Erik van Loo

Top chef from a butcher’s family where “real meat” always played a starring role.

Erik van Loo is from a real butcher’s family, but he “was never into killing animals”. He was much more interested in what his father prepared in the kitchen and as a young boy he had already decided: he would be a chef. His father’s potato cream soup is still on the menu at Restaurant Parkheuvel in Rotterdam, where Van Loo took over from 3-star chef Cees Helder in 2006.

For Van Loo it is all about knowledge, quality, creativity and emotion. But primarily it is about “real food”. He has a lot of respect for the butcher’s profession and in his restaurant on the banks of the river Maas in Rotterdam, meat plays the starring role: organic goose liver, tartare of kobe wagyu beef, Bresse chicken and Scottish grey partridge are the main ingredients. Do the endless possibilities of in vitro meat fire his creativity – or does he see it as fake, and an insult to the profession his family devoted their lives to?

Erik van Loo is using the in vitro chicken in one of his signature dishes