Restaurant Castell is located in a beautiful part of Zaandam, on the lock. Together with her partner Özgur, Mascha runs the restaurant, which is considered by many to be the best in town. IFFI speaks with the chef because during the Future Food Factory event on November 17th next, dinner will be held in this beautiful authentic place.
How long has Castell been around?
´It used to be a tapas restaurant and before that an Indonesian restaurant. We started Castell Bites & Steaks 16 years ago next February. My husband and I were dating almost a year, when he encouraged me to use my passion for cooking for my own business instead of working for another.´
What kind of restaurant is Castell?
´We like to call ourselves a French/Dutch bistro. I am trained and schooled in classic French techniques. But I like to use Dutch seasonal ingredients. Everything that comes out of our kitchen is selfmade. We work with two menus. One is a classic bistro menu and remains unchanged. Here one can find the Dutch shrimp cocktail, escargot, French onion soup as a starter and the mains are mostly steaks with baked potato. The other menu is a more modern menu. I like to change this every six to 8 weeks. This gives me the opportunity to work with seasonal products and with the trends in the culinary scene. We also offer a 5 course surprise dinner, the Chef’s Choice menu.´
Do you already know what you are going to present to the people of the event Future Food Factory, who are coming for dinner on November 17th?
´Roughly speaking, I do have an idea. It’s game season now, so of course I’ll use that. Seafood is the ray very beautiful this time of year. And I also like to use the “forgotten” Dutch vegetables, these are vegetables which were very common in the Dutch kitchens some hundred years ago. But it’s two weeks from now, so when a supplier calls me with a beautiful product that he can offer me, I might come up with a whole other delicious meal.”
Have you always wanted to be a chef?
´I have always been so fond of food, if I hadn’t turned that into my profession to cook for others, I don’t know what would have happened with my physique. I have cooked with my parents since I was six years old. From the age of 10 I was allowed to cook dinner by myself. So at 16 it was an easy choice for me which school to choose. I always loved the classic French kitchen. I like to cook, whether I cook for our guests or my family. As my husband says:
“The love for her ingredients and the passion for cooking are her main ingredients. ”