Originally published in Karel Zegers' editorial on www.debuikvan.nl, these photos are a study into the intimate relation between the chef and his signature dish.
It was early autumn; the garden showed the yellow and brown hues of early decay -- it was the season of beets and the rich, matured taste of game.
Smoked beets make up the deep, dark flavours of autumn, while a chestnut mousse adds a damping taste like fallen leaves on the forest floor.
Seared and cooked till tender perfection, Somers treats the saddle of venison with delicacy.
A swift cut; a pinch of salt.
Boiling eggs for one-and-a-half hour in a 62 degree bath, Schook reminds us that patience brings out the best qualities in a chef -- and in the flavours of even the most basic ingredients.
In this dish that remedies the bareness of winter, texture is the key to distinguishing between subtle flavours of silky egg yolk, fluffy mousseline from hen-of-the-woods, and crispy flowersprouts.
The only element that really stands out: black truffle. Each of Schook's strokes produces a flake of the rich winter's aphrodisiac.
Preparing scallops is a chef's exercise in finesse. Buik slices the white flesh in thin strips and carefully aligns them to form a circle on a granite plate.
The whole dish is a minute study in details -- as shown by the presentation: slices of radish and tramezzini croutons are kept standing by a soft cream of cauliflower.
With a base of sweet, ocean-flavoured scallop, Buik adds the earthly tones of black truffle to balance the subtle dish.