Jannis Brevet at Inter Scaldes
"Fashion and trends are only temporary"
Zealeand in The Netherlands,
famous for it’s beautiful dunes, the calm atmosphere and the nice views. However, our motivation to drive up to Kruiningen is the high-end gastronomic offer of Manoir Restaurant Inter Scaldes. For years it has been a fixture in the Dutch culinary landscape with a score of 19,5/20 according to Gault & Millau and three Michelin-stars. For ‘Chef’s Secret’ – the collaboration between The Best Chef and Hungry for More, we’re happy pay chef Jannis Brevet and hostess Claudia Brevet a visit, in search of the secret for their success.
The best way to introduce the owners Jannis and Claudia Brevet, is to take a look at their professional track record. Hostess Claudia started of her carreer in the hotel industry. After some years she specialised in working as a wedding planner. At the Greenpark Hotel Leischendam Claudia met chef Jannis Brevet. At that time Jannis had already earned his spurs at Das Tantris*** in München, Die Schweizer Stuben** in Wertheim, Alb 31* in Ettlingen and Le Marron* in Bonn. Subsequently the couple worked together at Het Koetshuis in Rhenen, before starting a own business on their own at Helianthushof in Uden. The next step for Claudia and Jannis was to take over the restaurant where they are currently based: Inter Scaldes in Kruiningen.
Minimalism, elegance and warmth are also the key elements in the restaurant of Inter Scaldes. Via the spacious lobby you are personally escorted to your table. The dining room is situated in the back wing, that offers that nice view on the garden and a wonderful touch of sunlight. These assets are optimized by using white as the most important colour for the walls, the chairs and the table linen. Wooden furniture brings in warmth and a smooth atmosphere, while the artworks nicely reflect the passion for aesthetics in a very stylish way.
The same aesthetic minimalism is clearly present in the cooking style and plating skills of chef Jannis Brevet. He’s known for his pureness, technique and refinement. More than anything else it’s a style that is about flavour and balance. The power of the gastronomic experience at Inter Scaldes is in the simplicity and authenticity of Jannis’ approach.
Curious as we are to discover the secret of Inter Scaldes, we take the time for a tête-à-tête with chef Jannis Brevet.
(Langoustine ‘Guilvinec’, caviar Anna Dutch Gold, basil, cucumber, yogurt)
The Best Chef: You’ve been at the top of the world of fine dining for such a long time, but how did it all started at Inter Scaldes? What was the concept and the idea?
Jannis Brevet: It’s been already 17 years, since we’ve started working at Inter Scaldes. Before we moved here, we were based in Brabant. When the former chef of Inter Scaldes was looking for someone to take over the restaurant, it was time to go back to my roots in Zealand. The location of the estate is really nice and the restaurant already had an international appeal back then. So we were happy that we got this opportunity, as it made it possible to work at the highest gastronomic level, with beautiful products and at the perfect location. Inter Scaldes already had the type of clients that were looking for this kind of experience.
The Best Chef: How has the concept evolved through the years?
Jannis Brevet: If you’re playing in the Premier League of the gastronomy, you are always aiming to be the best. This means you need to look for the perfect approach and the perfect team. We’ve always been building the future and we’ve been evolving gradually and patiently. Today we have a very strong team that knows how to work together perfectly. We share the same vision and ambition, and that’s what has brought us where we are now.
(Filet of lamb ‘Alexander Calder’, fenugreek, pommes soufflé)
The Best Chef: How would you describe your cooking style?
Jannis Brevet: My style starts from a traditional basis, which is the logical result of my eduction and experience. I like to cook as transparant as possible, with flavours and products that are clearly recognizable. Top quality products are key, and I combine them with three of four elements that amplify the beauty of that product. I always to go for the minimum and I try to work as pure as possible. That can be quite challenging, as minimalism doesn’t permit you to hide or sugarcoat something. All flavours and the balance needs to be in place. It’s all about three things: profound knowledge of the product, cooking technique and dosing. If you don’t master those three key elements, it’s impossible to get great results.
The Best Chef: The cooking style from the Nordics is quite popular now, whereas before molecular cooking seemed to be trending. What do you think of culinary trends?
Jannis Brevet: Fashion and trends are only temporary. I’m not a big fan of creation for the sake of the creation. Of course I consider it important to be on top of evolutions in the field. I want to know and taste the trends, but I would only use them in my own kitchen if I’m convinced it would be a fine addition to my own style.
(Lobster ‘Sequenz’, young vegetables, ginger, garden herbs, truffle)
The Best Chef: Let’s get to the inevitable question. Just recent, you were awareded the third Michelin star, after so many years. How does that feel?
