enormous amount of stuff in past three years, from both Japanese and European cooking, on the history of food and, it’s funny, I had to learn a lot about my own culture and heritage. Never thought about Zen aspect for example.

8-(Scoffier) Is this one of the aims to offer kaiseki-style meals in the future?

JYamasaki- It doesn’t have an aim to offer kaiseki, though kaiseki has a root to Zen and Shojin Ryori. It is just fascinating “cuisine”, vegan but full of understanding of food, creativity and the life.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Junya Yamasaki?

JYamasaki- Recipe: Stout and Honey Pork Belly

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for Koya?

JYamasaki- Continue feeding the people with nice food of course, and at the same time I always want to learn more about the meaning and esthetic of eating.

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RECIPE: Stout and Honey Pork Belly
(Photo not available. The daily menu changes too often)

In KOYA, we have been serving “Braised Pork Belly with Apple Cider” from the day one, and it has been the biggest seller as a small plate menu. It is so addictive that I call it Pork Brownie. This version is the recipe that I came up with when I discovered fantastic local dark beers and honey in Faviken during a few weeks stage there. I cooked it as a staff meal on my last day together with “Rain Deer Dashi” Udon. And ever since, I put on our special black board menu sometimes. I even did with chocolate stout and orange as an half joke, but it was seriously good!

Ingredients

-Pork belly (The amount you need)
-Braising sauce mix:
water 500ml
stout 300ml
honey 150ml
-Ginger
-Onions

1) Cut the belly pork into big brick size, or buy the bricks of pork belly. Sear them all around in hot frying pan.

2) Boil them with medium strong heat in water for about 1,5 hours (this is to render the fat and leave only collagen in belly). Let them cool down till the room temperature in the boiled water and keep in the fridge. The water will be set like jelly and the belly meat will be kept in it easily for a week if it is properly refridgerated.

3) Take the amount of belly blocks as you want to cook from it. In Koya, we cook quite a lot everyday, but at home you can accommodate with the size of casserole that you have. Cut them into chunk of cubs (3-4 cm) and layout in your casserole. Do not lay one on top of the other.

4) Cover the belly with the braising sauce mix with some ginger and whole small onions, then braised with medium heat till the sauce gets reduced and get the silky texture. It will usually take around 2 to 3 hours.

5) Serve with hot mustard.

FURTHER INFORMATION

KOYA/Chef Junya Yamasaki
49 Frith Street
London W1D 4SG
info@koya.co.uk

PRESS

1. Observer Food Monthly Awards 2012

2. The Skinny Bib (Review), Oct. 2010

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: TOM SELLERS

The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.

Normally, I do not like using words like amazing, wunderkind, or repeat some “clichés” heard many times, but the Nottingham-born Tom Sellers is one of those extremely talented young chef who at 25 years, has already opened his first restaurant. And not a restaurant in the countryside with a few clients per day, a restaurant in London!

Looks like Tom Sellers’s path has been continuous and flawless. He started very young, he worked for Tom Aikens and he makes passes at Per Se (Thomas Keller), Trinity (Adam Byatt) and Noma (René Redzepi). In 2011, he tested its “cuisine” and concept by launching a pop-up restaurant “Forward” and now in 2013, he open the highly anticipated “Restaurant Story”.

I am convinced that his style evolves, to refine, but we can already see in Tom Sellers a cuisine rooted in British “terroir”, highly personal and creative. There is certainly an influence of Noma in “this complexity of simple appearances,” where each dish, each product has a few things to tell.

As Corneille said: “Aux âmes bien nées. la valeur n’attend point le nombre des années”.

A “Story” to follow…

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Q+A WITH TOM SELLERS (www.restaurantstory.co.uk ):

1-(Scoffier) What is the philosophy behind your “cuisine” in general and at “Story” particular?

TSellers- My food is British, seasonal and driven by history. Telling a story through food and the influences that food has had on my life is important to me. I have found myself in food and my own style, which isn’t over-worked or over-influenced by anyone in particular. It is me on a plate.

2-(Scoffier) How do you explain the concept behind your new restaurant “Story”?

TSellers- I always wanted to call my own restaurant Story since I started cooking and that has never changed. Food, eating and ingredients all have a story to tell, and it was on that basis the concept came about

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

TSellers- Burnt onions from eating hot dogs at the fairground. That flavour is one of the strongest childhood memories I have of food and eating.

