Chef Name: Jurgen Koens
Title: Chef/Owner of Pastryclub 1.0 and 2.0 and Owner of Sweet Consult Jurgenkoens.nl.
Awards: Gold at the 2008 Chef’s Olympics in Erfurt (Germany).
Winner of Culinary Showpiece at TT Assen in both 2009 and 2010.
Overall winner of the Culinary Asia Cup in Bangkok in 2009.
Silver in Luxembourg.
Silver at the 2012 Chef’s Olympics in Erfur.
How old were you when you started cooking professionally?
I was five years old when I started cooking and baking in a hotel as a holiday job. I studied at hotel school, then pastry school and then started working in the kitchen full-time after a few years. I also did a four-month pastry course at Le Notre Paris.
What’s your earliest and fondest first memory of food?
Both my grandparents were farmers, so there were always fresh products to cook with. We also lived close to the sea, so fruits, veggies, meats, fish, poultry, grains – everything was there. My grandmother was always cooking and baking. My earliest memory when I was, I think, three years old, was rhubarb cake (the best) or pheasant with parsnip and mashed potatoes
Which chefs inspire you most and why?
For pastry, it’s Pierre Hermé, because he was one of the first to use restaurant combinations and textures in boutique pastry.
For cooking, it’s Sergio Herman. I like his fresh flavours and combinations of different textures.
What are your two favourite cookbooks and why?
PH10 from Pierre Hermé is the best book for basic and creative pastry recipes. The recipes in this book are very good and it’s up to you to be creative and use the recipes in your own personal way.
For cooking, it needs to be the El Bulli collection. They made the kitchens of today with all their new techniques (used in the right way). I believe this is a must-have for the kitchen in the coming decades.
Which two ingredients could you not live without?
Chocolate and citrus fruits.
What is your favourite comfort food to cook at home?
Langoustines, citrus, basilicum, black fermented garlic crème and espuma.
If you could eat at any Michelin star restaurant in the world today, where would it be and why?
Central in Lima, Peru, because this country has so many unknown ingredients, and they know how to bring them alive.
And who would you take as your guest?
Of course my wife and my kid!!!!!!!!!!
What do you look for in a good chef?
Creativity, technique, being a teacher, a leader and an entrepreneur, having his own style and more ambitions than cooking alone.
What advice would you give to chefs starting their career paths now?
Work in different companies to learn techniques and styles from more people. Do not be afraid to work hard and enjoy every moment you are in this business. There is a lot to see and to learn nationally or internationally. But the most important thing is to work with your heart and follow it.
Chef Jurgen Koens is Pastry Chef and Owner of Pastry Club.
Address: Ketelhuisplein 7-9, 5617 AE Eindhoven, Netherlands
Telephone: +31 6 22672121