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Hotseat - "Daan" Edan Sluys

757_hotseatGreat Chef

You'll know "Edan Sluys" Daan from all the advertising and promotion flyers, banners and post cards from Yolo. Daan's friendly big smile with a plate full of goodies is definitely an invitation to the restaurant.

Previously he worked on the Oasis of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, which also frequents St. Maarten. He was the Executive Sous Chef and ran 8 kitchens, supervising 150 cooks, cook helpers and stewards. It was an amazing experience, working many hours, but he found it totally fulfilling job wise. Of course, he missed his lovely girlfriend and decided to end his tenure with the cruise ship, but not before being quarantined on the ship, when it was proclaimed to be contaminated with the virus. Daan, together with thousands of other cruise ship passengers and employees, stayed on board for a week prior to being allowed to vacate the ship. An experience he now can fondly look back on, of course, at the time it was quite a challenging situation.

Daan now lives on St. Maarten. He has been the chef at Yolo for 4 months. He created the "all you can eat" sushi concept; the menu consists of a large variety of Sushi, Sashimi and Tempura's. The regular menu offers various Teriyaki's as well as other fusion cuisine.

Tell me a little about where you were born and where you grew up?

I was born in Vlaardingen in the South of Holland, and I grew up mainly in Rotterdam. When I turned 16, I joined my parents, who had moved to the then Netherlands Antilles. They were living in Bonaire at the time. I did a year of Culinary Training (one-year course) in Bonaire, after which I worked for Van der Valk Resort as an Executive Chef. I was their youngest-ever Chef, which of course had some challenges, and received some resistance from older and more-experienced chefs, who doubted my new cooking methods and techniques.

Where did you go to school?

I went to Albeda College in Rotterdam. It's a Culinary Secondary school, known to produce great chefs and cooks. A lot of culinary books were written by renowned chefs, who have been students of this college of which I am now also a product. I haven't written any books yet, however, that is certainly in the pipeline.

Have you ever participated in culinary competitions, if so where, and did you win?

When living in Israel, I worked for Holiday Inn near the Dead Sea and Eilat. I was the Executive Chef and it was then that I participated in a culinary competition in Dortmund, Germany. We travelled to Germany with a team, and really put much energy into the food we prepared for the judges, and the effort paid off as we won 3rd place in "plate up" presentation and decoration (16 countries worldwide participated in this event. Famous culinary judges from the I.K.A. (Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung) were on the team tasting and judging the food and skills of the participants.)

Where do you currently work?

I work at Yolo Sushi Lounge and Fusion Restaurant. I'm the Executive Chef there; I work with a staff of 4 in the kitchen and 5 on the floor. We have a great team, there is good energy! I'm very proud of the product we offer, both food and service wise. The client enjoys a lovely dining experience with us in a totally comfortable, casual location. We offer ocean front dining in a beautifully-appointed al fresco restaurant setting.

Most Chefs have a specialty or a cooking technique, which they are passionate about. Tell me a little about yours.

I'm passionate about cooking with fresh ingredients, from condiments to vegetables and proteins. We do a lot of stir-fries, steaming and roasting of produce, keeping as many nutrients and vitamins in the food that we present to the clients. We produce all our sauces ourselves, even soya sauces we transfer into our own home-made flavoured soya sauce, which makes everything taste quite unique.

Besides working at Yolo, do you have any other hobbies or interests? Give us a description of a regular day in your life.

Other than working at Yolo, which doesn't really leave a lot of time for hobbies, I love fishing (deep-sea fishing in particular), movies and play-stations. I enjoy doing a marathon of great movie watching together with my lovely girlfriend Tess.

What are your ambitions for the future? Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I would love to own my own 20-seat upscale beach front, and fine dining restaurant in the Caribbean (not limited to St. Maarten). I have the restaurant planned and designed down to the last detail; I'm gaining experience now and hopefully someday my dream will come true.

Do you have any days off from work, if so, what do you do on those days?

Yes, I have one day off, which I cherish. I totally unwind on this day. I usually go fishing and when home select a great movie to watch. And I like to take Tess out for dinner or cook something fabulous for her. I re-energize for the following week.

If you could invite 3 famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be? What would be the one question you would ask, and what would you serve them to eat.

I would love to invite Tiesto and Armin van Buuren, both huge DJ's, one Trance, the other House music. They are my ultimate music idols! I've been to several of their shows and concerts and Gordon Ramsay, "The famous Chef", known from kitchen nightmares.

I would serve them freshly-caught Caribbean Spiny Lobster, grilled, served with grilled anti-pasta over a fine glass of Pinot Grigio – and as dessert, deep-fried homemade coconut ice-cream with a flambéed brandy sauce.

My question to them would be, "Will you play and cook for me on my wedding day".