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

TSellers- I use whatever is seasonal and the best of British. We have so many fantastic ingredients at our fingertips in the UK and I’m lucky to be working with some great suppliers. I’ll call up and they’ll tell me about something amazing and I have to find a way to use it. I’m also a big believer in seeing where your produce comes from and taking the team along to see as well. I’ll be doing this with the kitchen team at Story so they too can better understand the food chain and meet our producers

5-(Scoffier) You worked for chef Tom Aikens, at Per Se, at Noma and with chef Adam Byatt (Trinity). What you learned at these restaurants?

TSellers- So much. Firstly, how to cook and what it takes to work in a professional kitchen. Then I learnt how to manage and organise not only myself but others. I learnt how to get the best out of myself and the people around me and how to get the best out of flavours and ingredients. Finally, I learnt how to look at food differently.

6-(Scoffier) Is there any other people who inspired you in the kitchen?

TSellers- The other chefs I have worked with have all given me inspiration. But inspiration also comes from all sorts of unexpected places, not just the places I’ve worked at.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

TSellers- I look to the history of food, things that are iconically British; what is amazing that season; and incorporating flavours and ingredients I love, for example gin. The recipes are developed over time and through testing, there isn’t really a short-cut.

8-(Scoffier) I had the chance to interview several talented young English chefs, the restaurant scene looks very dynamic, creative, original. But is it easy to open a restaurant in London now? Your pop-up “Foreword” was a necessary step?

TSellers- It’s not easy to open a restaurant in London at all. There are too many moving parts, it isn’t just down to me, my food and what I think is right. Finding the right site, surrounding yourself with the right people and constantly pushing forward all the time is the only way to keep it moving. Of course there are set backs, but I’m focused on the goal of opening, then the real work starts. The pop up was a necessary step, a shop window if you like for Story. I’ve had a great career and worked in some fantastic places but it’s always been cooking other people’s food. Foreword allowed me to cook my own food and the response was both massively encouraging and humbling.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Tom Sellers?

TSellers- Recipe: Bread and dripping: a candle made from beef fat that runs into an old fashioned candle well. Then home-made bread used to dip into the fat and mop it up with.

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef (maybe a book…) and for your restaurant?

TSellers- My goal is to have a restaurant that people are proud to work at and proud to come to. That’s it!

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NOTE: For once, there will be no recipe because the restaurant will open in April. In the meantime, here is the menu:

MENU -STORY-

Six course – £45
Bread and dripping
Burnt onion, apple, gin and thyme
Scallops, cucumber, and dill ash
Beef cheek, stout and cauliflower yeast
Hot toddy
Bread and butter pudding

Ten course – £65
Bread and dripping
Burnt onion, apple, gin and thyme
Scallops, cucumber and dill ash
Crab, smoked leek, rapeseed, pear and lovage
Heritage potato, radish butter and barley grass
Lamb bread, sheep yoghurt, wild garlic
Beef cheek, stout, and cauliflower yeast
Hot toddy
3 bears porridge
Bread and butter pudding

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FURTHER INFORMATION

RESTAURANT STORY/Chef-owner Tom Sellers
201 Tooley Street
London SE1 2UE
dine@restaurantstory.co.uk

PRESS

1. Big Hospitality, January 8th, 2013

2. Pop-up/New York (Video by Libby Andrews), April 2012

3. The Telegraph (Review), June 4, 2013

Credits at Ed Tyler for the photographs.

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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THE GAME-BRITISH & SCOTTISH CHEFS: JAMES KNAPPETT

The Brits have been preparing for some time the after Marco Pierre White cuisine. Not that there is a british style but we can certainly say that the emerging chefs are pro-locavore and that they are sourcing the best products of the island of Albion. In the very cosmopolitan London, the influences of young chefs are many, which give them a unique culinary personality.

To start 2013, I discussed with excellent English chef James Knappett happens to us with a concept a few different, Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs.

After working like Head chef for Marcus Wareing (at the Berkeley) and passages at The Ledbury, Per Se and Noma, chef Knappett returned to its lands to open Bubbledogs & Kitchen Table. It is still unusual to find the “gourmet hot dogs” paired with a Champagne bar, with bonus “The Chef’s Table (19 seats)” behind it!

