The bonfire in the sand, almost a magnetic light beacon for others in the darkness of the wilderness. The new voices, speaking in an unknown language. The rich aromas from freshly roasted lamb. Intense memories flood back whenever Head Chef Erling Rugsten enthusiastically recalls his youth.
Growing up in Africa meant that each day was full of adventures of freedom, amazing discoveries and unexpected encounters for Erling. Such as the roaming Tuareg people in the heart of the Sahara who remain etched on his mind. Intimate bonds were made under the stars, where name and origin did not matter, language barriers were effortlessly broken and food and rituals were naturally taken for granted.
They turned out to be unconscious sparks that would fuel Erling’s later passion for food and cooking. School books didn’t fascinate him even more due to the adventurous surroundings and events in his youth. Going out, exploring, experimenting and creating is how he prefers to work in an almost natural trust together with others within his tribes, in Chef Erling’s kitchen.
The genuine connections and discovering together, where no man’s will is law: have not always been a-given in Erling’s career. His culinary view, skills and creativity have indeed brought him across the world and, as chef, earned him stars, success and recognition. However they also slyly carried him into a hurried and agitated life ruled by budgets and targets.
Fate, disguised as love, brought Erling to Eindhoven a few years ago. It brought him peace and back to the here and now – again connected to himself, his place and environment and not forgetting: his passion for cooking and eating. Healthy and most importantly pure food, prepared where possible, with the help of old-fashioned techniques, such as pickling and fermenting, in order to maximize the benefits of ingredients and allow them to speak for themselves.
Chef Erling prefers to work with seasonal products and from nearby passionate suppliers who, just like us, have the best intentions for our nature. Nature is not only the inspiration for our dishes, but also for the stories we wish to share. They are culinary narratives with which we want to create bonds in one unique moment – gathered around an improvised bonfire in the sand, or together with others at a table.
They are universal stories in a language which everyone speaks: taste.