Guest Report - Pat van den Wall Bake-Thompson

We are pleased to bring you our first guest report. And we could't think of anyone more appropriate to start with than Amsterdam cooking school doyenne, Pat van den Wall Bake-Thompson. It was while working at her cooking school that we first met one another. Thank you, Pat.

About Pat
Pat started La Cuisine Française, a cooking school, catering company and private restaurant on the Herengracht in Amsterdam in 1980 and ran it for 32 years.

Educated and trained in England as a Home Economist, Pat’s first work was for Birds Eye frozen foods, followed by two and half years for the Dutch Dairy Bureau, traveling around exhibitions, schools and women’s institutes in England demonstrating and teaching about Dutch cheese and butter. She then spent two years as teacher at the famous Cordon Bleu cookery school in England.

Pat has worked as a food consultant giving demonstrations for food equipment such as the food processor and the microwave in the 1980’s. She has also worked for the main food companies in Holland arranging promotions for new products, developing products for the major food manufacturers and partaking in congresses and workshops world wide, writing recipes for magazines and having 5 of her own books published.

Author of 5 books
- De Franse keuken, een open boek
- Kookboek voor Golfers
- Kookboek voor de Magimix
- Kookboek voor de Magimix deel 2
- Koken voor de Combi-Magnetron

Pat retired from cooking in 2012, but continues to keep herself active. When she's not travelling, she's sharing her recipes, anecdotes and everyday experiences on her blog Pat's Pantry.

Pat's Choices
I have the luxury of having a garden house for my friends and family to stay in.

For business people, wedding couples who have had their dinner parties or wedding ceremony at La Cuisine Francaise and for visiting culinary authors and specialists, I always suggest the Ambassade Hotel, just across the street from my canal house, Herengracht 314.

Patricia Wells, Alan Davidson and many more well know authors have stayed there. The hotel has a small collection of their books in the library. Many years ago, the hotel made it a tradition to ask the authors to sign a copy of his or her book and place it in the collection. Worth a visit!

These are my favourites :

Bordewijk - on the Noordermarkt is No 1! True French cuisine in the hands of a Master Chef.

Restaurant As. -  I could eat there every week. Not suprising, as the chef, Luuk Langedijk is an ex La Cuisine Francaise stagaire. I love the pure style of cuisine with superb organic products.

Halvermaan - John and Ester are wonderful people, the setting on the lake is beautiful, especially in the summer. Johns’ cuisine is still inventive and delicious,”characterized by self willed creativity and quality” his own words. It results in fantastic marriages of techniques and flavours.

Foyer - a pop up restaurant in Felix Meritus is my new favourite where 3 courses you only pay €29,50.

Wilde Zwijnen - good, easy and honest food.

Gebroeders Hartering - a firm favourite of mine. Young chefs producing pure food and a 4 to 7 course menu which changes daily.

Envy - I always return here, especially when invited out! 'Dat kan jij mij wakker voor maken'. Translated into English it means you can shake me awake to eat there. Richard Oostenbrugge, now chef at Hotel L’Europe, was chef when I first went there. It is still of a very high standard with a choice of small delicious dishes and wine by the glass. This is the way I like to eat these days.

Incanto - For Italian, which is one of my favourite cuisines. A formal and fine dining restaurant a stones away throw from home.

I am lucky to have a friend who always used to take me to a new restaurant before I had heard of it. For instance, Fyra. When they first opened, we where the only guests, now it is one of Amsterdamse busiest restaurants.

Everywhere from Genko, to my local Marqt. I begin at the Noordermarket on a Saturday, then go on to browse the culinary Haarlemerdijk, stopping along the way to chat to all my friends and of course tasting what's on offer. Popping into Ibericus for a delicious Iberico ham sandwich is a must!

Fish from Schilder on the Albert Cuypstraat, one of my old suppliers.

I have been spoilt by fantastic suppliers to La Cuisine Francaise for 32 years, so now my foraging quest for my own personal suppliers continues.