Beyond the very interesting idea of ​​Bubbledogs, there is The Kitchen Table, the playground of the chef Knappett. A place where the chef can create and serve a “Tasting menu (11-12 courses)” that put out the best products of the season. A bit like Christian Puglisi (Relae) but in its own way, chef Knappett often works with 4 ingredients or less to showcase perfectly the product, its color, its essence.

This restaurant is more than just a “concept”, it is a chance to see a “maître-artisan” maximize the flavors front us; finesse and originality!

Q+A WITH JAMES KNAPPETT (www.bubbledogs.co.uk ):

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your “cuisine”?

JKnappett- At Kitchen Table our philosophy is to showcase the ingredients by only using 1-4 ingredients on a plate at the same time, and not turning their flavours into something which no longer resembles the original form. We like to use a lot of British ingredients, but do also vary these with foreign additions such as lemons, limes and mangos. We also use a lot of wild herbs, berries and weeds which we forage ourselves, and these play a big part in our cooking.


2-(Scoffier) How do you explain the idea behind your concept “Bubbledogs”, that you have created with your partner/wife Sandia Chang?

JKnappett- We wanted to open a wine bar that supported the growers in Champagne. We also wanted a Champagne bar that had no pretentiousness and glitz. Therefore, as a food option we wanted something humble and accessible to all ages and all social statures. We also wanted the public to receive and think of food and wine matching in a different and more open minded way…and Champagne goes with everything!

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

JKnappett- Dandelion and Burdock

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

JKnappett- I love liquorice and try to always have this on the menu; also yogurt plays a big part in our cooking.

5-(Scoffier) You worked for Marcus Wareing (The Berkeley) and did internships with several important chefs (Noma, Per Se, The Ledbury), what you learned at these restaurants? Is there any other people who inspired you in the kitchen?

JKnappett- Thomas Keller and René Redzepi played massive parts in my training – they taught me to show food and staff respect, and also the art of finesse.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

JKnappett- I develop our recipes by involving the whole team; from the juniors to the seniors everybody is involved. Inspiration comes solely from the raw ingredients and it’s from these that we then build the dishes.

7-(Scoffier) Why the choice of a pairing (hotdogs) with champagne? Is there room for small producers in your Champagne list?

JKnappett- Sparkling wine is always a great and traditional match with oily and salty food such as caviar and charcuterie. So, why not hot dogs? Small producers are our speciality – our list features only grower Champagnes.

8-(Scoffier) I had the chance to interview several talented young English chefs, the restaurant scene looks very dynamic, creative, original. But is it easy to open a restaurant in London? There are advantages for a young chef?

JKnappett- I wouldn’t say it is easy to open a restaurant anywhere; London might have the advantage of a lot more people but the extra costs equal this out.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of James Knappett?

JKnappett- Recipe: Pigeon

10-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

JKnappett- Our goal at Bubbledogs is to cook food and serve drinks as best we can, and for both our guests and us to enjoy what we do. Awards etc. are lovely but as long as everyone’s enjoying themselves then it’s just a bonus to us.

RECIPE: Pigeon, Onions, Elderberry, Fresh Almond

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(Details of the recipe are not available)

FURTHER INFORMATION

KITCHEN TABLE at Bubbledogs/Chef-owner James Knappett
70 Charlotte St.
London W1T 4QG
info@bubbledogs.co.uk

PRESS

1. London Evening Standard, Review by Fay Maschler, Oct. 17, 2012
2. The Independant, Oct. 21, 2012
3. The Skinny Bib (Blog), June 16, 2012

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2013

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THE FLEMISH REVOLUTION-BELGIUM CHEFS: DAVY SCHELLEMANS

The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search.

Davy Schellemans is another hyper talented young chefs native of Flanders. Just in his early thirties, he opened his own restaurant last year (26 seats) in Antwerp after have been (among others) the Sous chef of Kobe Desramaults (In de Wulf), one of the leaders of this movement flemish (Flemish Foodies). Indeed, it is created in this corner of Belgium, a cuisine intense, personalized and highly creative.

