What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
One of my earliest memories was the weekly visit to the Bakery with my mother. I would get incredibly excited every time I smelled the fresh baked bread, and up to this day I still get excited when we bake the bread for our guests. This is the reason I went to bakery school, and from there I started cooking more and more.
Describe your culinary style...
It needs to be extraordinary cuisine with distinctive flavours, by connecting traditional dishes with contemporary findings embracing both local and international ingredients from the finest producers.
What would you say has inspired the menu for your event at the Conrad Algarve?
This dish could almost be described as a classic, it’s truly a favourite among the guests, hence my decision to serve it during the event at the Conrad Algarve. It combines all the elements into one dish; creaminess, acidity, savoury, crunchy and umami.
What do you think makes a restaurant successful?
Besides the cooking style of the chef, and his specific flavour pallet which the guests appreciate, the big success of a restaurant is made up of 1000 different aspects. All these individual parts create an experience for the guest every time they come to the restaurant. To name an example, the Service team needs to be well groomed, they need proper training in all aspects such as wine knowledge, the ins –and outs of the menus and guest knowledge. The Kitchen is in charge of the flavours, the cooking style, the different techniques, the presentation of the dishes and the speed of the service. Most important of all will still be the collaboration between the team members which makes the restaurant successful.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
I do not have a specific favourite set of ingredients, mainly because I like the seasonal variety which makes cooking exciting. However, I did notice a few ingredients that always show up on my menu; pickled tulip bulbs, ginger, lemon verbena, langoustines, herring, rolmops…
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at your restaurant?
The entire experience. With dishes I always try to search for a lesser known combination of ingredients. This does make it a little more difficult in the execution process, but at the same it is also quite exciting for the guests. I sincerely hope that they will remember it after visiting our restaurant ((I want them walk out of the restaurant, remembering the different flavours)) Not only the food makes an experience worthwhile. Floris, our sommelier, pairs exquisite wines with the distinct flavours of our dishes, completing the menu.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
To receive 2 Michelin stars only 7 months after we first opened.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
I would tell myself to go to Japan and China to learn that cuisine by heart. There is so much to learn from those cuisines and they are all so different from what we are used to in the Western cuisine.
What’s next for you/What projects do you have lined up?
For now I’m solely focusing on the restaurant, but I know for sure that there will be a lot happening in the future.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I am not a huge fan of sweets, but if I get the chance to taste fresh made vanilla ice cream right after it comes out of the ice machine, I lose it and eat the entire container.
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
I would say that Restaurant Geranium in Copenhagen is at the top of my list.