What’s cooking? Meet Bart Kalfsterman!

Meet Bart, our talented sous-chef at Restaurant Vinkeles.

Hi Bart! Recently you’ve been promoted to sous-chef, congratulations! Talk us through your journey at The Dylan..

I started working at Restaurant Vinkeles in March 2018 as Chef de Partie on the hot section, which means that I was in charge of the fish, meat and sauce preparations. From the start, it was my intention to grow from the position of Chef de Partie to the position of Sous-chef. This means that your responsibility is no longer a single section but rather overlooking all sections of the kitchen, standing in between Executive Chef Dennis Kuipers and Chef de Cuisine Jurgen van der Zalm, and the Chefs de Partie. To become that go-between, I had to get to know the Chefs, the ins and outs of the kitchen, the cooking style and the team. With the guidance of the Chefs and the support of the team, I feel very fortunate to have grown into this position.

That sounds great! So what gives you the most satisfaction in your job?

I love being in the middle of things. Part of my job is to be in charge of all sections, so I oversee the Chefs de Partie in their duties. Helping, teaching, checking and correcting as needed in all aspects of their work. From making their mise en place and helping throughout the service until the very last friandises leave the kitchen. The other part is to support Chef Jurgen with all things related to the kitchen. I really like the sparring aspect, which can be about the menu, the team but most of all about making a dish. I do have the freedom to try out and create dishes. For me, it works best when we taste a dish together and we discuss how I can improve it. But I also learn a lot from him when he works on a dish, how his process works, and in some cases I can even help him gaining new insights.

How would you describe the teamwork in the kitchen?

At the moment, post COVID, we are building a new team which is quite a lengthy process. The team has to feel comfortable in their sections, with each other and ideally we are still in need of a few chefs. It’s nice to see that there is an overlap of tasks during service. For instance, that the garde-manger (Chef in charge of the cold-section) comes to help on the pass with plating the mid and main courses, and vice versa.

Tell us your secret to staying inspired and continuing to grow as a chef in Amsterdam. Where do you get your inspiration?

What works for me in particular is going out to dinner and experiencing what other chefs are doing. This goes for individual dishes, but also for the dining experience as a whole. Instagram is also a great tool. It allows you to see what’s happening on a global scale. I do love the classic dishes, so for me those two are great starting points.

To start your working day off right, you obviously need to have a good breakfast. What is your go-to breakfast that gives you the energy for a great working day?

I’m not really a breakfast person, so there is not really a clear answer to that question. As a matter of fact, during my days off I often skip breakfast and wait until a late lunch. I do acknowledge the fact that for the working hours we put in we require a good breakfast and I’m therefore grateful for the way that our working day is structured. Every morning at 11 am we have a communal breakfast with the kitchen team. Our breakfast chef prepares this for us each day with love and care, serving us something different every day. This time also gives us the chance to talk to each other socially but also professionally.

If you had to choose one thing, what would be your favourite pick #insideTheDylan?

I am a big fan of cocktails, either pre- or post-dinner.. Thus, my favourite spot #insideTheDylan would be the lounge, a cosy seat at the fireplace, during cocktail hour! I tend to go for the classics; Negroni, Whiskey Sour or French 75, not too sweet or fruity. Luckily we have a matured Negroni on the menu, which I can highly recommend. If I’m not in the mood for something strong, I am always in the mood for a glass of Champagne!

As for the food, I can also only give multiple answers because we have Bar Brasserie OCCO and Restaurant Vinkeles. At Bar Brasserie OCCO, you can’t go wrong with our steak tartare and when we have dover sole on the menu which we serve ‘à la meunière’ it is a must. At Restaurant Vinkeles, I would choose the cèpes dish or the turbot from our current menu. The turbot has evolved in many versions, but the 2 best ones are one from the current menu with a Spanish-inspired suquet sauce and an earlier version with Dutch ‘opperdoezer’ potato, ramsons, buttermilk and cockles. The first one is deep in flavour and intense, the later version is a bit fresher, lighter and yet salty because of the cockles.

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