Ádám Norbert Kiss
by Greenstic on Jul 20, 2022
You have been living in the Netherlands for 10 years , what do you do now ?
I am the creative director of the largest Dutch chef platform. I started working with FoodReporter in 2016 after they saw my street food blog. In 2015, street food was very popular in the Netherlands, the topic was exciting, and I wanted a more serious portfolio in English, so I started making gastro films. That's how I got into the world of fine dining.
I have my own project, New Chefs on the Block , where we award young chef talents. I make a longer portrait of each of them, which we show in a cinema in front of 150 other young talents. We eat big and build community. This was my idea at a dead boring meeting, and then I'm already working on the third season.
What do you like about filmmaking ? How did you come up with gastronomy , what are your goals with it? What do you like in him? What makes you in this category ?
It's good to work in gastronomy because a plate doesn't get hysterical, doesn't have wild ideas and never talks back to the filmmaker. On the contrary, chef hysteria is a separate category. All kidding aside, I've always been interested in the story. Perhaps this is due to my personality and my profession in Hungary, I was a news reporter for 10 years. I was noticed in the Netherlands because I didn't ask the classic questions, e.g. what is your favorite ingredient, but what was the worst day of your life. But you have to feel this, what kind of question can make a film have depth. I pay close attention to the details of how someone reacts to each half-sentence. This is the game I enjoy the most at work.
I have had very stupid interviewees several times. In such cases, I ask the question to hear back my own thoughts. Then the actor is surprised at what clever things he said, and the audience celebrates and becomes famous. Then they call you for the next interview and don't understand what happened. You have to be smart and not just drive for stardom.
When I'm behind the camera, my ego never dominates, I let people take part, but if necessary, I speak in and direct them. We became friends with a chef with three Michelin stars, but it's a very difficult case. He thinks - quite rightly - that he screwed up the gastro world. Then I broke him with a question and traveled the world with him.
In Korea, we stole a two-door refrigerator from the basement because there was nothing to cool the batteries for dessert. In Portugal, we were saddened together when it turned out that the locals see the pigeon as a rat with wings and the three-star catches came back one after the other. However, it would be difficult to experience this from an office.
What is your purpose in introducing these young faces ? Do you think they don't get enough attention ? Why not ?
Konyhafőni came during the pandemic. Since I'm a filmmaker, I thought it would be cool to make a series out of my preparation in the Netherlands. It was well received, so I started working on my channel as a hobby.
For example, I started the FOUR HANDS series, which I dedicate to young and/or lesser known chefs. They are terrible, they work their guts out for Hungarian gastronomy, yet they don't have a national media and most of the time they only hear negative opinions. On the other hand, there is room on YouTube to see if there will be a change and more appreciation.
What are you training yourself in, which is the area that you are very motivated to learn about right now ?
With FoodReporter, we launched our Netflix-like interface this year. Among other things, as a creative director, my job is to develop new series and oversee their production. We started filming Nieuwe Keuken, which is about new-wave cuisine, such as veganism, sustainability, fermentation. It's all very interesting, especially when you delve so deeply into it.
What similarities do you see in terms of Hungarian and foreign gastronomic trends ?
Joking aside again, I think fine dining is 10 years behind. In the Netherlands, casual dining is already the new trend, which also demands an excellent experience and the highest quality, but it is also a bit more relaxed and perhaps more affordable than fine dining. No tension, white gloves, etc.
At home, unfortunately, many people express their frustration regarding the topic: "we'll wash the dishes", "you can't live well with this" and "how much does it cost" with comments. Meanwhile, we are talking about 6-7-8, sometimes 22-course menus, which are aimed at a narrower segment, but development should not be hindered for its own sake. (By the way, there were also these comments in Konyhafőni: the girls have big hair, you can't cook in high heels, and I have a disgusting beard, wow wow).
What are your experiences of hosting environmentally conscious guests abroad ? _
Two positive benefits of Covid are that employers value their workforce more and pay more attention to their environment. If there is happiness in the kitchen, they pay more attention to the ingredients, tend to a vegetable garden or compost.
I filmed in a restaurant in Utrecht, where they created the entire production chain for themselves: the kitchen waste goes into compost or is eaten by the pigs, which then becomes the nutrient soil for the kitchen garden. I know that it takes time and money, but there is a problem when you lack the will.
What practical elements does everyday environmental awareness include in the Netherlands? What can we take over? What is the attitude of the people there? What inspirations can you give?
Hungarians don't know much about Dutch gastronomy; perhaps they know the meat croquette, and that there are many potatoes (250 varieties can be grown). In 1993(!), a three-star top restaurant started building its kitchen based only on local ingredients. Vegetables and game meat also come from the farms near the North Sea, on the outskirts of the city. Back then they were looked upon as the devil, and today De Librije is one of the most famous restaurants in the world. It's very inspiring that they stuck with it.
In Hungary, I chatted with the manager of a well-known country restaurant where salmon was on the menu. May I ask where is the local mangalica? (Crying) laughed a lot. There are no producers, and those that were were ruined.
De Nieuwe Winkel is my favorite, the chef started his vegetarian kitchen 10 years ago, his motto is "what nature gives". The chef thinks in terms of micro-seasons, if the zucchini blooms for two weeks, he will come up with a dish for that. At first, few people believed in him, this year he received his second Michelin star and the green star, which Michelin has been giving to sustainably operating restaurants since 2020. A few years ago, most Dutch chefs wanted to be noordic, i.e. northern, and now it is starting to be the same at home.
In Hungary, you must visit the Pajta restaurant in Őrség. What Richárd Farkas accomplishes is very inspiring. I was there when a neighbor rang the doorbell to ask if there was a pigeon. And I had to. However, this involves a lot of work: you have to be good with producers, hunters, and mushroom pickers.
So, seeing the good examples, I am very optimistic, the Hungarian gastronomy is very capable of development and I hope that I will not do my channel in vain either.