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Niels van den Berg, Rungis: Christmas demand high

Hospitality sector on the rise

The hospitality sector is clearly on the rise again, "This is evident from sector figures, and from the atmosphere in general. We can make things more fun and luxurious for the guest," says Niels van den Berg, SVH Master Chef and the man responsible for Communication and Trends at Rungis. 

"It is also nice that vegetables are getting a major role in dishes. Guests no longer think it is strange if they receive a vegetarian appetizer or main dish, and they will more likely ask for it then reject it."

Rungis is very busy right now, "Restaurants are planning all the way through Christmas. The advantage is that the chefs can easily plan now. The menus have been created and they know what they are doing," says Niels. "The challenge now is to surprise the guests. People go to a restaurant to see something special or try something different. There needs to be some kind of a twist, because if not, they could have just stayed home."

This variation can be seen in the assortment of potatoes, "Last year we launched the Perupas. Now we are seeing that this potato is becoming more popular in the kitchen. Of course you can order a bintje potato, but you have so much more to offer with a truffle potato, purple-white potato or a red potato; potatoes that are often not available in the supermarket," says Niels. 

"Organic is also popular in many restaurants, and some even use this as a 'unique selling point'. But the taste remains the most important, and organic products usually also have a great taste."

"You see chefs make a difference with colored or Chantenay carrots. We are also in truffle season and truffles are being more valued again, and the price is not the only incentive. Truffels may look the same at first glance, but they do not smell or taste the same. The origin of the truffle plays a big role in their differences," continues Niels. 

Guest lessons

Recently, Niels has done a lot to involve the young generation of cooks through providing educational tools for the SVH study and through giving guest lectures at schools.

Rungis is also busy with the citrus season, "We are getting citrus from Australia, Israel and the French Pyrenees, including the Bergamot. The advantage with this citrus is that it is not waxed, which means the rind is easy to remove. There can be spots on the rind but the aroma of the citrus is so great that customers still enjoy it. It is fantastic if guests can choose a certain citrus with each dish, just as with wine!"

For more information:
Niels van den Berg
Handelscentrum ZHZ 48
2991 LD Barendrecht
Tel: 0180-617899

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