Jasper Udink ten Cate – Food Artist. Read here.

 

Today you are Food Artist, Designer, Chef, Consultant & Book Author at Creative Chef. Where does your passion for food and cooking come from?

I grew up with food and fine dining. Everything i had as a kid during restaurant visits during holidays i can remember. When i was 6 i remember eating a trout in a restaurant in France. My parents were also very occupied with good food and i always helped my mother in the kitchen. I also remember having posters on my room with food on it, and my favorite comic books were the ones of Asterix and Obelix, the scene where they would eat in the end was always my favorite picture. I think i was born with a passion and interest for food.

 

 

You are the author of the cookbook Creative Chef. What is it about? What makes it so special?

Its a cookbook thats different tfrom other cookbooks with recipes. This one is about the psycholgy of taste. What can you do, say or create to enhance the experience of your guest. So it is not about how to cook the perfect steak, but how to serve it with the right sound, story and surroundings to make it the best eating experience for your guests.

 

With Creative Chef you are doing a lots of famous and crazy food art performances. How did you come up with this idea?

 

I studied art history and i always painted on canvas from when i was 14 years old. I love art. After being a chef and making lots of dishes on plates i realised it was the same as painting, it is painting with food on a plate. So i started out working with other ways to express my art with food. I started serving the food on little canvasses an serve them my guests. Then it struck to me, i can let my guests eat and use them as the painters/brush of my art pieces. So now i collect the canvasses in the end and photograph the results. They will end up as an art-piece in a museum.

 

Where do you get your inspirations from?

From everything but when i walk through a museum my creative mind is really working. Also a walk through a shop with strange objects or a visit to a beautiful garden works for me.

 

You are also offering a catering service. What is your speciality? Do you combine within the catering as well food art?

I only do high end catering that can be considered as a performance. So i use everything to make it great. I use my own designed ceramics, tables, music, artworks, scents and tell my guests stories so the catering becomes an artpiece itself. I stopped doing simple catering as a service. My catering is an Art experience.

 

One of your service you offer is Food Design. To whom you offer this service? What do you offer in this segment?

With food Design i help companies create special products or menu’s. I did jobs for big cater companies, created new products, made marketing strategies around food, created food and restaurant concepts for several clients and have a high interest for product development. My specialty in this is that i am very trained in the psychologie of taste and i am able to put in use when i create products.

 

You worked as well as Museum Director of „The Museum of Taste”. What is the museum about?

It is actually my museum. It is a garden where we grow old crops and heirloom vegetables that date back to 1900. People visit the collection in that garden and i will tell them about the taste and history of the plants. Then in the end they eat the harvest of that day prepared by me. It actually is my summer restaurant that is open between july and oktober.

 

It was your dream to make your own chocolate in your own factory. What do you make different from the other producers?

We are in full control of the supply chain and we do everything ourselves. Direct trading and we make bean to bar high end chocolate. My friend Luc and Per are running the factory now and have created also some other crazy products like chocolate sausages, cocoa cheese, and chocolate beer. We recently where awarded by the Great taste Award with two out of three stars. So that is very good!

 

As Co Founder of “The Chocolate” you are distributing excellent Bean to Bar and Direct Trade chocolate for the Dutch high end Chocolate market. Do you think this direct trade model can be successful in other food segments for restaurants as well?

I think there is a big potential for restaurants using this model to create their own flavours and special stories. And i don’t mean it only for the chocolate market. When you work this way you are able to get more guests to you restaurant because what you offer them is unique. If you are interested in working like this as a restaurant, please contact me for information and tips.

 

At the World Expo in Milan in 2015 you worked as Creative Chef at the Dutch pavilion where you educated the visitors about future food. What is your understanding about future food?

There are a lot of ideas about the future of our food but the one that i hope will happen is that we as a humankind wil start growing our own food again so we stop trading worldwide. Oe day we will be able to get averything we need from the spot we live. Hyper-localy grown food. Urban farms and a bigger use of seaweeds. I actually made a Future Food Dining table which i showed at the Milano Design week this year where i built a future city in a miniature scale. People where actually dining in a future city and were served future food salads from the roofs of the buildings. Alonside i told them a storie about this utopian city where we would eat insects, seaweeds and lots of vegetables.

 

Urban farming is discussed widely. Do you thing it will settle in a wide range?

I think it will settle very slowly. What we see now are the pioneers. I think it wil take a lot of years to get us to the point that there are more urban farms. The economics around the urban farm need to become more interesting. If it becomes cheaper to grow your own food localy in an urban farm, then we will begin to see a lot of these systems. But before we come to that point……

 

Lots of chefs and restaurants looking for new ways/closer relation with local suppliers. Which possibilities do you see in this producer cooperation’s?

Train chef’s at school with knowledge about special products, local foods and special suppliers. Give them time to source them and use the stories of these suppliers. These stories define who the chef is as an artist. The chef has to be willing to make his own paint for his own paintings. If you teach chefs that kind of thinking and working you will get more local suppliers and in the end more local food.

 

With your work/goal to get food into museums and inspire people – could you offer this services as well outside of Europe?

Of course, i already did projects in Oman and USA and i am always open for special projects!

 

Thank you very much, Jasper!