Bart van Olphen

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Bart van Olphen, co-founder of Fish Tales and winner of the 2018 Edward Stanford Food and Travel Book of the Year

The cookbook that has most influenced your cooking

Paul Bocuse’s La Cuisine du Marché. When I was young my father always cooked out of this book. I  could say I made my first steps into cooking because of this book. When I was 17 I visited Bocuse at his restaurant for the first time. A dream came true

The food of love… What would you cook to impress a potential date

I would make a bouillabaisse. A big pot with this stunning famous seafood soup in the middle of our table. The smell, the colours, some crispy chilled white wine….

Your top five dinner guests, dead or alive

My mom, the best mom in the world who taught me to taste and eat

Richard de Nijs; one of my very best friends with whom I cooked and ate a lot  in Spain. Sadly he died a few months ago, in a plane crash

Johan Cruijff, my idol when I was young. I always wanted to become a professional football player. I once phoned his mom (I was 12) to ask what she cooked during the week for him. I thought if I ate the same, I would come close to becoming a professional player too

Hein Boersen who is my favourite fishermen and lives here in The Netherlands. A beautiful man of 78 years old, still fishing daily, and who can tell you the lessons of life in such a pleasant way, that it always makes you feel good

Jamie Oliver. Long before I started to work with him I already was a big fan. After I came back from working as a chef in Paris, he was the one who inspired me to start cooking from my heart instead of from fixed recipes

Fast food –  your top snack tip

There is nothing more traditional in The Netherlands, than eating raw herring at these kiosks, with some onions and pickles

Most memorable meal in  film/literature/painting

In terms of art and food I love Salvador Dalí’s book Les Dîner de Gala. Beautiful drawings combined with the most crazy food. Love that book. In film I was most impressed by the documentary Jiro dreams of sushi. So impressive to see how someone is so dedicated to food

Your worst kitchen disaster

It was in the 90’s, when I worked as a trainee in Paris in a 3-star Michelin restaurant. On the first working day the chef asked me to make 5 litres of truffle dressing. By coincidence I used not sunflower and olive oil but deep frying oil (couldn’t read the French label correctly). Due to the truffles being a huge loss for the chef; who was then told me to fire me

What do you eat  when you get home from the pub [or similar]

Scrambled eggs or … sorry …. pizza

What would you like your final meal to be?

Oysters and Le poulet de Bresseaux morilles (Bresse chicken with sauce of morilles)

What is your secret talent [in or out of the kitchen]?

I am known as a seafood chef but was actually originally educated in Paris as a rôtisseur (meat). Outside the kitchen I love to ski and play pool billiards.

What did you eat for breakfast today?

Smoothie mix of green veggies and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon off-cuts and chives. And a cup of good coffee

Most over-rated/ under-rated food/seasoning/gadget

Over rated: rocket lettuce. Nice but over-used

Under rated: all kind of by-catch species coming out of our oceans. Think of dab, pout, whiting. It would be better for our oceans if we would appreciate these more

Your inheritance recipes – the one you inherited and the one you’d like to pass on to your children

A very simple but delicious recipe from my hundred year old grandmother. When I was around 14 years old, she taught me how to cook her favourite fish Dover Sole. She loved it the classic way: pan fried in a bit of oil, roast it perfectly both sides and then add butter and parsley. Crispy outside, juicy inside. My kids still love it too. I have added a few simple ingredients: wine and shallot. The balanced acidity goes very well with the roasted fish and creamy butter

Bart’s Fish Tales: A Fishing Adventure in over 100 Recipes (Pavilion Books) is the winner of the Edward Stanford Food and Travel Book of the Year 2018