The secrets of Dave de Belder's gastronomic art

We caught up with Dave to learn more about his beautiful creations and food philosophy.

Dave De Belder of award-winning restaurant De Godevaart in Antwerp, has worked in the kitchens of celebrated restaurants including El Bulli in Spain, and uses cooking techniques available nowhere else in Australia. His style of Flemish fine dining challenges the way we eat and asks you to step outside the boundaries set by conventional cooking.

Dave joins other award-winning Flemish chefs and celebrated international chefs such as Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck, Bray, UK, and René Redzepi of Noma, Copenhagen, Denmark, at the yearly Flemish food event, The Flemish Primitives.

Constantly striving to create new food pairings, Dave and his team of talented chefs at Cara&Co offer pure cooking that delivers heightened flavours with each dish. Using a combination of innovation and imagination you will experience creations that use taste and texture with the best Australian produce.

You enjoy creating new food pairings, can you elaborate on this further?

The style of cooking that I specialise in is called Flemish Primitive. This approach to food is particularly innovative as it utilises the knowledge gained through science of pairing different kinds of food together. There is a sense of liberty and creativity with this method of cooking as the ingredients that I fuse are not always typically used together.

What is your favourite pairing thus far?

As I experiment with new ingredients my favourite pairings often change, however currently it would have to be tomato, cardamom, scampi, parmesan and grapefruit. This particular pairing is perfect for [summer as it is fresh and with bursts of flavor.

What does it take to be a successful chef?

From the outside, being a chef may seem very glamorous, however this is only a small portion of the job. In order to be successful in this field you need to have an intense passion for your craft. The hours are extremely long and the work is at times very strenuous.

What is your signature dish?

My absolute favourite dish and perhaps what I am best known for is smoked eel, caramelised with foi gras and different preparations of fennel and orange.

Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?

My greatest inspiration in the kitchen comes from a fellow chef named Jonnie Boer, co-owner of the 3-star Michelin restaurant De Librije in Holland. I was introduced to him through a friend of my father and had the privilege of working for him for quite a long time. This is where it all began.

What is your best tip for home cooks?

My greatest piece of advice for home cooks would be to not over cook your food. It sounds funny, but my cuisine prides itself on the techniques used for cooking and too often people are nervous to undercook and things are often ‘too well done’. People are scared of something that is a little raw, but it makes all the difference.

Try Dave's Wild Kingfish with Beetroot, Dill and Sourdough Crisps recipe at home.

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