Syrco Bakker

Everything always starts with curiosity. Growing up, my dad taught me that there are no barriers in life, only lessons. I quickly learned that when you dare to fail and dare to ask questions, the result will always be growth. There lies an opportunity of learning in everything, every encounter, every setback. Being a chef, it’s that curiosity to evolve that drives me every day. I want to keep growing as a chef, as a human being, as a team leader, a dad, a son.

As a restless young chef in my first years, I wanted to shock people by the choices I made, the products I used, and the dishes I prepared. Now, years later, I feel like I’ve found ease in how I envision, see and experience things. I know who I am, what I stand for, and I’m not afraid of speaking my truth. That more balanced take on things made me appreciate the ingredients I get to work with every day even more. Without sacrificing quality, there’s always room for improvement.

My dad told me to aim high and learn from the best. Sergio (Herman) has always been a mentor to me, he believes in my curiosity and determination to grow, yet he was and is always (brutally) honest. But it’s thanks to that honesty, I learned to appreciate feedback, the good and the bad. Years later, we find ourselves at the same level as he pushes me to mentor young chefs myself. I’m thrilled to grow, to see growth and help others grow every day again because I thrive on progress. But most of all, I’m curious to know where that will bring me, and the young talents, in the future. That is within a couple of years. Months. Hours. Or even minutes. There’s always more to take along the road.

"You can't be at your top; that’s almost impossible."

From an early age, I was taught to put time and energy into food. Not only when preparing, but also whilst eating. In all the projects and with every plate I put in front of a guest, I want to invite them to indulge in the flavours, traceability and transparency of the process behind the end result. I strive for conscious and ever-growing gratefulness towards all divine products that nature has in store for us.

I’ll stay forever restless. Restlessly curious. I’ll keep evolving with that everlasting thirst for more and hope to take many along the ride. Differences can only be made when moving fearlessly forward.