Asian Baba Rafi format starts in Alkmaar

18-6-2015

The initial establishment of an innovative European kebab franchise will soon start in Alkmaar.

Baba Rafi adapted to European standards

Entrepreneurs Sinan Gul, Hans Verloop and Baris Kürkcü took the very popular Baba Rafi format from Asia to Europe and adjusted them fully to European standards and trends. With a strong focus on healthy and sustainable dishes, Baba Rafi also wants to reach out to women and children and that distinguishes the formula from all existing kebab, döner or shawarma formats.

Confidence in the format of Baba Rafi

In order to finance the initial establishment of Baba Rafi Europe, the entrepreneurs made a successful appeal to the public: 176 private investors invested € 250.000,= in the company via Collin CrowdFund.

Kebab for today’s conscious consumer

Baba Rafi is the largest franchise chain in the world in the field of kebab products. With more than 1.300 locations in Asia where the concept is immense popular. The Asian concept is fully adapted to the European market where respect for the food, the customers and the environment play an important role. One of the initiators, Baris Kürkcü: “Every niche in the food industry, from fries-, hamburger and chicken formats to sandwiches, has seen a trend towards more sustainable and responsible food, in the recent years. With Baba Rafi we introduce a kebab concept that is tailored entirely to the needs and desires of the modern conscious consumers. The dishes are freshly prepared with a minimum of E-numbers and maximum sustainable and organic ingredients. We have worked closely with a culinary consultant and nutritionist during the development of the dishes. The dishes are suitable to eat for lunch. For everyone, thus emphatically including women and children.”

The future: being the largest kebab chain in Europe

Along with financial expert Hans Verloop and former McDonald’s CEO, Herman de Haas, the team of Baba Rafi wants to realize the largest kebab chain in Europe. There is no comparable franchise concept in Europe but there is a 10 billion euros sales in kebab fastfood restaurants. The facility in Alkmaar will be the flagship store and serves as a model for the next Baba Rafi in comparably sized cities in the Netherlands and Europe.

Fever-Tree tonic

17-6-2015

  • Transporting the lemons from Sicily
  • Ivory Coast - Charles with fresh green ginger
  • Province - Lemon thyme & rosemary
  • Congo - Quinine harvesting
  • Gloucestershire - Transport
  • Gloucestershire - Elderflowers
  • Tim negotiating with Cochin Ginger producers

Recently gin and tonic mixes are extremely popular. There was a Gin & Tonic festival, there are special restaurants and (pop-up) bars, there is a GINformatiecentrum and at every fancy food festivals you can get yourself a gin and tonic mix.

Quality of tonic

Usually the focus at the mix drinks is on the gin and the quality of the tonic if often neglected. This while a mix drink like a gin-tonic consists for ¾ out of a tonic and is thus crucial for the flavour. In recent decades the soft drink market is largely dominated by a few multinational companies that more focus on profit rather than quality. This changes now, more and more producers approach the market differently with more unique and qualitative products. Fever-Tree is one of them and since November 2014 the company is privately held and competing with the big boys at the London AIM stock market.

Quinine in the tonic

In 2004 Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow decided tonic and mixers for cocktails in general could use a quality upgrade. One of the major components of tonic is quinine, that’s where the bitterness comes from. After months of research they discovered that there is a Fever Tree plantation that produces the purest quinine in the world and it’s located in Congo. They travelled to the rough Democratic Republic of Congo and visited this plantation. The ingredients for the rest of the tonic are collected in the same manner. Research, travel and conversations with ‘plant hunters’ a part of the development of new products. Fever-Tree tonic contains high-quality ingredients and natural cane sugar.

Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale

For Fever-Tree’s Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale three kinds of ginger are used, each from a different area. It’s fresh green ginger from Ivory Coast for the freshness, ginger from Nigeria for depth and intensity of the flavor and ginger from Cochin for an earthy, chocolate-like flavor.

Mediterranean tonic

The Mediterranean Tonic is our favorite. It contains citrus oil and herbs from the coastal areas around the Mediterranean. Lemon Thyme and rosemary are two of the ingredients that come from Provence and give the unique flower-like character to the tonic, which makes it an ideal mixer for vodka and lights gins.

Chef Michael Wolf opens Wolf Atelier

17-6-2015

The 31-year-old chef Michael Wolf (Oud Sluis ***, Vila Joya ** and Envy) will officially open Wolf Atelier on 21 June. He does this in 1920 railway bridge transformed into a glass surrounded restaurant next to the Central Station of Amsterdam.

