Annelies designs food: ‘I was disgusted with powdered mashed potatoes’

Photo Credit: Annelies Hermsen (Omroep Brabant)

“At our home we had to constantly taste everything. That is special – I only found that out when I went to live on my own in Eindhoven,” says Annelies Hermsen, daughter of star chef Toine Hermsen.

“I decided pretty quickly that I would never do anything in the catering industry. That profession is top sport and the limited environment made me nervous,” explains Annelies. “Tasting at home was fun. For example, I had to tell what I was eating without looking. I had to taste whether there was a difference between what the sous chef had made or what my father made.” In addition to this tasting, Annelies’ parents were very busy with the restaurant life. “Cooking, staff, coming up with a new menu, purchasing products, almost everything revolved around the restaurant.”

Doing something different

Annelies did indeed do something completely different. She attended the Design Academy in Eindhoven. “I was not a standout. I was not really very good at something particular. I was very surprised by the talents that emerged so successfully from the course. I was not sure where my talent was. Then a teacher concluded that I always talked about food. ‘It’s your passion, you have to do something with it’ he said.”

The seed for her future was planted and the growth went without saying. “That was an exciting time, because I was going to do something that hardly anyone did at the time: interfering with food as a designer. Nowadays you often see the profession of food designer, but back then I was a pioneer.”

And so the love for food from her father came back in a completely new jacket with his daughter. “My father helped me with my graduation project,” explains Annelies. “I wanted to show that food is more than just sliding a plate in. Food influences our emotion, it has both mental and physical effects on us.”

Mythical stories

Annelies was tipped that ‘sex sells’. That is how she came up with dishes with a story and an aphrodisiac effect. “Frog legs because Napoleon thought this would make his soldiers more courageous. Peas because Romans were convinced that they would improve the performance of their stallions,” says Annelies. “I made small dishes from all the ingredients with their mythical and sexy stories. The dish was placed on self-made wafer-thin porcelain plates so you can feel the warmth of the food. We served it for three weeks in my pop-up restaurant near the Design Academy and it was a complete experience and a great success.”

The chosen path has never been left. Annelies now calls herself a food designer and is active on all fronts. She works as a self-employed person for various companies in the food industry and catering. It is not surprising that Annelies comes around the corner. Her food design is not only for parties and parties, but also for very different projects, such as patients in a hospital.

“I am very proud of ‘Food for care’, which I developed for the cancer patients at the UMC Radboud hospital in Nijmegen. They are seven attractive snacks that are rich in protein and calories every day. This is important for people with a reduced appetite, to better maintain their condition and weight. A favourable side effect was also the nausea due to the chemotherapy decreased. ”

Designers in Eindhoven

Annelies still lives in Eindhoven. With her design studio she works next to the well-known designer from Eindhoven, Piet Hein Eek. Both are among the top 50 in the region according to city magazine ‘Frits’. “Not surprising for a design student who felt she was not a talent,” she laughs.

Now that she thinks back to her student house, images of the time surface again. “I was so amazed at all the packages and sachets. That you could make mashed potatoes by mixing powder with water was really disgusting. That’s not food! I got really sick in the first week in rooms from the ones in my eyes crazy bags. Soon I got the name of a culinary spoiled brat, but I was actually quite proud of that.

Source: Omroep Brabant

Translator: Dirk

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