Zealeand in The Netherlands, famous for it’s beautiful dunes, the calm atmosphere and the nice views. However, our motivation to drive up to Kruiningen is the high-end gastronomic offer of Manoir Restaurant Inter Scaldes. For years it has been a fixture in the Dutch culinary landscape with a score of 19,5/20 according to Gault & Millau and three Michelin-stars. For ‘Chef’s Secret’ – the collaboration between The Best Chef Awards and Hungry for More, we’re happy to pay chef Jannis Brevet and hostess Claudia Brevet a visit, in search of the secret for their success.
Chef’s Secret at Inter Scaldes: The Best Chef & Hungry for More Collab
Welcome in Kruiningen
In the charming village of Kruiningen there’s a calm road that brings you to the elegant driveway of the villa where Inter Scaldes is located. As soon as you approach the domain, a staff member is there to welcome you. Whether you come by car or you’d prefer to use a helicopter for transport, at Inter Scaldes you’re sure the get a warm welcome. Hospitable, accessible, yet polite, the team masters the art of giving guests a royal treatment, without being rigid or distant.
Chef Jannis and hostess Claudia Brevet
The best way to introduce the owners Jannis and Claudia Brevet, is to take a look at their professional track record. Hostess Claudia started of her carreer in the hotel industry. After some years she specialised in working as a wedding planner. At the Greenpark Hotel Leischendam Claudia met chef Jannis Brevet. At that time Jannis had already earned his spurs at Das Tantris*** in München, Die Schweizer Stuben** in Wertheim, Alb 31* in Ettlingen and Le Marron* in Bonn. Subsequently the couple worked together at Het Koetshuis in Rhenen, before starting a own business on their own at Helianthushof in Uden. The next step for Claudia and Jannis was to take over the restaurant where they are currently based: Inter Scaldes in Kruiningen.
Inter Scaldes – which means between Scheldt’s in Latin – led by the then chef Maartje Boudeling had already had two Michelin stars since 1984. In 2001 Jannis and Claudia Brevet took over the ownership and management of Inter Scaldes. Already in 2003 disaster struck, when the restaurant burnt down to the ground. But the couple was combative and didn’t lose heart, and they were able to reopen later that year and they even managed to keep their two Michelin stars. Today chef Jannis Brevet represents the top of the Dutch gastronomy. Inter Scaldes is part of Relais & Chateaux, Traditions & Qualité, Les Grandes Tables du Monde and just in 2017, finally , they were awarded a third Michelin-star. Hostess Claudia Brevet as well is the top of her league, as she won the title of Hostess of the year 2018 of Gault & Millau.
The domain of Inter Scaldes
At the domain of Inter Scaldes there’s a central building in which the restaurant is located. In the annex there are 12 hotel rooms. Both look out on the classic English garden, where the sun shines bright all day.
Manoir Inter Scaldes
The hotel, named Manoir Inter Scaldes, radiates contemporary design with its granite floors, spacious, luxurious rooms and unique artworks. The style is powerful and at the same time minimalistic. Extra special is the fact theat the artworks in the hotel are created by chef Jannis Brevet. So his philosophy, aesthetic talent and creativity are not only reflected in the plates in the restaurant. These elements are clearly present in the hotel as well. The interior design of the hotel is in perfect harmony with the context and the artworks, by using soft colours, wooden materials and warm decorative elements.
We have the opportunity to stay the night in the suite, that has a comfortable fauteuille and sofa’s in a seperate living space, a very comfortable bed, a smartly integrated desk, a large flatscreen tv and a bathroom with a big bath and a large shower. The bathroom amenities of Bulgari and the nicely designed bath slippers and bath robes arouse that lovely wellness feeling.
In the morning you can see the sun rising from the private balcony, while enjoying a nice cup of coffee or tea. Fresh flowers, some tasty cakes and a minibar filled with all you’d need make you instantly feel at home.
Breakfast is served with a view on the beautiful garden. Thanks to the fine selection of cheeses and meats, personalized eggs, yogurt and an assortment of breads and pastries, you’re sure to have a perfect start of the day. Everything is served at the highest level of service and hospitality.
Restaurant Inter Scaldes
The ultimate highlight of a stay at Inter Scaldes is of course the lunch or the dinner at the restaurant.
Minimalism, elegance and warmth are also the key elements in the restaurant of Inter Scaldes. Via the spacious lobby you are personally escorted to your table. The dining room is situated in the back wing, that offers that nice view on the garden and a wonderful touch of sunlight.
