You have read about her mouth-watering recipes and seen the amazing creations she makes, now its time to get to know the person behind the magic, our Head Chef at Source Food, Chef Jess van Dyk.
Jess van Dyk is a young and energetic chef. She studied at Silwood Kitchen and graduated in 2012 with her Grande Diplome certificate. She then went on to work and train at the world acclaimed restaurant, La Colombe. Within a year and a half worked her way up to Chef Tournant and in 2014 became Sous Chef at the age of 23. After a year and a half at the reigns of Sous, and after La Colombe winning 2nd place at the EatOut awards 2015, decided it was time to embark on her journey with Source Food as head chef.
Source Food (SF): Was there anything that you wanted to do before you became a chef and what changed your mind?
Jess van Dyk (JD):
When I was really young, I wanted to be a nurse. My mom tried to convince me that I meant Doctor, but none the less stuck to my dream of becoming a nurse. I was also very interested in Marine biology. What changed my mind? I was never set on any of those, and the day Universities came to our school to invite us to enrol with one of their programs I realised there was nothing that really caught my eye. I had always liked cooking, and my dad secretly emailed Silwood and before I knew it my future was sorted.
SF: What is it that you really enjoy about a chef’s life?
JD: There are no rules to being a chef, you can be who ever you’d like to be. A kitchen never judges, no matter how crazy or weird someone is.
SF: What kinds of foods do you think are underrated?
JD: Salads, or any type of vegetable dishes. People tend to think of vegetables as boring, bland and healthy.
SF: What are your top 3 ingredients to cook with?
JD: If you ask anyone of the Source office team, they would all answer: butter, cream and cream cheese. But I’d say: butter, tomato paste and garlic.
SF: What is your dream restaurant to cook at and why?
JD: La Colombe kitchen, because it shaped me into the person and chef I am today.
SF: Person you would most like to cook for and why?
JD: Probably my grandparents. My grandmother was an incredible cook, but got diagnosed with Alzheimer disease when I was still very young. Would love to know what she thought of my cooking and hear what I could learn from her. My grandfather on the other hand didn’t believe in eating at restaurants but loved food. He was a very fussy and difficult man, so would just once want to see the expression on his face after a meal of mine.
SF: What advice would you give to a young, ambitious chef who is just starting out in the industry?
JD: First and foremost, become friends with the scullers. They can teach and help you in every situation. Steal with your eyes. Never get too comfortable, try impress your seniors everyday, be faster, better and work cleaner everyday.