Ten questions and one recipe from Chef Maartyn Hoogeveen

Unsworth Restaurant chef talks about career, food and wine.

  • Sep. 25, 2019 7:30 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.

FoodFood and Wine

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read