Cookware for life!

I am one lucky guy! You want to know why?? Not only was I fortunate to be surrounded by a group of lovely ladies like Ruth Sas (Niente di particolare), Kim Recour (Cookanista) and Caroline Dhont (Avocado van de duivel). On top of that I got to visit the Demeyere factory!! This is so special as they don’t have that many visit opportunities so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

DEMEYERE7

For my foreign readers the name Demeyere  might not sound familiar, so let me give you a short (or at least I’ll try to keep it short) introduction. Demeyere  is company making high quality cookware since 1908 and makes 98% of its products in Belgium or better in Antwerp (I bet now all know where I’m from 😉 ). Initially their factory was in the heart of Borgerhout/Deurne (just outside the Antwerp City center) where they until 1967 mostly made tableware as cookware and the kitchen in general didn’t have the central place back then as it has now. In 1980 they moved to their current location Herentals as they needed more space to be able to perfect their production process and expand the production itself (FYI, still in Antwerp Area). Today their Herentals factory is around 30 000m², so I don’t have to explain the progress they made over the years and they keep investing in the future of the company.  Demeyere  was also the second company in the world to start making cookware in stainless steel and a thermal base. (I didn’t know this before my visit). Currently the company is lead by Christophe Demeyere who is the 4th generation and took over the leading position from his father in 2008.

Christophe Demeyere

Demeyere Herentals 4

It is indeed true that buying a Demeyere   pot is quite the investment… In my personal case when I moved out of my parents’ house I “borrowed” a few  Demeyere  pots/pans from my mom (I’m pretty sure she knows by now she won’t see them back any time soon (unless she comes to have dinner at my place)). I know it might sound like a sales talk (and no, I’m not getting a discount from them by saying this)but when you buy  Demeyere  you buy it for life!! Already for the fact that Demeyere  gives a 30 year guaranty on every pot or pan you buy!! Yes 30, one has to be very sure of their product before giving that much guaranty… It still stays a big investment but it will last much longer than when buying ragular cookware. You could just do like me and ask for Demeyere  cookware for Christmas :-). FYI, the Young series by Demeyere is the affordable option in case you are just moving out of your parents’ house.

Young by Demeyere

I was already convinced, but the factory visit opened my eyes even more! Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during my visit (but I did get my hands on a few to get a small view behind the scenes), because it is quite impressive to see how a flat piece of steel gets transformed into a usable pot/pan. I am always so amazed by the machinary used to make something, I think it must be a great feeling inventing/building machines like that.  When wanting to make a good product it all starts with using the good base materials.  Demeyere  uses stainless steel (in addition with cupper in some cases) as a base, which already differentiates them from the “regular” brands you’ll find around as they mostly use aluminum, which is cheaper, but less sustainable.  Before a piece of cookware leaves the Demeyere factory they will ALL be “used “1 time… not really for cooking, but they heat the pot or pan to a temperature of 250°C and cool it down to see if there are irregularities in the cookware base (bottom) to make sure that whoever buys the pot/pan will be able to have the ultimate cooking experience in the best conditions.

Demeyere Herentals 8

Demeyere Herentals10

Demeyere Herentals 7

Demeyere Herentals 6

Demeyere Herentals 5

Demeyere Herentals 2

Demeyere Herentals 3 Maurits Demeyere

One last thing I want to share with you (again something I didn’t know before) is how much thought and craftsmanship is put into the creation and design of every new pot/pan. Also how important the collaboration between the “architect” (like Stefan Schönig or John Pawson) and the engineers is to combine design and easy/good usability.  To give an example a regular cookware maker would just form a pot and leave everything as it is, at Demeyere  they will for example cut the edge of the pot in a particular way that if you are pouring a liquid fluid from your pot into something else the pot won’t be leaking afterwards (so no drops on the side of the pot)… just to give one example. or that there are no skrews from the handle visible in the pot itself as this could be unhygienic as “bacteria” could go under the skrews. My personal favorite set of pots and pans is the Apollo serie

Apollo serie

I’m always so proud when a small Belgian (Antwerp) company grows out to a company exporting its “Made In Belgium” products all over the world!! (Also great to know Christophe Demeyere  lives right around the corner of my street :-))

part of the Demeyere showroom

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying normal cookware doesn’t do the job, as at the end it is the cook that will make the difference.  But when you use the better tools for some reason it always feels better … just like with a car a VW lupo drives fine, but a Audi A8 just drives better 🙂

Just try one and hope you’ll be as convinced as me….