Wolf Atelier

Wolf Atelier is light and spacious, the monumental railway bridge has a characteristic industrial design and is equipped with 80 high glass windows. This workshop offers a 360 degree view of Amsterdam, due to the large amount of plants and earthy tones it looks like an urban garden. The open kitchen and small chef’s table provide constant interaction between Michael Wolf and his guests.

Gallery and Workshop-section at the menu

The menu contains two main sections. The so-called Gallery-section of the menu lists some of Michael Wolf’s current signature dishes such as ‘lacquered pork belly with fried langoustines, carrot cream and a sauce of spices.’ The Workshop-section is to pre-test dishes and consists out of experiments and cool innovations. After feedback from guests, only the best dishes will be continued in the ‘Gallery-section’ of the menu.

Chef Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf: “This workshop space is tough and metropolitan, the ideal setting to strive for perfection. Everything must be right, really. Not only the food and wine but the ambiance, the music, the service and the cocktails as well, each telling its own story. I can’t judge whether I ask too much from myself and my team, the only thing that matters is that I’ve lived up to this moment since I was fifteen and can’t wait to start!”

Van der Valk Tiel glass room design winner

17-6-2015

  • Winnaar: Through the Looking Glass
  • Eervolle vermelding: Arcade

AGC and Van der Valk have announced that architect Jasper Spigt from domainarchitecture has won the glass room design competition. The challenge was to show the versatility of glass as a material. In his design Spigt organizes the different functions of the hotel room with a single, folded glass wall.

Inspiration: co-creation around the glass hotel room

AGC Flat Glass Netherlands has taken the initiative to create an “AGC room” at the new Van der Valk hotel in Tiel. With the intention to be able to show their glass in practice, to interested customers. This idea was developed into a design contest for a glass room. A form of collaboration where everyone benefits: AGC, Van der Valk and the winning architect. They created media value for all parties and a lot of attention on social media. Inspiration for other entrepreneurs who want to put their products in the spotlights.

Van der Valk Tiel

In his design ‘Through the Looking Glass’, architect Jasper Spigt of domainarchitecture designed a glass wall from one piece for the hotel room. This wall has various functions in every section of the room, varying from transparent, matt, energizing, reflected, with lighting or art in it. In one section a wall of matt glass separates the sitting area from the bathroom, a bit further it expands like a ‘sky’ round the bed.

As the winner of the design competition Spigt receives a cash prize of € 2000,-. AGC Glass and Van der Valk hotel room strive to finish the glass room at the end of this year.

Runner-up: Colorize your stay

Runner-up is the design ‘Colorize your stay’ by Kees Marcelis Studio Arnhem (Kees Marcelis, Judith Westgeest and Frank ten Westereind) in collaboration with Alverre Techni Glass. In this design, colored and folded glass walls are placed behind each other to organize the space of the room.

A total of seventy designs were submitted. Next to the winner and the runner up there were also two honorable mentions, Arcade and Cocon.

Jury

The multidisciplinary jury for the competition consisted out of Elfi van der Valk (owner and general manager from Van der Valk Hotel Tiel), Judith Kaart (marketing manager AGC Flat Glass Netherlands), Rob Seuntiëns (interior architect at Dutch Concept) and Michiel van Raay (editor Architectenweb).

Ramadan Special: Halal Fried Chicken

16-6-2015

Halal Fried Chicken in Amsterdam has announced special activities during the Ramadan.

Either this Wednesday or Thursday the Ramadan, the abstinence month for Muslims worldwide, will start. The exact date depends on the position of the moon and is determined on the final moment. In addition to the abstinence during the day is sharing meals between sunset and sunrise a key element of this religious month.

Halal Fried Chicken

One of the catering businesses announcing special activities during the Ramadan is Halal Fried Chicken (HFC). The fast food store opened in December 2014 at the Vlugtlaan in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. Soon a second restaurant will open at the Waterlandplein in the North of Amsterdam. Halal Fried Chicken claims to be the first Halal fast food restaurant in the Netherlands.

Offer

In addition to various halal burgers (chicken burger, beef burger and cheeseburger) HFC sells halal chicken pieces, tender strips, nuggets, hotwings, chicken wraps, fries and Coca-Cola. The restaurant sells combinations in different buckets and menus, as you would expect at a fast food restaurant.

