Back to the roots: meet Cocotte’s Executive Chef, Jeriko Van Der Wolf
Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Jeriko, I am 23 years old, from France and currently Cocotte’s Executive Chef. I started to cook at home when I was a little boy with my father who was an excellent home cook. He gave me the passion to cook.
What made you decide to become a chef?
Cooking started more as a hobby for me than something that I wanted to do professionally. However, as I got older my interest in cooking grew and grew, and so I decided to train to become a professional chef.
How would you define your style of cooking?
Honestly, it’s quite complicated to define my style; some chefs are still looking for their own style even after 25 years of experience… For me, cooking is constantly evolving with new techniques and new trends. I would say that my style depends on my mood and where I am. It changes with the weather, with the type of customers… There are plenty of elements which define someone’s way of cooking. In the past, I enjoyed to cook in a very technical way: with different textures, temperatures, and a lot of elements, as I wanted to show my culinary background and knowledge. Recently, I realized that most of the time, simplicity is the best way to cook. To define my cooking style today, I would like to share this quote from Curnonsky: “In cuisine, as in all the arts, simplicity is the sign of perfection”.
Could you tell us where you have worked?
I started in a small traditional restaurant and it was really a good experience. I wanted to learn more, so I decided to leave and join “Le vieux logis” with an “M.O.F” (France’s best artisan) chef in a one starred Michelin restaurant.
Thanks to such a great Chef, I got to work on the basics of the French cuisine, and explore a wide range of gastronomic techniques. Today, I still consider Vincent Arnould (Le Vieux logis M.O.F Chef) a spiritual father. After one year and half of amazing and hard training experience at Le Vieux logis, I decided to move to Paris where I had a short cooking experience at the “Atelier de Joel Robuchon”.
After that I worked with a fish specialist at a one starred Michelin restaurant with a fantastic team and the great Chef Mickael Feval.
I wanted to take a break so I decided to accept a six month contract in Courchevel where I was sous chef and where we managed a team of 10 chefs, with Chef Jean Pierre Denis. It was also at that time, at 19 years old, when I started to learn about management and began to truly appreciate having more responsibility.
Following my time at Courchevel, I was made an offer I simply could not refuse and joined the world-renowned three starred Michelin restaurant “Regis and Jacques Marcon”. It was a truly wonderful experience. Even though we worked really hard, everyone was happy to cook with such amazing fresh products and to work for the Marcon family. This was a great learning experience during which I also got the chance to meet some of the greatest chefs in the world.
After nine months, I joined the five star hotel “Belle Rives” in Juan les Pins with Chef Yoric Tieche and his great team. What drew me towards this restaurant was Chef Yoric Tieche’s cooking style. A passionate and delicate style of cooking with food always cooked with passion and plated with incredible finesse.
And then came the Asian experience…
Indeed! I had an opportunity in Asia, where I worked for GillCapital, a retail company that wanted to develop its F&B concept. They hired me as an Executive Chef and we worked together to open D’ARK in Bangkok. A few months after the opening, we opened a second branch in EMQuartier, where, along with my friend and pastry Chef Joffrey Jacob, we managed a team of more than 15 people. It was a great managerial experience.
And then finally, as you know, came Cocotte.
You have participated in Iron Chef Thailand, what could you tell us about that experience?
Iron Chef was a very good experience, I was helped by my two sous chefs and we worked on a fun menu with the theme “Breakfast in bed”.
I had to cook against Chef Ian, a great and humble chef who is running “Issaya Siamese club”… It was a true challenge! Do you know that he recently ranked 19th out of 50th Best Asia Restaurant Chefs? It was a great battle. Unfortunately, we lost due to a fault in training but I will remember this for a long time.
Which product do you enjoy working with the most?
I enjoy cooking with the best products, whether it is fish, meat or vegetables. That’s the basis of our job, to select the product, cook it and deliver it to our customers. That’s how I enjoy doing my job
So you like working with good products and you’ll do that with Cocotte. But tell me, what does Cocotte’s concept mean for you?
Cocotte’s concept is a way to promote the great job of our farmers and suppliers, who work extremely hard to bring the best proucts to our kitchen. Our job then, is to bring these high quality products to life, by cooking them as best we can and by serving them on your plate!
What else can you tell us about Cocotte?
Cocotte is the end product of a strong working relationship between our farmers, producers, and our cooking skills, to ensure high quality dishes for our customers.
At Cocotte, we have a variety of good products and creative items. The client will be a spectator, my team and myself the actors. We imported a beautiful rotisserie from France so while you are eating, you will have to chance to see your chicken slowly roasting in our stunning open kitchen. What a show! Cooking is about love and passion. We will give these chickens as much love as the farmer did and as much as the client will love eating them!
You know, ever since I was a child, I always loved roasted chicken… To the point where I nearly got one tattooed on my arm! For real!
How will you put such a concept into effect?
We recently visited the Royal Farm Project in order to organize our direct sourcing from the farm. The produce is raised on the Doi Inthanon Mountain and is sent directly to our kitchen. The closest you are to the person who raised your product, the more you can ensure that you will cook it in the most appropriate and respectful way. I believe that there are no good chefs without good products.
Finally, could you tell us when Cocotte will open?
Cocotte is currently under construction. Our wish is to open the restaurant after properly training our team. If all goes according to plan, we will open on the April 27th. See you there!
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To contact us :
- Website : www.cocotte-bangkok.com
- E-mail adress : firstname.lastname@example.org