This weekend the Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam hosted a special vegetarian menu with Chinese chef Jason Pan at the hotel’s Goldfinch Brassierie. The menu is a collaboration that will continue in January, when Sidney Schutte (Librije’s Zusje **) and his team will fly out to Shanghai to Pan’s restaurant Wujie. At Goldfinch Brasserie, a beautiful seven-course menu was presented by both chefs, featuring innovation in vegetarian cuisine unlike anything you’ve seen before. From an elegant radish dish, served in a light radish broth from Pan to Schutte’s mushroom dish with smoked buttermilk, dille, magnolia and leek. There’s a noticeable contrast between the two chefs. Pan’s cuisine is prepared in a traditional way, using ancient Chinese cooking techniques, letting his ingredients settle in a natural habitat. Whereas Schutte’s cuisine is definitely more modern, using a variety of ingredients that serve as a complement to the main ingredient or to elevate them. What the chefs have in common is an understanding of vegetarian ingredients and that less is more, even with vegetarian food. The collaboration shows not only a beautiful side-by-side comparison of the Asian and Western food culture, it also shows that vegetarian cuisine can be inventive and groundbreaking.
This is the kind of innovation that vegetarian food needs.
Pumpkin yoghurt with smoked aubergine, curry, licorice and blue cheese.
Not in the photo: a fragrant 18 ingredient Fujian style soup, steamed – a beautifully layered soup that builds up in flavor as you eat.
Above: a tamarinde sorbet.
Right: a Chinese yam tiramisu. This tasted like actual tiramisu – I was floored!
Above: a lion’s mane mushroom (tasted like a chicken and mushroom meatball – I swear), with yellow paprika and seasonal vegetables.
Not in the photos: a smoked paprika with cherries, corn, shies and turnip.