- BAS WIEGEl
- DE KAS, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
“The food we serve is pretty basic,” says Bas Wiegel, chef at the restaurant and nursery De Kas in Amsterdam, “but with a lot of respect for nature.” The cooking at De Kas is all about simplicity and flavor, using seasonal produce that is grown on-site to its fullest natural potential in an adjacent garden and greenhouse. “Everything we serve is Dutch – even down to the cheese.” Naturally, a local farmer delivers their eggs.
“You always need eggs,” says Bas, “and I like to know where they come from. I’ve been to the farm we use, and they provide some of the best eggs I’ve ever tasted.” Wiegel stresses the importance of using unpasteurized eggs for a “fuller, more rounded” flavor – a high priority when creating vegetarian dishes, a particular passion of his.
“My father always said that it’s more difficult to cook perfect vegetables than fish or meat,” he says. “I think it’s a marker of a good chef. Obviously, eggs are great in that respect because they can offer a richness, a sense of luxury with the clean, natural flavors of vegetables.” Freshness, however, is key.
“We often poach an egg for a main dish – a process that demands absolute freshness,” says Bas, “but we also use them a lot in our dairy ice creams. Our prune ice cream has been a particular favorite in the past.”
Eggs are an essential feature of the restaurant’s pastry offering. At any one time Wiegel might go through “up to 1,000 eggs a week”, particularly if the much-fabled chocolate nemesis – a giant, sliceable truffle – is on the menu. “It’s a method that, again, requires freshness,” he explains. “When you make a parfait, the mix takes the air better when the egg is fresh and the flavor is more even. People come back and ask for this dish even when we don’t have it.”
TEXT BY ELEANOR MORGAN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TRENT MCMINN
Makes one cake
Melt 675 grams of bitter chocolate and 450 grams of butter together in a bain-marie. In a separate bowl, mix 10 fresh eggs and 450 grams of sugar together until the sugar is incorporated. Add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate. Mix gently and, when it comes together, add 50 grams of cocoa powder. Bake at 150 degrees C (about 300 degrees F) for approximately 25 minutes. Allow the nemesis to cool completely before slicing.