Summer refreshment

I’m sure the name Syrco Bakker sounds familiar? If not, Syrco Bakker is the executive chef of the Michelin starred restaurant Pure C (owned by former 3 Michelin star chef Sergio Herman) at the Dutch coast right across the Belgian border. Something that can be said about chefs like Syrco is that they are very creative people who don’t mind thinking out of the box and always like trying out new things.  Most of their ideas come during travels.

Hierbas de las dunas 3

One of the newest creations of Syrco was influenced by something on one of his holidays on the Island Ibiza together with family and friends:-). The story goes as follows: after every meal in Ibiza (or in southern countries in general) you get offered an alcoholic drink to finish you meal… you drinks like limoncello (in South Italy) or in this case of Syrco in Ibiza is was a drink called Hierbas (drinks that go down smoothly in the summer and you barely notice the alcohol). As Syrco liked the drink he started thinking if he maybe couldn’t make something like this himself? And so he did together with a friend they started brewing their own “hierbas” in a large cooking pan:-) using local wild herbs (hierbas 😉 ) growing at/around the coast where Syrco lives and works. After lots of tasting and trying to fine tune the drink they did decide that maybe they needed some help to get more flavors out of the herbs. Just like lots of things it might seem easy to get juice out of some leafs, but trust me it isn’t (or maybe you get the juice out, but not the taste). Guys like Syrco want perfection and they will not sleep until they get that 🙂 The person to help they was Pure C’s Bio vegetable grower and if I remember it correct a local distillery… This help led to (now professionally made) “hierbas de las dunas” which basically means herbs from the dunes (dunes as the herbs came from in/around the dunes).

Hierbas de las dunas

I have tried ‘Hierbas de las dunas’ pure, with some soda water and used in a cocktail. I have to admit that I find a bit heavy to drink it pure (but that’s my opinion) or maybe I did at that time as I had it on a nearly empty stomach 🙂 .

Hierbas de las dunas 2

One thing is sure, it’s a drink that goes down smoothly  no matter how you drink it. A bit sweet taste that gets refreshed/ de-sweetened by the herbs in it. The perfect drink for on a warm summers evening with some friends overlooking the sea. On the Hierbas de las duna website you can find lots of creative ways to use the drink (in cocktails, food, etc…)

perfect summer drink

Hierbas de las dunas 5 Hierbas de las dunas 4

If you want your summer to start already you know what to do 🙂 In case you are in a country where summery weather is already there you can make it even more summery

Cheers

The way the cookie crumbles: Syrco Bakker

I’m starting a new recurring feature on my blog where I ask 10 questions to chefs. This will give us a closer look at their passion for food and how/when they got this passion. The question I like the most is actually the question about their best memory/anecdote of chef school. One of my best memories would be when a fellow student dropped a bowl of soup on a customer (you should have been there). Anyway I’ll be starting my new section with a Michelin awarded chef aka Syrco Bakker from restaurant Pure C. There are two reasons I like to go to Pure C. Firstly because of the beautiful and relaxing setting of the restaurant. Secondly because of the beautiful and very tasty paintings Syrco serves. Read my blogpost of one of my visits to Pure C.

Syrco Bakker

1. What is your favorite local product(s) to work with? And in which way should it be prepared?

All types of Crustacean and shellfish from the North sea. First of all because the North sea is right outside our door and secondly because of the great flavor these have. I do prefer eating and preparing them in the most natural way possible that you get the real taste of the shellfish.

2. Is it important for you to use local products?

Yes, as around our restaurant we have some wonderful and gorgeous products.

3. An ingredient you couldn’t miss in your kitchen?

Asian Aromatic flavorings.

4. When did you get the passion for cooking?

I got it at my student job as dishwasher/ kitchen help at a restaurant in Oisterwijk (Close to Tilburg, NL) when I was 15 years old.

5. Who is your big example in the gastronomical world?

Sergio Herman. I learned so much from him like how to stay focused or the aim for perfection and to get the maximum out of your day.

6. Where do you get your inspiration for making new dishes and combinations?

This can be anywhere, when I’m on holiday, during a walk through the Zwin, a visit to a farm etc…

7. What has been the most culinary experience?

Oud Sluis and Ultra Violet, Shanghai.

8. For which dish would you make a big sacrifice to be able to eat it?

Good oysters, langoustine en foie gras from Oud Sluis.

9. What is your most wonderful memory of chef school?
The internship I had during my last year. With the biggest reason that as off that moment I could finally be in a kitchen a whole day.

10. A culinary experience everybody should have had besides have a meal at your restaurant? (my wish list is getting bigger again)

Ultra Violet in Shanghai. This restaurant is the full experience, they have 360° projections and sounds specially paired for the menu. Truly a wonderful experience, superb dishes and a whole other dimension of eating as it all matches and goes together 100%.

Sergio & Circo