Halal

In the beginning there was criticism to the halal certificates of the products at Halal Fried Chicken. This because of a discussion between various halal certifiers and Halal abattoir about what is and is not ‘halal’. The fast food restaurant preferred not to be the subject of the discussion and stated to act conscientiously, especially because it has the specific notation of ‘halal’ slaughtering method in the name. Nowadays the storm seems to have passed, or at least for HFC as a subject in this discussion.

Community

Halal Fried Chicken has a committed community that makes themselves heard with quite some criticism, especially on Facebook. The fast food restaurant sponsors MaroComedy and Mystiek Productions that do the production of the stand-up comedy show ‘Couscous & Baklava 2.0’ together.

New style shop in the lobby of nhow Rotterdam

15-6-2015

nhow Rotterdam opens a pop-up shop with hip and only local design products.

Pop-up shop in lobby of nhow hotel

The lobby of the nhow hotel regularly changes its looks for example by providing space for exhibitions and experiences. With this pop-up shop, the hotel brings quality local labels to the attention of her guests in a temporary setting (until August 2015).
“We strongly believe in the power of local labels and designers and knew without a doubt that these were the kinds of products that we wanted to show our guests. We’re not so much concerned with the sales, but the story about our city. Rotterdam has much to offer when it comes to design.” says Hermann Spatt, director of nhow Rotterdam.

Original and affordable

For example, the new shopping bags by Susan Bijl, various textual books with quotes from Mwah, designer socks by Alfredo Gonzales, exquisite porcelain cups by Label Aleph and books from photographer Ruud Sies are selected for the first edition of the shop. nhow also sells a number of small personal items including the nhow condoms with naughty lyrics like: ‘Use me now’ and ‘Do it now’. The products are usually affordable and easy to carry in the plane, making them original souvenirs.

To beef or not to beef butcher’s brunch

12-6-2015

Top chef Erik van Loo ** serves a butcher’s brunch with three butchers at Parkheuvel in Rotterdam on 19 July.

Butcher’s Brunch

On Sunday 19 July butcher’s son Erik van Loo hosts a unique brunch with three butchers by the name of ‘To beef or not to beef’ at restaurant Parkheuvel. Herman ter Weele from Butchery ‘Ter Weele’ in Oene (GE), demo butcher Gertjan Kiers and culinary connoisseur Ernest Lebouille will join forces and will bone the meat live at the premises. They will give explanation and tell stories about the meat and boning craftmanship.

Erik van Loo

During the documentary ‘De Smaak van de Ziel (translated as ‘A Taste of the Soul’), it became clear that van Loo had much interest in meat because he is a butcher’s son. The idea for the brunch began when he got reactions about this after the documentary was premiered.

Tickets To beef or not to beef

‘To beef or not to beef’ begins on 19 July at 12:30 and lasts until 17:00. An all-inclusive brunch including drinks costs € 150, -. After the boning from head to tail by the butchers, van Loo will make ten to twelve dishes with the meat. The tickets are sold via the IENS website and there are 120 tickets available.

About IENS CarteBlanche

IENS CarteBlanche is a culinary event where a renowned chef gets the chance to perform a special concept for one day. That may be something with his favourite ingredient, something at a particular location or something completely different from what he normally does in his restaurant. The chef will at get a complete carte blanche. Unique events for food lovers!
Last year there was already a CarteBlanche at Parkheuvel, when the theme was based on the renovation of the restaurant.

Garden of Unusual Delight by Hendrick’s Gin

12-6-2015

Hendrick’s Gin created an ultimate experience at Taste of Amsterdam with the ‘Garden of Unusual Delight’.

Garden of Unusual Delight

A critical visitor Taste of Amsterdam could have spotted the Garden of Unusual Delight on the event map already. Ordering an ‘unusual’ Hendrick’s Gin at the FeverTree bar gave access to a hidden garden behind the booths.

Delightful oasis of peace

Through the secret channels of Hendrick’s Gin, Armand got the tip to order the ‘unusual’ Hendrick’s Gin and tonic at the FeverTree bar. After ordering he was taken to the secret garden where he arrived in an oasis of peace, certainly compared to the rest of the popular festival.

Select crowd

A flamboyant host welcomed all the guests, with only a handful of other curious visitors there was plenty of room to site down on the picturesque bistro sets, bean bags or romantic benches. The bartenders had three standard cocktails on the menu and saw special requests as a challenge to be extra creative in the preparation process.

Experience

The special bar, VIP feeling and contrast of the peaceful garden to the rest of the festival gave an exclusive total experience. The #SocietyOfTheUnusual by Hendrick’s Gin seems a guarantee for more unique experiences around the liquor brand. So keep your ears and eyes open and ‘expect the unexpected’.

