Invest, Innovate and Inspire, Lars van Galen

Category: Hospitality & Gastronomy

Ami Saisonnier Lars van Galen, owner and chef of Hotel Restaurant 't Lansink in Hengelo saw the imposed closure period during the pandemic as the ideal time to invest in culinary.

Always room for improvement, Culinary Teamwork

The business as well as the kitchen and dishes were taken in hand in close collaboration with the entire team. "During that period we had a lot of time to reflect and discuss. Even if you are satisfied, there is always room for improvement in entrepreneurship, the business and the dishes. Our focus was on the sauces, which we wanted to improve in terms of taste and sophistication. Instead of letting a gravy soak for 2.5 days, we now work with 1 basic gravy with which we make the next ones. This gives the sauces more depth." Lars involves his regular team in everything he does. "The whole team, both the kitchen and the room, gets involved in everything. Together you come up with a lot more ideas. Our inspiration was put on paper to work out afterwards." This is also how he decided to omit unnecessary ingredients from the dishes. "The basis remains the cuisson and the sauce and then we look for additions that rightly take it to the next level. A dish should not be built up because it looks nice or because that's how we presented it until now.

At 't Lansink, you taste top quality products from the region on the plate; roe from the local hunter, Texel lamb, asparagus from the local farmer, fish, North Sea crab and the cresses from Koppert Cress. "The products we use have to be top notch, I check the scales and gills on the fish, the roe has to be well shot. I work in full confidence with suppliers from the immediate area and region of the Netherlands, depending on the supply.  We cut out the roe delivered from the skin by the local hunter and let it mature for a week in a vacuum. During the pandemic, we built an additional preparation kitchen, so we can do all kinds of work throughout the year that involves our apprentices, taking them to the next level."

Trends, Classic Enjoyment

Lars follows his own trend in consultation with the team. "I want everything in my dish to taste, the old-fashioned sweet, the bitter, crispy, that's what I steer towards. The dish doesn't go on the menu until everyone likes it. I find it easy to work, you have your whole team with you because they are 100% behind the product. Even the service team has to know the thought behind the dish. The team knows they can say anything to me. Thanks to the good relationship, we know each other well and can say anything."

't Lansink is open 7/7 and pampers both business (hotel) and leisure guests. "Because the building has a classic look, there was a certain barrier. We offer a vegetarian menu and our classic dishes are finished with fresh tones. As a result, we attract a younger crowd. We don't operate completely plant-based because this remains a region where guests want to eat a good piece of meat or fish, but the vegetarian menu has become a fixture on our menu. Our guests like to be surprised, they come here with an expectation. It's a hobby, I'm constantly looking for certain ingredients to be able to surprise the guests in terms of taste experience, the products of Koppert Cress help with that perfectly. We are under enormous pressure, but that's what makes it so creative.

It's very important to be creative with your produce, like asparagus that you can use in different dishes."


Koppert Cress, Keep raising the bar

For the reportage, Lars was eager to work with Dutch vanilla and sea related Koppert Cress products. "I was really curious about homegrown vanilla. Lobster with vanilla is very cool in combination with a salad of asparagus with seaweed products. It's a nice full-bodied vanilla pod with a lot of aroma. I used the pith in the vinaigrette with the lukewarm lobster. Gut-wise I did not expect this aroma, in my mind vanilla comes from Madagascar. The Koppert Cress vanilla fits nicely into these times and can match the ones we know from way back. How nice then that you can source them from the local area. The Oyster Leaves and Algae Powders are very aromatic and add a salty flavor to dishes. The Sea Berries (Moai Caviar) are a beautiful natural product, they plop nicely and give a pleasant salty mouthfeel. Now that's a surprise and it just comes from next door, how nice is that? You always have to keep raising the bar for yourself."

Chef: Lars van Galen - 't Lansink
Source: Culinaire Saisonnier