Rolph Hensens is patron cuisinier of HMB-Rotterdam
Already thinking about spring?
‘Well! If i have to chose one season as a favorite, it’s definetely the upcoming period: with the arrival of all young vegetables. Peas, broad beans, baby carrots basically everything. Later on we also get the sea lavender and the samphire.. No, not all the new kinds of seaweed: i like the classic ones, the pure vegetables…’
What are your favorites?
‘Definitely rhubarb, strawberries and artichokes. The last one i have year round. They never leave the menu. And they’re always prepared the classic way. It’s just the way i am, trained at Fred, Parkheuvel and the Amstel. Something you just can’t get out of me!’
The classics are just Rotterdams cup of tea
‘The people from Rotterdam just want a piece of fish or meat without all the fuss. That’s me. That get’s rewarded. We are and will remain a blue collar town.
The innovation as a chef is playing with new shapes and structures, only to support. Just like a side, not to determine the dish. That’s why i love to work with with citrusfruits: with yuzu, kaffir lime and ponzu. Everything has this fresh acidity to it.
They know exactly what we want as chefs
The biggest building in the Netherlands also has a large menu
‘Chantal (de Raaf, hostess at HMB) and i would like to honor The Rottedam at this amazing place next to the Erasmus bridge. The guests themselves decide how many of the 25 small dishes they want or whether they want the surprise menu. On the menu we see melon, curry, sea bass and tuna. That’s a dish made of baked wild sea bass and tuna made like tataki. The tuna gets briefly roasted, rolled with dill, tarragon and parsley, we let it rest for the night this way the herbs have more time to give their flavor. Later on we slice it, the outside is crispy and the inside red. We serve it with a curry-vinaigrette, watermelon, cantaloupe and galia and some risotto underneath. Tip: I always use celery fort he saltiness. It has the same effect as maggi.’
Another example please!
‘A cold dish: scallops, marinated in oil made out of nuts and a compote of French cevennes underneath. Brunoise sliced onions cooked in beef broth and lemon thyme. We put them on low heat and slowly cook the onions with chopped lemon thyme and creme fraiche. You’ll get a creamy, sweet onion compote. Finally we put some slices of scallops on top and some fresh truffle shavings. Also very delicious: dove with pistachio cream a cabbage rouleaux and some creamy pepper sauce.’
Also thanks to Rungis…
‘We choose Rungis because of the high quality, but mainly because they’re consisted: that’s the most important part for us. It’s better to have an seven every single day instead of having a nine point five one day and a six the other. At Rungis they can determine the exact ripeness, but they also know which chef wants the small mushrooms and which rather don’t. They know exactly what we want as chefs.’