Sample platter for Friska’s …

11-6-2015

Recently we spotted the sample platter at Friska. Their healthy, responsible roles with fresh ingredients are served at the Amsterdam Food Halls.

Sample platter created for your product

Often the small details in new concepts catch our eye. At Friska, designed by van Ommeren Architects, we think the wooden trays amplify the concept. These are specially designed platters to serve Friska’s from. You don’t often see architects design such a platter especially for one product.

About the Friska’s

Friska’s in their own words: “Part-time sushi, part-time wrap, fulltime Friska. Healthy, organic and 100% gluten free. Friska’s are healthy rolls with fresh ingredients. Easy, ready to eat and easy to eat with one hand. They have a lot of standard choices in Friska’s but you can also create your own roll. Choose your favorite wrap, create your own stuffing with different grains and fresh vegetables and your Friska is ready.

Fairytale wedding cake with projection mapping

11-6-2015

Disney is taking wedding cakes to a magical new level by creating interactive cakes with classic Disney tales. They created this great fairytale wedding cake with the help of projection mapping.

A fairytale wedding cake and they will live happily ever afer…

It’s just a simple white cake with no frills, that at the moment supreme, will light up with images projected on the cake. As you can see in the video above, the animations seem to be scrolling down the tiers adding a very Disney touch to the celebration. And who wouldn’t be living happily ever after with a wedding cake like this?

Video projections can be used to create an experience

Earlier we wrote about the artistic collective ‘Skull Mapping’ by Antoon Verbeeck and Filip Sterckx, they created a cartoon in and around your plate. By playing with movement within the projections they created optical illusions on the table. Even before that we wrote about restaurant Sublimotion in Ibiza that also uses video projection for a total experience.

Maastricht pampers guests

10-6-2015

  • credits Jean Pierre Geusens
  • credits Jean Pierre Geusens
  • credits Jean Pierre Geusens
  • credits Jean Pierre Geusens
  • credits Jean Pierre Geusens

Several visitors of Maastricht were, totally unexpected, pampered last weekend.

Welcoming Maastricht

Last weekend some lucky visitors of Maastricht were unexpectedly surprised by two waiters. They placed a bistro set on various places in the bustling city and invited some visitors to enjoy a cup of coffee with the famous pie from this region and a musical performance. Watch the video impression here.

What you want?

With the “What you want?” campaign the city demonstrates that a visit or experience of the city doesn’t only depends on the hospitable services in hotels, restaurants and retail. The atmosphere and what you can experience are also very important. From arrival to departure, from cultural visitor to shopping lover, the city has to leave a lasting impression to everyone from young to old.

You don’t visit Maastricht, you experience Maastricht

John Aarts, alderman of economy from the city: “Maastricht has no clichés. Boring is a word that doesn’t exist here. Around every corner awaits a new impression, behind every façade a surprise. Although the city is small, it’s unique character is made by the atmosphere displayed throughout the city. You don’t visit Maastricht, you experience Maastricht.”

Kindle stylish patio heaters

10-6-2015

The Kindle Allison is a stylish patio heater with a dual functionality.

Stylish patio heaters

During ‘Taste of Amsterdam’ the stylish patio heaters at the Visaandeschelde booth were a real eye catcher. Just like the delicious Oosterschelde lobster “en brochette” that was served by this restaurant, but that’s just a mouthwatering side note to this article.

Kindle Living

The patio heaters are from America and were rented at Héman. Kindle Living from Los Angeles is the creator of the patio heater. The company describes the design process simply as “We saw a need and set out to fill it. No more goosebumps”. There are six different models including a limited edition with a production series of only 101 pieces and a useful dolly to move the patio heaters. Moving the heaters is not necessary with the slim model that can be connected to an existing gas line. Earlier this model was awarded two Silver A ‘Design Awards.

Lighting

Ugly and purely functional gas heaters are history and using these heaters adds style to the terrace. The bottom of the heater can be illuminated in eight different colors and can be equipped with a handy shelf for glasses. Although your cocktail will get warm before you know it 😉

Eastwood – assemble your own perfect dinner

9-6-2015

Last Friday Armand had dinner at Eastwood, the new pop-up restaurant from DoubleTree by Hilton which is within walking distance of the Central Station in Amsterdam. The restaurant officially opened on 22 May and the location has two functions. In the morning, it’s the breakfast restaurant of the hotel and every afternoon will be converted into a grill restaurant. The tabletops, chalk boards, paintings and lighting get another look. Even the clothing of the staff changes.