These assets are optimized by using white as the most important colour for the walls, the chairs and the table linen. Wooden furniture brings in warmth and a smooth atmosphere, while the artworks nicely reflect the passion for aesthetics in a very stylish way.
The same aesthetic minimalism is clearly present in the cooking style and plating skills of chef Jannis Brevet. He’s known for his pureness, technique and refinement. More than anything else it’s a style that is about flavour and balance. The power of the gastronomic experience at Inter Scaldes is in the simplicity and authenticity of Jannis’ approach.
Curious as we are to discover the secret of Inter Scaldes, we take the time for a tête-à-tête with chef Jannis Brevet.
The Best Chef & Hungry for More (Chef’s Secret): You’ve been at the top of the world of fine dining for such a long time, but how did it all started at Inter Scaldes? What was the concept and the idea?
Chef Jannis Brevet: It’s been already 17 years, since we’ve started working at Inter Scaldes. Before we moved here, we were based in Brabant. When the former chef of Inter Scaldes was looking for someone to take over the restaurant, it was time to go back to my roots in Zealand. The location of the estate is really nice and the restaurant already had an international appeal back then. So we were happy that we got this opportunity, as it made it possible to work at the highest gastronomic level, with beautiful products and at the perfect location. Inter Scaldes already had the type of clients that were looking for this kind of experience.
Chef’s Secret: How has the concept evolved through the years?
Chef Jannis Brevet: If you’re playing in the Premier League of the gastronomy, you are always aiming to be the best. This means you need to look for the perfect approach and the perfect team. We’ve always been building the future and we’ve been evolving gradually and patiently. Today we have a very strong team that knows how to work together perfectly. We share the same vision and ambition, and that’s what has brought us where we are now.
Chef’s Secret: How would you describe your cooking style?
Chef Jannis Brevet: My style starts from a traditional basis, which is the logical result of my eduction and experience. I like to cook as transparant as possible, with flavours and products that are clearly recognizable. Top quality products are key, and I combine them with three of four elements that amplify the beauty of that product. I always to go for the minimum and I try to work as pure as possible. That can be quite challenging, as minimalism doesn’t permit you to hide or sugarcoat something. All flavours and the balance needs to be in place. It’s all about three things: profound knowledge of the product, cooking technique and dosing. If you don’t master those three key elements, it’s impossible to get great results.
Chef’s Secret: The cooking style from the Nordics is quite popular now, whereas before molecular cooking seemed to be trending. What do you think of culinary trends?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Fashion and trends are only temporary. I’m not a big fan of creation for the sake of the creation. Of course I consider it important to be on top of evolutions in the field. I want to know and taste the trends, but I would only use them in my own kitchen if I’m convinced it would be a fine addition to my own style.
Chef’s Secret: Let’s get to the inevitable question. Just recent, you were awarded the third Michelin star, after so many years. How does that feel?
Chef Jannis Brevet: The third Michelin star is a fantastic award and of course we are very happy and proud now. After being named as the favourite for getting that third star for so many years, it’s an amazing feeling when it finally happens after all.
Hostess Claudia Brevet: The night of the award show was very special for us. As we never went to the event in the past, our attendance had to stay a secret this time. It was arranged that we could enter the theatre through the back door, so the audience would not know in advance that we had finally won. When we were on that stage, it was very emotional. It was incredibly nice to get so many postive reactions and support of all kinds of partners, clients, media, etc…
Chef Jannis Brevet: However, we received that third Michelin star for what we have been doing in the past and not for what we would be doing in the future. So we are definitely planning to stay true to our style and approach.
Chef’s Secret: What are your goals and ambitions, now that you have received the highest distiction?
Chef Jannis Brevet: The need and drive to strive for perfection is still there. You have to innovate in order to improve.
Chef’s Secret: Claudia and you are always working together. Is this the secret of your success?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Claudia and I are like a unity of two parts. Throughout the years we have divided are roles. We have the same vision and of course it happens we don’t agree at a certain time, but that’s also fine. We both consider it important to be present at the restaurant ourselves as much as possible. It’s like we owe that to our guests. They really want to visit us and therefore we like to welcome them in person, instead of cooking elsewhere.
Chef’s Secret: Another classic question. Do you have your own favorite dish on the menu? Or are there certain products that you really love to cook with?
Chef Jannis Brevet: No, I don’t have a favorite dish or product. There are so many seasons and products and they all have their own specificity and uniqueness. I really like them all. If I’d prefer a certain dish, it would feel as I’d consider the others to be less valuable, and that’s definitely not the case. However, my own mood can vary and evolve, and as a result it happens that I feel like working with one or another product. But it’s not a matter of preference. The power of a product is in its individuality.
