Episode 3: GOLD&GREEN PARTNER – Uit de Keuken van Maass
In this third episode, we interview one of the partners of Gold&Green: Louise du Toit from meal producing company Uit de Keuken van Maass (short: UDKVM, Dutch for ‘from the kitchen of Maass’. Maass is the name of one of the founders of the company). UDKVM develops and prepares readymade meals for both retail and foodservice. All meals are made of seasonal, pure ingredients. Louise du Toit is in charge of the development of all their meals. We meet Louise via video call and ask her about the company’s cooperation with Gold&Green. At UDKVM they believe in pure, local, seasonal ingredients. They only go for high-quality products and don’t settle for less. “We do what we believe in.”
“We don’t make compromises.”
Can you tell us about Uit de Keuken van Maass and what your job looks like?
“UDKVM is a small production kitchen. It started 18 years ago with organic catering. By now, we make ready made meals for both retail and foodservice.” Their way of working is quite unique: “I find it difficult to do commissioned work. Instead, I develop recipes that I know will work and people will like, and offer these to our clients. After all these years I’ve developed an instinct for what people like to eat.”
Where did you learn to cook and develop recipes?
“I’ve had an interest in cooking since I was very young. I could look at a recipe and I would know how to make it and how it’d taste. But my mom would never let me cook, so when I was 22 and moved to Amsterdam, I’d rarely been in a kitchen. I went to a restaurant in Amsterdam and told them I was a chef. And they hired me! One of the chefs in the kitchen found out soon enough that I didn’t have any experience. She had a soft spot for me, so decided to teach me everything. I got very lucky, I’ve learnt a lot from her.”
All the meals of Uit de Keuken van Maass are vegetarian or vegan. What is the reason for this?
“We have always worked with high-quality ingredients. We use pure ingredients and make everything ourselves, from chutneys to spice mixes. Most of our ingredients are organic. At first, we included organic meats, but this made our meals quite expensive. This, together with our wish to reduce our carbon footprint, made us decide to go vegetarian 1,5 years ago. We get a lot of positive customer feedback concerning our tasty veggie and vegan options, so we’re very happy with our choice.”
And that is when Pulled Oats comes in!
“Yes! I first saw the product at the food industry fair Horecava in 2019. Before that day, I had never found a meat replacement that I would consider using in our products. Pulled Oats was the first that I was enthusiastic about. It doesn’t have soy and it’s very neutral so you can use it in many ways. It has a good bite due to the oats and legumes combination.”
By now, Uit de Keuken van Maass has three meals with Pulled Oats. Why did you choose these particular meals and are there ideas for new recipes?
“When we made the switch to vegetarian meals, we tried using Pulled Oats as meat replacement in all of the meals we already had. In some it simply didn’t work, but in 3 meals it worked very well. We now make our rendang, curry mango salad, and curry mango wrap with Pulled Oats. We’ll soon start working with Deli OatBites! We also want to expand our frozen meals, so maybe there are some opportunities there.”
How does your company match with Gold&Green?
“We do what we believe in. We don’t make compromises. We could have been bigger by now if we let that go, but our values are more important for us. I think Gold&Green fits very well within these values. Our success shows that there is a shift taking place in the land of retail. It shows that quality on the shelves is sometimes more important than price.”
Do you have any hopes or predictions for the future?
“I think foodservice and retail will look quite different in a few years. The current situation [the outbreak of Covid-19, ed.] has showed us that things need to change. It has heightened the demand for more local food that fit our surroundings and the seasons. The products from both UDKVM and Gold&Green fit perfectly in that mission!”
GOLD&GREEN PARTNER UDKVM
Louise du Toit
• Has been passionate about cooking since very early age
• Grew up with a variety of pure tastes due to her roots in South-Africa
• Her favourite cook is Nigel Slater, because you can make his recipes to your own taste
5 DILEMMAS, 1 TEAM. WHAT DOES SHE CHOOSE?
Pulled Oats Nude or Pulled Oats Tomato?
Louise: “Nude! Because it’s very easy to work with’’.
Vegan or flexitarian?
Louise eats vegan about 4 days a week, the rest of the week either meat or vegetarian. “I once ate vegan for a long time when I was travelling with my vegan friend. That’s when I found out that being 100% vegan is not for me. Now, I feel very good with the combination of vegan and non-vegan.”
Sun or snow?
Louise has South-African roots, so she definitely chooses sun. “I’m always cold!”
Gold or green?
“Gold, it’s simply a great colour.”
Healthy or tasty?
“The starting point is tasty, but healthy can definitely be tasty, and the other way around!”