You’re nowhere without a good foundation

When I think of Zeeland, I imagine the sea before me. And the dunes, where I come and go every day. Zeeland has an extremely rich environment and is a quiet place to be.

Think of ‘t Zwin in West Zeeland-Flanders, for instance: that is a beautiful area where you can retreat, so to speak. You can take a nice run or a short stroll there. I must be there every week, and yet every time I rediscover how truly beautiful it is.

When I landed in Zeeland ten years ago, I felt immediately at ease. The mentality here – just do your work – energised me. I liked that very much. And the best part is that when I started working with Sergio Hermans at Pure C, Cadzand really had very little to offer in a culinary sense. I didn’t understand why he had chosen Cadzand. But in the years since, I’ve truly seen Cadzand blossom; with a fantastic harbour and beautiful dunes, it has become a vibrant place!

I also believe that people who visit here need to know that Zeeland has an enormously rich environment. We have a wide range of top products. For instance, in my view, a trip to Zeeland should include a visit to the oyster pits in Yerseke. Or to a mussel company. That way, you can see where the products come from. And you really shouldn’t leave Zeeland without having eaten our oysters.

This also helps people become more aware. You cannot just pull a packet of mussels from the cooler in the supermarket; you should know that it took a long process for them to get there. A lot of time, energy and love went into those mussels. I think this also gives people more respect for the product and the traditions.

I myself also prefer to work with everything that comes from the sea: sea creatures, shellfish and herbs from the dunes. The seaberry (sea-buckthorn) is a favourite of mine, and we are increasingly working with seaweed and algae. You can prepare and use them in so many ways. A classic that has been on the menu at Pure C since the beginning is the sea bass in a salted crust: a very pure dish that sets the product on centre stage.

We also excel in that in Zeeland, using all our products from land and sea. That gives us a good foundation, a place to start. And you are nowhere without a good foundation.