5 (culinary) questions to Yvette van Boven

In Culy’s new column, we ask five culinary questions to a well-known foodie about his or her eating habits. This time we submitted our fire of questions to… Yvette van Boven. She can be seen again from Tuesday with a new series of her TV program The Regions of Van Boven on NPO2.

5 (culinary) questions to Yvette van Boven

Who doesn’t love Yvette van Boven? From her books and her columns to her podcast and her TV shows; Yvette always makes us happy (and hungry). A new season will start on Tuesday 23 May The Regions of Van Boven. In that NPO2 program Yvette goes in search of the origins of Dutch dishes and eating habits; from Limburg sour meat to our snack culture and Chinese-Indonesian restaurants.

Culy asked Yvette five questions about her culinary preferences – and discovered that she hates truffle mayonnaise.

1. Yvette, what’s the best thing you ate this week?

Yvette: “A beautiful sign smoked salmon and hake van Oof (Yvette’s husband, Oof Verschuren, ed.). We were in Ireland, Oof has completely mastered the art of cold smoking, it’s a long process, cleaning the whole sides of the fish nicely, salting and seasoning, marinating for a long time, then drying for a long time and then smoking for a long time on low temperature. He does that outside in the garden in the barbecue.

The next day he takes them out and packs them well. Completely wrapped, he lets them rest for another 24 hours so that the smoky flavor can fully penetrate the fish. He then fillets them wafer-thin and serves them beautifully fanned out on a plate. A little lemon zest, juice and crumbled pink pepper berries on top and you have the most delicious plate of fish of your life. I think it’s great that he has appropriated this hobby. We now often have insanely delicious fish in the fridge. Wait, I’ll grab a picture.”

Plate of smoked salmon and hake from Oof Verschuren
Plate of smoked fish from Oof / Source: Yvette van Boven and Oof Verschuren

2. What’s your craziest eating habit?

I can eat anything, mixed up and at any time of the day. Maybe that’s because of working in the hospitality industry in the past. That you put on large pans full of stew meat early in the morning, chop garlic and then have to taste the ice cream dessert; but I can literally eat a bag of licorice and a herring together and not get sick of it. I just really love food.”

3. What’s the best cooking tip you’ve ever received, and who did you get it from?

“You can only cook well by much to practice. Preparing a dish very often teaches you so much. Not only do you learn to make the dish really well yourself, you also learn how the pan reacts, how the heat works, what it does: too high or too low a fire, all differences will give your final dish a different outcome. Just make mistakes (did you really think I could do everything at once?), throw it away if it really failed and start again. Never lose heart.

Everyone can cook, but not from one day to the next. By doing it a lot you learn how flavors, textures and ingredients work. My best learning experience was in the kitchen of breakfast, lunch and catering company Peppermint in The Hague. I was allowed to learn and practice there for days and nights, constantly repeating the same action – especially for large catering companies. That routine and dexterity: I learned that there, I was in my early 20s.”

4. Which ingredient or dish do you think is overvalued?

“Everything with truffle, except for a real quality truffle itself. I find products such as truffle oil and truffle mayo really very dirty. They taste shabby and like cheap perfume: way too full and overwhelming and that doesn’t do the real truffle justice at all. The fine, priceless, chic taste of a real truffle, shaved so abundantly and wafer-thin over a plate of pasta in a restaurant in Italy: that’s truffle! I find all those products with fake truffle flavor a downright insult, you teach people the wrong taste. It should be forbidden.”

5. What’s your favorite snack when you’re hungry?

“At the end of the day I can really graze in the kitchen, right before dinner. I love small snacks such as dolmas, just from a can, a can of haddock liver or canned sardines on melba toasts with lots of freshly ground pepper, I like a handful of salty peanuts or cashews, Kalamata olives, a few cut slices of Parmesan cheese from the fridge. Nothing special, all things that I – for this purpose – always have at home. When I am alone at home, I can graze so much that I am no longer hungry and have eaten enough.”

6. Bonus Question: Who should answer this section next?

Emma DeThouars! Emma just finished a noodle book and I got to taste a lot. She came to stay with me in Ireland for a long time when she was in the middle of the making process. Wow, what a lot of delicious things we ate. It was a big party. I have cooked a lot from all her other books, she does things slightly differently from me and that is why it is so great to learn from each other. She is also very nice and funny.”

> A new series of the Streken van Boven can be seen on NPO2 from Tuesday 23 May at 8.25 pm.

Read more? We also recently asked Alison Roman five culinary questions. And of course you will also find many recipes from Yvette van Boven on Culy.

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5 questions to Yvette van Boven: ‘I can eat anything, mixed up and at any time of the day’

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