To continue feeding “dynamically” the content of this blog, here is an interview with a “coup-de-coeur” makes great products, just in the spirit of ” la Jeune cuisine”. The culifashion designer Janneke Hoeben is a talented illustrator (training) who has decided to create a kitchen textile label of high quality and affordable fully anchored in the Netherlands. More, it’s local, pratical, visually stunning and sustainable.
His work matches perfectly with the spirit of this blog: to reveal people with passion and high quality projects (worldwide) revolving around gastronomy and food.
1-(Scoffier) How would you describe the path that led you to create “Commis de Cuisine”?
JHoeben– Being educated as a fashion designer, I worked almost a decade in the fashion industry as a designer. To develop myself further and to focus on my passion regarding the visual aspects of food I started as an independent entrepreneur making illustrations of everything that involves food and drinks. Having chosen this specialism, I realized that I am the first culinary illustrator, or culistrator as I call it, on the globe. The lack of working with tangible products made me decide to combine both work fields. Our kitchen textile label, Commis de Cuisine, is where the worlds of fashion and food, by means of culinary illustrations, meet.
2-(Scoffier) How do you explain the idea behind your business?
JHoeben– As said Commis de Cuisine is and unique kitchen textile label in which the worlds of fashion and food are united. The brand is called Commis de Cuisine, after the French definition for the youngest help in a restaurant kitchen. At Commis de Cuisine we wondered: ‘Why just dress the food?’ In our kitchens we spend more and more attention to our food and drinks. And on our appearance by wearing fashionable clothes. Why isn’t there any fashion in the kitchen? The products of Commis de Cuisine jump into this gap. While having a dinner with friends, your apron does not have to be put away quickly anymore before serving, it may be seen!
The products of Commis de Cuisine are no ordinary kitchen textiles. They are kitchen couture, culifashion, and kitchen confection. ‘Prêt à cuisiner’ as opposed to ‘prêt à porter’. With technical knowledge, we look beyond what existing kitchen textile labels are offering. Comfort in the kitchen, but in a way where the products make the whole picture look even better! Influenced by fashion, the products of our collection form beautiful assets for our clients and their kitchens.
3-(Scoffier) It was important that your creations are entirely “Made in Holland”?
JHoeben– We embrace sustainable, responsible and organic solutions when producing items for our label. Nowadays production is almost completely outsourced to foreign countries. This has a negative impact on the knowledge and craftsmanship in western countries as the Netherlands. In earlier days we had a florissant textile industry.
This is exactly why Commis de Cuisine launched a kitchen textiles line, which is produced in the Netherlands ‘99% Made in Holland’. We do not claim to be exactly 100 percent Dutch, because yarn, fabrics and buttons for example have to come from further away. But we are on the right track: labels are made in Holland; artworks are being printed in an eco-friendly manner by hand in our hometown Utrecht; production takes place in our own workplace and in small workplaces in the Netherlands. And even the cards and labels are printed around the corner from our atelier.
The first collection and the new fall-winter collection, from the very first napkin to the last apron, are designed and produced in Holland. So no mass production from a country far far away, but handmade durable kitchen goods.
4-(Scoffier) What ambitions do you have for your work? Increase the number of items, to sell abroad?
JHoeben– We are still in the initial phase of the brand. There is still so much to be done to develop Commis de Cuisine even further. Both in terms of reputation and production. At this moment we are working hard to see if there is a possible collaboration with a larger workshop in the Netherlands for increased production, so Commis de Cuisine can find its way in retail stores and international web shops next to our own online store.
We are also trying to look for better materials, ECO-cotton and linen, and whether it is possible to have this produced in the Netherlands.
We get many requests from entrepreneurs in the hospitality industry as well. People want an unique design for their own restaurant, hotel or bar. A distinctive interior is becoming increasingly important nowadays, so an unique apron design for your staff or a fantastically beautiful napkin on the table is something that works. Commis de Cuisine wants to be known for this specialization. Small numbers for unique users.
5-(Scoffier) Have you always been interested in food, gastronomy?
JHoeben– My love for food and gastronomy evolved ever since I was a very young girl. I was raised by a mother who had a keen eye for modern tastes in the kitchen. She was way ahead of her time. The visual and social aspect of food has an important place in my life ever since my childhood. My final collection in order to graduate from the arts school was entirely based on the form, texture and color of food and drinks. I never learned so much about gastronomy until I met my boyfriend, a food lover in private and profession as well. If I have to choose between a designers bag or a dinner in a fine restaurant, I would always go for the second option.
6-(Scoffier) What are your childhood memories associated with cooking?
JHoeben– As a child I sat on the counter or helped my mother in the kitchen. Whatever ingredient she used, I always wanted to taste. From peppers and raw potatoes to snow peas straight from the land. This way I learned a lot about color, smell, and texture of ingredients. Besides that I had a sweet and above all fashionable grandmother. We were always busy in her kitchen as well. Capping beans or preparing a cucumber salad. But, whatever she did, she always wore a beautiful matching apron. Maybe that is where my sense for style in the kitchen comes from.
N.B: Copyright for the photos © Commis de Cuisine
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