Eastwood

The restaurant is located below the hotel and has a great potential. Especially the terrace outside will attract passers-by, even though it is not on the usual route towards the center. The first announcement of the opening was focused on a ‘beer & grill’ concept, the description ‘assemble your own perfect dinner’ would fit better. It is not a restaurant for people that have difficulties with choices since there are so many personalization options possible to meet your unique taste.

Assembling the dishes

The menu includes various building blocks from which the dishes can be put together. Potatoes are served as mashed potatoes, thin fries or hand cut fries. There are several vegetables and other side dishes to choose from, like risotto. For the main course guests can choose between meat, fish or vega. For meat-lovers a great exclusive offer of proper serving up to 800 grams are available.

Choice palette for personalization

With a choice from five knives that are presented on a magnetic cutting board, even the most cynical knife critic will be pleased. Earlier we wrote about using a herb cart and the ability to cut some fresh herbs at the table yourself. Eastwood extends this service with a range of sauces in glass bottles on the cart as well.

Shared ice cream bucket with toppings

The dessert was served as a single bucket of homemade ice cream on the table accompanied with nine different toppings. It’s a feast to work on the dessert this way and share the bucket. It was difficult to keep the special toppings apart, so a stylish card with the ingredients would complete it.

Small details

At Eastwood every detail mentioned before is well thought of. Many of the trends and examples we’ve spotted and published about on this website are integrated in the restaurant. This in addition to details such as stamped paper bags for the bread, name badges for the staff, Amsterdam’s specialty beers, the convenient use of segments in the restaurant at the beginning of the evening (so it looks busy early on) and the view of the bustling city life through the glass walls. The menu is not yet available online (the website is still under construction) but the price level is very okay and it’s a convenient place if you want to adjust portions and styles easily.

Wild Dining

9-6-2015

  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot
  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot
  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot
  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot
  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot
  • Credits: Adriaan de Groot

Recently, a small collective started organizing luxury dinners at extraordinary locations. By the name of Wilddineren (‘Wild Dining’) a train compartment, the attic of the Beurs van Berlage (Amsterdam) and the red toilets of the Patronaat in Haarlem were used for surprising dinners.

Unique Wild Dining

Each dinner has a unique location, unique chefs and a unique dining concept. At the Beurs van Berlage guests were eating between the old boilers at the attic, but everyday locations like a train and a toilet can be transformed into an unusual dinner location as well. Earlier, the guys from Gastrovan, Masterchef cook Elise Calkoen, Seats2Meet, ‘Catering aan huis’ and Patronaat participated in Wild Dining.

Contrasting experiences

In addition to culinary delights, there are presentations, interesting guests, table roulette and live music during the dinners. The organization finds it addictive to surprise guests and bystanders. They want to amaze people and to confront them with activities outside their own paradigm. The organization indicates that the dinners are a reaction to the current overload of parties in old warehouses, food truck festivals and pop-up initiatives of shops and restaurants. The focus is primarily on creating contrasting experiences. With these dinners they aim to compete with theater, cinema’s and concerts, rather than to compete with regular restaurants.

There are a number of dinners scheduled, but the specific time and place will be revealed on the day itself.

Periscope live video’s by Jonnie Boer

8-6-2015

Recently it was possible to virtually join Jonnie Boer in his daily activities via Periscope.

Periscope

For anyone who wants a peek into the world of a Michelin star chef (and who doesn’t?!) Jonnie Boer provides the possibility to access his mobile camera through the Periscope app. We witnessed him in a broadcast on a boat while collecting different products. The past week a dozen other live broadcasts were shared through his Twitter channel.

Citizen journalism

The Periscope app has been gaining more and more momentum in the recent months. It’s a tool that enables live citizen journalism within a few clicks on your mobile phone. When a recent bomb alert was issued at Jumbo Supermarket in Groningen, ‘ordinary citizen’ Rianne Schuurman instantly became the most important information channel for the Netherlands. One of the major Dutch news outlets (NOS) described the whole happening in retrospect (translated article in Google). It states that local news station RTV Noord saw the value of the broadcast and came to help when the battery of Rianne Schuurman’s phone was running low and made sure that she could remain in the ‘press area’.

For Android devices it’s only possible to connect via Twitter, iPhones can log in with a phone number as well.

Bezoek horecatrends op