Anyhow, good thing they had Roger Van Damme (Het Gebaar) there to sweeten our factory visit with some heavenly desserts!

Roger Van Damme

Summer dessert

Chocolat dessert

One step closer to feel like a top chef

Louis XV, Bras, Hof van Cleve, Chez bru, Oud Sluis ,… some of the best restaurants in the world and they have one thing in common, they all use plates from a Belgian (Antwerp) company called Serax maison d’être. I have to be honest, that had already heard talking about Serax, but I didn’t know they were this big. Even lots of airlines use these plates to serve their food in first class… who knew?

Eventhough they are world renowned for their plates, the initially made flower pots :-). What actually made them famous. Around the 1980’s the owners from Serax (Serge and Axel) took over their mother’s pottery business and decided to take the pottery one step further…  (they of course also still design pottery)

What Serax tries to do is bring and create affordable design created by artist who respect the rules of the art like Pieter Stockmans (he’s the one who designed the plates used for the wedding of Prince Albert of Monaco), Ann Van Hoey (for Belgians, she is Mrs Mark Uytterhoeven), Antonio Sciortino, ….

What I noticed in all the elements that get designed for the tableware, pottery or even the glassware, is that all designers get their inspiration out of nature or just objects that nobody ever thought of giving a different function. So basically they have the same motto as me, Keep it simple! I couldn’t agree more, as the simplest things are usually the most beautiful.

Sometimes designers work together with chefs to make an own plate line. Like Michel Bras and Roos van de Velde for example. Take a look at the picture below and tell me what it reminds you of?

Yes, it reminds you of cabbage

I know it might frighten you, the fact that they design tableware with famous chefs (especially for the price),don’t be! As I already mentioned Serax makes and wants to make affordable design in which they succeed

Yet again a products that makes you proud to be Belgian and will help you to get one step closer of being a Masterchef with Masterchef material 🙂

To freeze or not to freeze, that is the question!

Let’s be honest, our world really changed thanks to the freezer. I might even say we should be thankful that it has actually been invented. Freezing vegetables, meat, etc… actually means saving money! But even after all the years the freezer exists, lots of people have so many questions on how they can freeze, what they can freeze…. And there also so many untrue statements about freezing…

Let me just help a few of these fairy tales out of the world

  • Don’t keep products that have passed their expiration date too long before processing. 6 to 12 months is the average freezing time, so don’t keep products in your freezer for years.
  • You can’t freeze fresh herbs? Me personally I keep all my fresh herbs in the freezer all in little freezing bags or just the original plastic package. This way I can just take the quantity I need and put it back in the freezer (FYI, don’t keep the package to long out of the freezer, just take what you need and put it back )
  • Before putting this in your freezer, they have to be cold.  Otherwise they will not keep long.
  • How about fresh vegetables? The best is before putting fresh vegetables in the freezer, is to Blanche them for 4-6 minutes (FYI, this also the reason why frozen vegetables are cooked quicker than fresh ones).  After the blanching, you put them under ice-cold to cool
  •   The above process also goes for Ravioli for example. If you want to freeze Ravioli, you first cook them  for a few minutes, put them in ice cold water, and dry them with towel and put them in bags for freezing.
  • Frozen vegetables contain fewer vitamins than fresh ones? This statement is SOOOO wrong!! The vegetables mend for freezing, immediately get heated in a record tempo in the factories after they have been harvested and therefor hardly loose vitamins. Fresh vegetables take a few days before you’ll be preparing them and lose lots of essential nutrients.
  • If you freeze something, best is to put it in a package that can be closed. Also don’t use and elastic to close the bags or boxes, as they lose their strength due to the low temperature
  • Something Very important, Once you have defrosted you cannot put it back in freezers, unless you have cooked it again… otherwise, many bacteria J
  •  To defreeze, best is to cover it on a plate or bowl in the fridge. This will take about 8 hours before it is ready to use. If you would need it quicker you can also defreeze by putting it in your sink filled with cold water or use the microwave. NEVER  defreeze on room temperature, as this will make the bacteria will multiply in a huge tempo.