Schellemans have a unique menu of five courses (just 45 euros) which change weekly or biweekly depending on the product and seasons. This “menu” will allow him to focus on the finish and the essence of the products and the flavors. The first time we see “sa cuisine”, we understand immediately that this chef has a unique vision and creativity in the kitchen without blinkers and without limit.

A singular chef with an environmental conscience to follow in the coming years!

Q+A WITH DAVY SCHELLEMANS:

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your “cuisine” at Veranda?

DSchellemans- I don’t have a philosophy, just want to serve good food and let people have a nice evening. For me “good food” is not too complicated, neither technical but made with love.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DSchellemans- A flavour not really, more a smell.The smell of fresh tomatoes is something I will never forget.

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DSchellemans- For me, acidity and texture are really important. These are two (2) things you will find always in my dishes.

4-(Scoffier) You worked as Sous chef of chef Kobe Desramaults, what you learned at the restaurant In de Wulf? Is there any other people who inspired you in the kitchen?

DSchellemans- Kobe gave me the drive and many other chefs are inspiring me but at the end, it is really important to do your own things.

5-(Scoffier) Seen from outside, there is real effervescence in Flanders and several creative young chefs. Do you perceive this movement and the energy?

DSchellemans- Many young chefs are opening restaurants with a very personal approach where food is always the most important, something that I really like! Every person is unique and that should reflect in the dishes and the atmosphere.

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (process) your recipes for your menu? What are your source(s) of inspiration?

DSchellemans- My most important sources are my suppliers. They reach me the products and I have to bring them together. I don’t think too long about new dishes, I just start cooking, taste, and then fine tune…

7-(Scoffier) In the book of Kobe (Desramaults), he talks a lot of regional producers, is it easy for you to find “all” locally?

DSchellemans- Herbs, vegetables and fish from the north sea is quite easy to find but my meat still comes from France. The hype right now is “local”, before it was “molecular” and therefore “fusion”. My point is that every chef has to do what he has to do.

8-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Veranda (& Davy Schellemans)?

DSchellemans- Recipe: Chinese Broccoli with pickled Onions, cream of Lemon, Chioggia Beets and fresh Herbs.

9-(Scoffier) What are your goals (ambitions) as chef and for your restaurant?

DSchellemans- My goal is to give people a nice evening every single day and to develop my style of cooking but most of all to enjoy what I am doing!

RECIPE: Chinese Broccoli with pickled Onions, cream of Lemon, Chioggia Beets and fresh Herbs

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INSTRUCTIONS & PROGRESSION RECIPE

Ingredients (4 pers)

-12 chinese broccoli
-30 cl soy sauce
-10 cl Yuzu juice
-4 lemon peel
-10 cl lemon juice
-10 cl sugar water
-1 beetroot sliced
-Olive oil
-Red wine vinegar
-4 young onions
-40 g alcohol vinegar
-200 g sugar water

To finish (to taste)*:

-Spinach – Amaranth – Citrus tagetes (branch + leaf) – Nasturtium – Roasted sunflower seeds.

Preparation

1. Cook the broccoli and let cool immediately in ice water. Warm before serving in soy sauce with yuzu juice.

2. Cook the sauce for the lemon peel 3 times after each other, change the water every time. Mix with lemon juice and sugar water.

3. Marinate the beetroot in a mixture of olive oil and red wine vinegar.

4. Cook the onions in a mixture of sugar water and alcohol vinegar.

5. Divide the broccoli and beet slices on a plate and garnish with the sauce and spinach, amaranth, citrus tagetes, nasturtium and sunflower seeds.

FURTHER INFORMATION

VERANDA/Chef-owner Davy Schellemans
Guidenvliesstraat 60
2600 Anvers (Belgium)
Phone: +32 (0) 3 218 55 95

PRESS

1. Video about Davy Schellemans by FrenchfoodTV, March 2011
2. Review by Gilles Pudlowski, December 2011
3. Interview, A Point Magazine #16, Printemps 2012
4. To taste the cuisine of Davy Schellemans in North America, it will be the guest of chef Dominique Crenn, November 9th (Omnivore Food Festival San Francisco).

NOTE: Credit for the photos: Charlie De Keersmaecker (Portrait), Roos Mest Dagh (Food)

Tous Droits Réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2012