Icecold inspiration, With Hidde de Brabander
At IJsscentrum Vlaardingen we meet Hidde de Brabander between the Kälterudi ice machines. A Valhalla for ice cream makers and a playground for this Master Patissier and culinary advisor Eric Miete.
Intellectual exchange, IJscentrum Vlaardingen
We are at the IJscentrum in Vlaardingen. It's hard to remember what it used to look like since they've started to renovate the place. Once inside we meet Hidde de Brabander in the renovated, bright and spacious space, between the Kälterudi ice machines. A Valhalla for ice cream makers and a playground for this Master Patissier.
The television world, his demonstrations across the country and his teaching at the Cas Spijkers Academy have brought Hidde so much publicity that the name "Hidde de Brabander" has developed into a brand itself. The common denominator in all these activities is the exchange of knowledge, for which Hidde perceives the Ice Center to be the perfect headquarters. Here, he says, ice cream makers, pastry chefs and catering can shake hands metaphorically to bring the role of ice cream in gastronomy to the next level.
The madman and the scholar, Learning from the old masters
We ask Hidde about his motivation for entering the pastry world and are surprised to find out that he wanted to become an artist from an early age. He says: “Art is nothing but creation. In the pastry shop I do exactly that, but with edible materials. Art takes you to other, older worlds. I want to do the same with my dishes.”
The almost philosophical approach to the link between artists and pastry chefs is self-evident to him.
“To be able to focus and create, you also need enough peace of mind. I often refer to the balance between the madman and the scholar. The scholar is someone who consciously and rationally acquires knowledge and on the other hand, we have a madman, a creative, unguided projectile. You need both to function properly. Think of Rembrandt's highly developed painting techniques. If you put Van Gogh next to it, you will notice that Van Gogh had not mastered many techniques, much of it is wrong. But ultimately, no matter how good your techniques are, it is the viewer who judges the art.”
Artistic flavour combinations, With flowers and leaves
We have known Hidde from the moment he set up his first company Dreams of Magnolia in the Koppert Cress kitchen, so the atmosphere is as relaxed as ever. Hidde's creations mainly focus on flavour combinations. All the while, in collaboration with our culinary advisors, he has developed ideas and experiments with the flavours we have to offer.
He wanted to test how Zallotti Blossom and Ruby Chocolate from Callebaut would combine. "It's right in my head, so we're going to see today if it's really the case." He says.
But also flavours that you would not initially expect in fresh, sweet pastries are Sea Fennel and Shiso Leaves Green. "I especially like the saltiness of Sea Fennel, because ice cream contains sugar and is therefore sweet, so the saltiness can add a nice balance. I use Shiso Leaves Green as a means of transport. It may sound irreverent, but it certainly isn't. It becomes a bottom of fine ice, combined with red fruit."
At this stage in his career, Hidde can be the metaphorical scholar in the role of manager at the IJscentrum. And what about the 'madman'? Is there enough room for creativity? "I make time for that, like today." He says in a determined tone. "Because deep in my heart, I prefer to experiment all day long."