Jannis Brevet: The third Michelin star is a fantastic award and of course we are very happy and proud now. After being named as the favourite for getting that third star for so many years, it’s an amazing feeling when it finally happens after all.
Claudia Brevet: The night of the award show was very special for us. As we never went to the event in the past, our attendance had to stay a secret this time. It was arranged that we could enter the theatre through the back door, so the audience would not know in advance that we had finally won. When we were on that stage, it was very emotional. It was incredibly nice to get so many postive reactions and support of all kinds of partners, clients, media, etc…
Jannis Brevet: However, we received that thrid Michelin star for what we have been doing in the past and not for what we would be doing in the future. So we are definitely planning to stay true to our style and approach.
(Cream of Grand Mariner Centenaire, citrusvruchten, Taggiasca olive, tarragon)
The Best Chef: Claudia and you are always working together. Is this the secret of your success?
Jannis Brevet: Claudia and I are like a unity of two parts. Throughout the years we have divided are roles. We have the same vision and of course it happens we don’t agree at a certain time, but that’s also fine. We both consider it important to be present at the restaurant ourselves as much as possible. It’s like we owe that to our guests. They really want to visit us and therefore we like to welcome them in person, instead of cooking elsewhere.
The Best Chef: Another classic question. Do you have your own favorite dish on the menu? Or are there certain products that you really love to cook with?
Jannis Brevet: No, I don’t have a favorite dish or product. There are so many seasons and products and they all have their own specificity and uniqueness. I really like them all. If I’d prefer a certain dish, it would feel as I’d consider the others to be less valuable, and that’s definitely not the case. However, my own mood can vary and evolve, and as a result it happens that I feel like working with one or another product. But it’s not a matter of preference. The power of a product is in its individuality.
The Best Chef: You seem to have an inexhaustible source of creativity? Where does the inspiration come from?
Jannis Brevet: I just really love wat I do. I’m working in the kitchen for about 43 years now and with that experience you just know what flavours to combine to have a fantastic dish. And that knowledge gives me the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen in a new way. Sometimes you know exactly what you want to create, sometimes the creation comes by chance. That’s how I keep inspired.
(Young carrot, marrow, truffle ‘Tuber Melanosporum’, chervil, apricot)
The Best Chef: You’re also an artist and a painter? Does your art inspire you in the kitchen, or does it work the other way around?
Jannis Brevet: Both activities are a form of expression, it’s my outlet. I just really like it and it boosts my creativity. Some periods are more intense than others, but that’s normal I guess. There’s definitely a connection between my paintings and my cooking. For example the love for monochromism and minimalism. In both disciplines is simplicity hard to achieve, as it needs to be spot on. You can’t hide.
The Best Chef: Let’s imagine you would not be a chef, what would have been your profession?
Jannis Brevet: Then I’d probably been a painter, archeologist or carpenter. I really like the profession of craftsmen.
The Best Chef: The title of this article is “Chef’s secret”… What is the secret to your success?
Jannis Brevet: Our secret is that we stay true to our vision and philosophy. We enhance quality in everything we do. When we cook it’s with the utmost respect for the produce. When it comes to service, we aim to make our guests feel at home. Every part of the puzzle needs to be right. Therefore we need to work with a great team, in which all team members feel comfortable in what they do.
(Tartare Pétoncles, truffle ‘Tuber Melanosporum’, chervil, Saké vinegar, San Mazzo tomato)
The Best Chef: Speaking about people… The team is quite young at Inter Scaldes, but at the same time the service is of the highest standards. How do you manage to achieve this?
Jannis Brevet: We’re very lucky that our team is highly motivated. They make a conscious choice to work at Inter Scaldes, given the fact we are located in a small village. It’s a totally different experience than working in a big city like Amsterdam, where you can go out after the work is done. There’s not so much to do in Kruiningen, so the team hangs out together. No wonder they are very close. Most people of our team already work at Inter Scaldes for a long time, five or ten years in no exception. We all try to make a difference with our hospitable, relaxed approach. We make people feel at home, but we always stay polite and respectful. It’s a matter of feeling what your guests like and then play in to that.
The Best Chef: Are there certain people that inspire you and that you look up to?
Jannis Brevet: Well, in fact you can learn something from all the people you meet in your carreer. They are part of you personal and professional education. The relationship with others makes it possible to discover who you really are and what you represent. It’s about finding your own style. If I would need to name one person, I’d say Robuchon. How he can turn a dish like mashed potatoes, that seems so simple, into a monumental creation is extraordinary.
Thanks for your time Jannis. You’ve made us incredibly curious to taste your philosophy in the dishes. We wish you all the best!
Talking that much can make you very hungry. Luckily we get the chance to take pictures of a selection of plates and
taste them as well.