 

If you might have doubts or questions, let me know and I’ll try to help you!

How to measure in the kitchen?

Last night I saw lots of very handy charts from ‘Chasing Delicious’.  These charts show how to convert volume, mass, etc…

I’m sure you’ve also experienced this  that you’ve bought a foreign cookbook or found a recipe on a website, and they are talking about “Ounces, pinches, cups, etc…” and you’re not sure what they mean by it.

Well ‘Chasing Delicious bundled almost all measures used in the western world and put them in easy to use charts. The picture below is just one of the many examples you can find on their website

Now you have no more excuses not to try those foreign recipes J (and I have to admit that on Chasing delicious website has a few good ones)

When cooking meets technology

You guys know that I usually go to the open air market on Saturday morning to buy my food for the week. It already happened that I bought a package of season vegetables  and I did not know what to do with some of the vegetables in the package … and as I’m at the market I want to buy everything at the market …

At that moment I’m really glad the Smartphone was invented or better the applications you can run on it. As you know, there are apps for everything at the moment. So in this case I like to use the recipe apps :-). You just fill in a vegetable and will immediately find a wide variety of dishes you can make … and this way can continue your market shopping

Me as an Android user, I frequently use the zesta app.

For the Iphone/Ipad user you could use the Njam app and/or zesta, because they both work really good. But if you are or will become a KitchenAid owner (like me), it will get even better! KitchenAid has created an app based on the kitchenaid cook book  with recipes from  Veerle De Pooter  and photographer Tony Le Duc. All Recipes that can be made with your KitchenAid machine… This  way you can even have a more refined way to look for recipes and make a more frequent use of your KitchenAid.  (and not only for Desserts!). What is nice about this app, is that you can even unmark the ingredients you already have at home, in this way you get a better shopping list…

The advantages of Modern technology are just great!! For non-smartphone users, you can still buy the cookbook or a smartphone 🙂

My Christmas present list

We all know what Christmas means (beside the religious part), presents, presents and more presents . I was thinking of giving y ou guys some ideas what you could buy for the foodies in your family, that would for suuuuuure make them happy. Mmm, or  maybe this is just MY present list 🙂 🙂 (I’m one sneaaaaaaky person) and a hidden message to my present buyers? Ok, let’s go, I’ll start with cookware

I really love pots and pans!! Don’t you? Even if you already have a closet that is way too full with them…

Ofcourse not all pots and pans are alike. My favorites are without any doubt the ones from Demeyere and the ones from Le Creuset or Staub. These ones are in every foodie’s fantasy  and ‘wanna have’ thing.

These are not the cheapest presents, ALTHOUGH… Specially for you people and for more modest budgets Demeyere for example,  launched the Young series (I’m sure you read about it in my previous post).

But they were not the only ones  Staub also has done something special. For the moment they have a promotionset, this set consist  1 big  cast iron pot of 24cm (3,8l)  and 4 little ceramic  cocottes  of 10cm (0,2l)…  they come in Black, Cherry, Griffith grey and blue. They usually are priced 219EUR,  but NOW they are only 159EUR!!!! AND  the best of it all is that if you receive this for Christmas, you can immediately use it for New Year’s eve.