Chef’s Secret: You seem to have an inexhaustible source of creativity? Where does the inspiration come from?
Chef Jannis Brevet: I just really love wat I do. I’m working in the kitchen for about 43 years now and with that experience you just know what flavours to combine to have a fantastic dish. And that knowledge gives me the opportunity to experiment in the kitchen in a new way. Sometimes you know exactly what you want to create, sometimes the creation comes by chance. That’s how I keep inspired.
Chef’s Secret: You’re also an artist and a painter? Does your art inspire you in the kitchen, or does it work the other way around?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Both activities are a form of expression, it’s my outlet. I just really like it and it boosts my creativity. Some periods are more intense than others, but that’s normal I guess. There’s definitely a connection between my paintings and my cooking. For example the love for monochromism and minimalism. In both disciplines is simplicity hard to achieve, as it needs to be spot on. You can’t hide.
Chef’s Secret: Let’s imagine you would not be a chef, what would have been your profession?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Then I’d probably been a painter, archeologist or carpenter. I really like the profession of craftsmen.
Chef’s Secret: The title of this article is “Chef’s secret”… What is the secret to your success?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Our secret is that we stay true to our vision and philosophy. We enhance quality in everything we do. When we cook it’s with the utmost respect for the produce. When it comes to service, we aim to make our guests feel at home. Every part of the puzzle needs to be right. Therefore we need to work with a great team, in which all team members feel comfortable in what they do.
Chef’s Secret: Speaking about people… The team is quite young at Inter Scaldes, but at the same time the service is of the highest standards. How do you manage to achieve this?
Chef Jannis Brevet: We’re very lucky that our team is highly motivated. They make a conscious choice to work at Inter Scaldes, given the fact we are located in a small village. It’s a totally different experience than working in a big city like Amsterdam, where you can go out after the work is done. There’s not so much to do in Kruiningen, so the team hangs out together. No wonder they are very close. Most people of our team already work at Inter Scaldes for a long time, five or ten years in no exception. We all try to make a difference with our hospitable, relaxed approach. We make people feel at home, but we always stay polite and respectful. It’s a matter of feeling what your guests like and then play in to that.
Chef’s Secret: Are there certain people that inspire you and that you look up to?
Chef Jannis Brevet: Well, in fact you can learn something from all the people you meet in your career. They are part of you personal and professional education. The relationship with others makes it possible to discover who you really are and what you represent. It’s about finding your own style. If I would need to name one person, I’d say Robuchon. How he can turn a dish like mashed potatoes, that seems so simple, into a monumental creation is extraordinary.
Chef’s Secret: Thanks for your time Jannis. You’ve made us incredibly curious to taste your philosophy in the dishes. We wish you all the best!
Talking that much can make you very hungry. Luckily we get the chance to take pictures of a selection of plates and taste them as well.
Caviar ‘Anna Dutch Gold’ with coconut, Solange avocado and crispy chicken skin.
Tartare Pétoncles with truffle ‘Tuber Melanosporum’, chervil, Saké vinegar and San Mazzo tomato.
Duck liver (Bio) with topinambour, bitter chocolate and figs ‘Rouge de Bordeaux’.
Scallops Saint Jacques doré with orange, Piment d’Espelette, anis and kombu.
Langoustine ‘Guilvinec’ with caviar Anna Dutch Gold, basil, cucumber and yogurt.
Filet of lamb ‘Alexander Calder’ with fenugreek and pommes soufflées.
North sea crab with baby peach, Whisky ‘Oban’, citrus sauce and coriander.
Cream of Grand Mariner Centenaire with citrus fruits, Taggiasca olive and tarragon.
Pressed caviar with a brandade of sturgeon (‘Culinary simplicity to simplicity and stillness’).
King crab with asparagus, egg, hazelnut, truffle, orange-blossom, citrus and coconut.
Lobster ‘Sequenz’ with young vegetables, ginger, garden herbs and truffle.
Farm egg with beet, ginger, pomegranate, potato-Reblochon and caviar ‘Anna Dutch Gold’.
Young carrot with marrow, truffle ‘Tuber Melanosporum’, chervil and apricot.
At Inter Scales you can experience gastronomy, aesthetics and hospitality at the highest standards, appealing to all the sense. The passion, skills and character of chef Jannis Brevet and hostess Claudia demand for the greatest respect. An unforgettable experience for those who love refinement and flavour.