Ten questions and one recipe from Chef Maartyn Hoogeveen

Unsworth Restaurant chef talks about career, food and wine.

  • Sep. 25, 2019 8:30 a.m.

– Story by Susan Lundy Photography by Lia Crowe

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Quick Facts

• Born and raised on a dairy farm in the Waikato, New Zealand

• Third year at Unsworth

• Previously: executive chef at Lochmara Lodge, New Zealand; sous chef at Emerald Lake Lodge, Field, BC; sous chef at Restaurang 28+, Gothenburg, Sweden (1 Michelin Star); sous chef at Craggy Range Terroir Restaurant, New Zealand (top winery in NZ).

Why did you decide to become a chef?

After graduating with an advanced diploma in hotel management, I decided that my favourite aspect of the course was the kitchen side. I grew up cooking with fresh produce from my parent’s orchard and garden, and using the farm-reared animals.

What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?

Butter. They say the three secrets to French cuisine is butter, butter and more butter, and I couldn’t agree more. This may also have something to do with my upbringing on a dairy farm.

What is your go-to meal when you’re low on time?

Risotto of any description: it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and can be made with anything you have lying around. The key to impress is finishing with the right amount of butter and Parmesan.

What would your last meal be?

Whole-fried fish. One of my favourite meals was from this little shack in Lagunas de Chacahua, Mexico, where I had whole-fried red snapper, and the fish was caught just one hour before I ate it. The best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at is Tjöruhúsið in Isafjorður, Iceland. It’s a little shed on the wharf with a long communal table and self service, using only fish that has arrived from the boats that afternoon, cooked in a variety of ways and served in sizzling-hot skillets.

What is the best recent food trend?

The trend of using fresh, local ingredients. This is the main philosophy of what we do here at Unsworth. Being fresh, the flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves. It’s very important to be able to connect directly with local farmers and producers who spend a lot of time, care and hard work to grow and make their products.

What is the most overrated recent food trend?

Making vegetarian products that look and taste like meat products. I do agree that we have to move away from a meat-heavy diet and that we should be eating a lot more plant-based food, but I don’t see the point in making something look and taste like meat when it’s not.

What is a good simple piece of advice for pairing wine and food?

Pick what will be either be your wine or the main component of you dish and do some research. I always try to stick with classic pairings.

What is your favourite cuisine to cook?

Mediterranean (French, Spanish and Italian, in particular). They always use fresh, local ingredients with techniques that have been perfected over centuries.

When are you happiest at work?

After a smooth, really busy service when we get to sit down as a team and have a beverage.

When are you happiest outside of work?

When I’m traveling, playing golf or on the cricket field.

Can you share an easy, seasonal recipe for a quick bite this fall?

Roasted Butternut Squash, Sage & Pearl Barley Risotto

2 cups butternut squash (diced 1 ½ cm cubes)

4 Tbsp olive oil

¾ cup pearl barley

1 onion (finely diced)

¼ cup Unsworth Allegro wine

3 cup vegetable stock

3 Tbsp butter (diced)

¾ Cup Parmesan (finely grated)

2 Tbsp sage (finely chopped )

4 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 280 degrees. Combine butternut squash, 2 Tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper on a roasting tray and bake for 15 minutes or until just cooked and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a pot, bring the vegetable stock to a boil and then turn down to a low simmer. In a separate pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil and the onions, and sweat until translucent. Add the pearl barley and cook for 1 minute, making sure it does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute or until it has reduced down to nothing.

Add vegetable stock so it just covers the barley and cook down over medium–low heat until the barley absorbs the stock. Repeat until all the vegetable stock is used (should be 6 to 8 times). Once all the stock is gone, taste the consistency of the barley — it should still have a slight crunch to it but if it is not cooked, add some water and reduce down until the right texture is achieved. Add the butter and mix in quickly with a spatula, and then turn off the heat and add the Parmesan. Stir quickly until it melts and turns into a nice creamy sauce. Add three-quarters of the roasted butternut squash and the sage, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve immediately in bowls, putting the final one-quarter of roasted butternut squash on top as well as the toasted pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy with a glass of Unsworth Allegro.

Check out the restuarant menus here.

Just Posted

County of Wetaskiwin moves ahead on tax recovery sale

Revenue Canada agrees to let County of Wetaskiwin sell property

County of Wetaskiwin says four per cent tax increase to pay for province’s cops

By 2023 county will be looking at over four per cent tax increase to pay for provincial announcement

Canola pricing strategy

A look at the canola futures market in a strong carrying charge situation

County council supports speed limit change on #2A

Grain terminal company requesting speed limit lowered for traffic lights

Improvements complete at Wetaskiwin’s Hwy 13 and Hwy 814

Wetaskiwin Mayor credits community involvement for quick response

VIDEO: Led by ‘Marriage Story,’ Netflix dominates Golden Globe noms

Netflix flexed its muscles across all categories, just as it is girding for battle with a host of new streaming services

Lawyer competence includes knowledge of Indigenous-Crown history: B.C. law society

All practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas

Wealth of Canadians divided along racial lines, says report on income inequality

One interesting finding was that racialized men have a higher employment rate than non-racialized men

Conservatives urge Morneau to deliver ‘urgent’ fall economic update

Morneau says the first thing the Liberals plan to do is bring in their promised tax cut for the middle class

Kovrig clings to humour as ‘two Michaels’ near one year in Chinese prison

Their detention is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou

Proposed health care changes would be “devastating” to rural family practice: president of AMA

AHS, AMA and MLA Ron Orr chime in on recent health care announcements

Man accused in toddler son’s death inept parent, not murderer: defence

Toddler’s body was found outside Good Shepherd Anglican Church in April 2017

Job numbers disappointing, but oil and gas growth expected in 2020: Kenney

Unemployment rate in Alberta rose to 7.2 per cent from 6.7 per cent last month

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Most Read