17 Mar 2014
Who’s the Chef? – Michael Hermelijn –
Do you want to know more about the chefs in Suriname?
Every week we will try to interview one of the chefs.
So… who’s the chef?
Who: Michael Hermelijn
What: Freelance Chef, Teacher Kitchen Theory & Practice Chef Training
SHTTC, Culinary consultant
Q & A:
- Where did you learn how to cook? I went to the Culinary School Groningen (Culinaire Vakschool Groningen).
- How many years have you been cooking? I have been cooking professionally since 1984. Before that I already enjoyed to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. When I was 18, I won my future wife’s heart with my famous “pan pizza” which I prepared for her every Sunday!
- With which ingredient do you prefer to work with? Fresh herbs, which are readily available now in Suriname thanks to Mr. Greenleaves (and in our garden as well!), and home made spice mixes.
- What is your favorite dish to prepare and why? At the moment I am in to the Indian dishes. I don’t really go by the book, but make up my own dishes as I go along.
- What is your favorite dish to eat? Depends on the mood I am in, but I don’t have an all-time favorite dish. When it has cheese in it, usually I like it.
- What do you think of our Surinamese cuisine? Many delicious flavors, which have to be refined and combined to create the ultimate Surinamese cuisine. The first Suriname Culinary Team, of which I was a member, seven years ago, saw this as one of the prime goals.
- What could be better? Better use of techniques and more professionalism. The lack of schooling and the attitude of many chefs in Suriname is what is holding us back. That’s why I am happy to see more people enrolling at the Suriname Hospitality Tourism Training Center to do the full-time course to become a chef.
- Is there a platform for chefs needed? Yes of course and we are working on that with the Suriname Chefs Association (SCA). Arnold Fredrik, Patrick Woei and myself founded the SCA almostthree years ago.
- Do you think the Surinamese cuisine is evolving? It is evolving, but too slow. People could be more open-minded and less rigid when it comes to using new techniques and approaches to preparing Surinamese food.
- What direction should we go with the Surinamese cuisine/kitchen? A fusion of all the different cuisines.