MAARTEN VAN ESSCHE
“CATCH THE PERFECT EVENING”
Graduated as an interior designer, his passion for food guided him to unexplored spheres. This is how he landed in the kitchen of the star restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen. After being educated as a contemporary chef, Maarten launched together with his friend Floris, the food truck concept called METEOR.
Today his sensitivity for vegetables & the purity of nature, pushes him to catch the perfect evening, where every detail matches to its complete totality, from taste to experience, from private groups in a kitchen to places you’ve never been.
Maarten welcomed us in his kitchen, where like a magician, he composed leftovers of a previous project into the most juicy veggie burger ever. His last project was mostly always sold out. A private dinner experience called “WILDER AT THE VILLA”.
Last summer he opened the doors of a brand new restaurant concept in Mechelen, called MAGMA. We are proud to share some inspiration from his garden, located somewhere around Brussels … where vegetables speak and where their freshly born boy Ramses will grow in between love and greens.
Word chosen by Maarten : PERFECT IMPERFECTION
1/ The last time you used / heard / experienced this word?
Perfection to me, is something measured. Often coming from what others expect from it. This means that there is some measurement, some reference. Imperfection is reached when you put your personal touch to it. This makes it so exciting, because this is where perfection becomes personal, with an emotional twist.
Personally I like to play with myself in this unbalanced edge. Every day, I try to get me out of balance. Challenging perfection is something you want, like a goal … that sooner or later will put yourself under pressure, and for me pressure is a negative energy. So according to me, perfection actually is the opposite. First aim high, and when you’re in the process, dare to let it go.
2/ What is the inherent emotion you feel in this word?
Letting go is to me more an action of listening. I find my fire in vegetables. They come from nature, they are connected to seasons & places. This means that the taste is so diverse and different. You have something in mind, you want to climb to that particular taste , but on the way you’ll find much more than what you had in mind. This is where it happens. Letting go is also the best way to get surprised, and go higher than your expectations. You see the same process in working with people.
3/ Which object / shape do you see in this word?
The shape of a woman. Even if it doesn’t suit in this context ;) …, but let’s say the shape of a body, both male or female. Because it’s intensely connected to nature, and at the same time so surprising. Does the body move, or does the person that lives within his/her body activates the movement of the body? The contextual energy develops how the body will evolve or react, or move through space.
4/ How is this word related to you / your work?
Keep the intrigue alive of shaping a precise final taste. The word “nonchalance” is a word that I like to use, but this feeling can be only achieved once you ever went “over” it, otherwise “nonchalance” has just a hollow sense. Only if you are maniacally obsessed by perfection, you have a chance to reach “nonchalance”.
I compare this with good architecture. It is something you feel, but not only with your eyes. Just “on” it. It’s a completeness. I seek to shape the body of the space in its purest nature, without touching too much, leave it rough. And to combine this with an ultra precise food composition, that will bring the sense to its core.
5/ Which material would you associate with this word?
Materiality is experience. To find the balance between showing the process or how it will affect the final experience. For example we‘ve been sanding an old wooden table during two weeks to get the right tactility and proportion towards the global experience. Or for example our new “house-workshop”, which is basically very grotesque, ugly, but at the same time, so unique that I will purify its sensation until a finest refinement just for the sake of creating a unique setting.
6/ Thinking about cork, can you imagine an object linked to this word?
I feel cork directly connected to the sense of imperfect perfection. I’d love to apply this material in my new tables. Cork is very soft, light, warm, but if applied in a rough way, its texture will expand its experience. You sit at a rough table, but with a light warm touch. Cherry on the cake, it’s sound absorbent, which I pay a lot of attention to. So what can we imagine better than a material made out of waste, affecting sound and touch, conceptualised and designed in Belgium?
7/ Which word / value / quote is omnipresent in your life ... to pass on.