Ask the chef – Erik van Loo
In the run-up to “LINK” we have spoken to Erik van Loo about the Michelin accolade, cruise ships and his personal connection to Germany.
Erik, you are the Chef de Cuisine of the ** Michelin Restaurants Parkheuvel. Where from do you get your inspiration for new recipes?
EvL: Mostly from traveling to different parts of the world to meet new cultures. In my opinion, it is very important to always look beyond one’s own nose.
Your father was a butcher. When did you decide not to step into your father’s shoes but to become a chef?
EvL: When I was 8 years old, I decided not to become a butcher like my father was. I was not interested in how they gained the meat, but what they did with it afterwards. So that is why I became a chef.
At the age of 18, you experienced for the first time that a restaurant you were working for was awarded with a Michelin star. Which significance did this accolade have for you back then and what does it mean for you today?
EvL: At that moment I didn’t really know what it meant. Of course, I liked it; however I did not quite understand the background and the true meaning behind the accolade. Nowadays of course I do – it is an honor and it changes your life totally.
At the age of 20, you decided to become a chef on a cruise ship and to set sail. Why did you return ashore?
EvL: Every chef with a great name did it back then, so I thought it was an important lesson and experience for me to do and find out. I enjoyed the time and learned a lot at sea, at the same time though, I discovered for myself that I was not meant to be a sailor.
What were your first thoughts when Cees Helder, the famous Dutch chef awarded with three Michelin stars, offered you to buy the restaurant Parkheuvel?
EvL: I thought he was joking, but he was for real. After I realized that, I was truly honored.
A famous citation of yours is „flavor is memory”. What extinguishes for you an unforgettable taste experience?
EvL: Within all the flavors people can remember themselves, it is difficult to match up to the best memories, but this is what we call “taste is memory, taste is emotion”
Which ingredients one would never find in your kitchen?
EvL: I do not like garlic, coriander nor coconut.
Is there a difference when cooking for your restaurant or at home?
EvL: There is actually a big difference for me. Because at home, my wife is the one who is cooking.
You are now working for a long time in the seaport Rotterdam. Could you imagine moving into the mountains?
EvL: Of course, that is where the nature origins, where you can also find a way to make the nature digestible. It would be a different atmosphere, but being very close to the nature would be incredible.
What do you do to relax in your free time?
EvL: I can relax at the gym, whilst travelling or listening to Hard Rock music.
Germany is no unknown territory for you. What do you appreciate in the German cuisine?
EvL: I have worked for three years in the restaurant “Gala” in Aachen with Gerard Gartner. What I really liked is the mentality and the way they work together. And I remember very well, what they called “Deutsche Pünktlichkeit”!
Have you ever tried a Bavarian dish?
EvL: Sure; e.g. Weißwurst, Kümmeljus, Schweinshaxe and Sauerkraut
A perfect dinner needs these three ingredients: …
EvL: Flavor, Passion and Quality!
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