If you’re standing in your kitchen and again you don’t know what to cook, you probably haven’t met Yuri Verbeek yet. Yuri Verbeek is not just a top chef, but a man who creates and uses edible materials to create. He doesn’t want to call himself an artist, but clearly he is one. A dreamer, a conceptual thinker who can get inspired by anything that tickles him.
When I enter one of his locations in Delft, where he cooks and gives workshops, a man is standing outside and he beckons me inside when he notices me. It’s Yuri. Five minutes later he starts talking and he absolutely doesn’t lack of inspiration. When you want some ideas for tonight’s dinner, ask Yuri.
When we start the interview he immediately wants to share examples of what he cooks. A mojito cocktail in a tooth paste tube. Kohlrabi cooked in saffron with little Dutch flags, like it’s a block of cheese that could just be served on someone’s birthday. Soups are served with watering cans, no matter for whom its destined. A little campfire made of truffle butter and biological ryebread sticks and an almond pit that burns for 20 seconds because of its etheric oils. As you see, fantasy, knowledge of ingredients, and some humor, are the ingredients of Yuri’s meals.
Yuri has cooked for many important people, like ministers and all, but, he says, he wants to cook for anyone who would ask him. When he sees someone, he automatically imagines what that particular person would like to eat. He rather reads the person, than letting them choose from a menu. He gets not only inspiration from people, but also just from walking through life. Seeing people eat, can transform that dish into something completely else in his mind. Like he did once by making the fancy version of a doner sandwich.
Cooking and eating a meal is closely related to a person’s emotions in his opinion. Yuri says that he wants people to be touched by his food, wants to give them a feeling while eating, sometimes joy, but also sadness, something they won’t easily forget. It is not only the meal, but the whole experience.
At the end Yuri keeps asking me if I find him weird. I would be lying if I wouldn’t say it’s true. Because it’s true, this man is a little crazy, but more in the line of genius crazy. According to Yuri himself his wife is already used to it. According to me, he is a man who constantly gets inspired by the world surrounding him and having thoughts never stop popping ideas. Nevertheless, when I ask him what he’s cooking tonight, Yuri answers: ‘tonight, it’s just normal spaghetti for dinner’.
Have you become curious to taste Yuri’s dishes? Come to the International Festival of Technology! Catering firms De Kokkerie, owned by Yuri, and Rode Rozen & Tortillia’s, owned by Ebe van der Lecq, have joined together and will cook finger licking meals against fair prices and with the most interesting use of technology and nature: heating meatballs in wasmachines and using room plants in noodle soup. Thus, not only delicious, but also very interesting. This is your chance to taste food cooked by a top chef!
Check the event De Kokkerie and Rode Rozen & Tortillia's for information where and when to find this haute cuisine hotspot at the festival and grab a bite!
More about Yuri Verbeek: Yuri used to work in the kitchen, but since a year of ten he has his own business in catering and cooking workshops. Also, he is guest teacher at the CAS Spijkers Acedemy. He writes columns for magazines and has written his own cookbooks. And he also cooks at theaters. His passion is to create. And of course he is a top chef.