MY personal favorite (of the cookware that is) for this Christmas would be the GreenPan. You might ask, what is so special about this pan? Well pan has an ecological anti-stick layer  at the inside AND she just looks nice J. Just some ‘FYI’ the consumer organization tried 14 pans and GreenPan got a score of 77/100 and gets sold in more than 80 countries.. so it has to be good… But the best is the price, only 34,99EUR… (so more budget friendly) if I would receive this, I  would be as happy as the day I ask my girlfriend to marry me 🙂

Or maybe you prefer giving a very good cooking knife?  Ok, in this case I might admit that they are rather expensive, but I’m of the opinion  that this is something you’ll only buy ones (I’m still using the ones I bought in Chefschool). The knives that are considered as one of the best knives available or seen as the ‘it’ knifes are the ones from  Miyabi. They now just released they’re new 600D series (what’s in a name 🙂 ) . What I find important, is that a knife is in 1 piece and the handle cannot get loose from the cutting part!  My personal favorite would be the Santoku (I have expensive taste). For these knives you must count between 100 and 200 EUR.

NO? Cookware not your thing to give as a present?? Too expensive?

Ok, tomorrow I’ll try to convince you with something else… stay tuned!

The best way to build and form your kitchen.

I think everybody agrees when I say that buying a new kitchen is a big investment. So it is very normal that you want that your kitchen is (besides very beautiful) very functional and user friendly.  Easier said than done you might say… Which is indeed true. Because where do I put the sink in function of the stove, etc..  Recently I discovered a Company called Blum (thanks to a friend of mine), they are specialized in hinges (scharnieren). So what does this have to do with kitchen you might say, well they have actually done studies to make your kitchen a Dynamic, ergonomic and functional space with 5 kitchen zones: For Consumables, non-consumables, cleaning, preparation and cooking. I really have to say that I found it a really interesting study they did and no they didn’t ask me to write this 🙂 . I just found this interesting and important information that I had to share with the world.  I would really advice everybody who is planning to change their kitchen or buy a new kitchen to check the Dynamic space website (which comes in looooooots of languages) or contact Blum…

Good, design and normal priced cookware for young people not possible?

I know the combination of the words design, good and normal price seems like something that is non-existing. Well, Demeyere made this combination a true fact! I’m sure everybody has already heard the name Demeyere? Or not?  I know I have always known it :-). Demeyere is a family business already making cookware since 1908 and what makes this, so if they don’t know what they are doing, who does? Already since I started cooking I always wanted pots and pans from Demeyere, first of all because they are known as the Rolls Royce of cookware and secondly because all my cooking heroes on TV were also using it… Those pots and pans always looked so great and the result of their cooking was always perfect (yes always blame the material, not myself 😉 …  When  moving out of my parents’ house buying a set of Demeyere cookware was not my main priority as it was quit the investment (lucky for me I could confiscate some of my moms’ 🙂 ). This was probably also a reflection Demeyere had made that young people don’t always have the resources to buy  a set of their pots and pans, even if their quality and design is wonderful. For this reason,  Demeyere will launch a new set of cookware called “Young by Demeyere” in December!  A contemporary design for a budget friendly price and on top of that of a remarkable quality. These pots and pans have been designed by the 2008 Designer of the year Stefan Schöning. Just look at the picture below, I’m sure you’ll agree that they are really beautiful.

The whole Young assortment has been made from stainless steel which will keep your pots cooler (when on electric stoves).  They also thought about the hygiene, as they have melded handles so no dirt, fat or bacteria’s could go in-between the screws.

But ofcourse you guys are waiting for what you’ll be paying all of this, as that’s basically what we want to know 🙂

So behold and feast your eyes:

  • For a 3-piece set (like on the first picture) you’ll pay 199 EUR

(Cooking pots with lid 1,8 liter; 2,5 liters  and one from 3,5liters)

  • Soup pot with lid 7,2liters at 99 EUR
  • Saucepan 2,5liters at 55 EUR
  • Frying pan  Thermolon™ Granite anti-adhesive 20cm at 89EUR
  • Frying pan  Thermolon™ Granite anti-adhesive 24cm at 109EUR
  • Frying pan  Thermolon ™Granite anti-adhesive 28cm at 129EUR

I know it might sound cliché, but buying Demeyere cookware is a live long investment as everything you’ll buy will really last your whole life! You’ll be feeling at least like a 1 Michelin star chef in no time 🙂

If you want more detailed information about these pots and pans, please check the Demeyere website or go to your local cookware shop as of December 1st. I can’t wait to try them!