Many restaurants cook according to the season and use as many local products as possible. But restaurant Bochica in Reusel goes one step further and uses ingredients from its own vegetable garden!
For two years now, Chef Lucas and Sous Chef Bart have both had a piece of land near the allotment gardens in Reusel, a stone's throw away from the restaurant.
It takes a true love for the ingredients of your craft to make time to keep up with a vegetable garden in addition to running two successful restaurants (Bochica also houses restaurant Easy by Lucas). This love is exactly the reason why the two colleagues started the vegetable garden. They both had little knowledge of growing fruit and vegetables, but a great love for beautiful and tasteful products. The chefs work completely organically, they don't use any pesticides. Produce that doesn’t quite look the part is used for soups and sauces and such like.
Lucas: “We have a lot of interns and I also think it's important that they see where fruit and vegetables come from and how they grow.”
The two chefs have learned a lot by doing. They also receive regular advice from the, mostly older, gentlemen who also maintain a vegetable garden at the allotment gardens of Reusel. Last year they had huge courgettes and this year Lucas started a project to grow his own tomatoes.
In addition to vegetables, they also grow fruit, such as strawberries and berries, and have various herbs, such as lemon balm, verbena, rosemary and Indian cress.
The chefs are also very enthusiastic about edible flowers, because it allows them to make every dish a little more beautiful.
Almost every morning the two friends go to their garden to keep track of everything and to pick what they need for that evening's dinner.
Restaurant Bochica doesn’t have a menu. Guests choose whether they want 5, 6 or 7 courses. Of course vegetarian guests are also catered to. The dishes are all about the same size; there is no real main course.
Lucas chose this way of working because it meant he and his team could be more creative. Every week they change one of the dishes, so the creativity is certainly never lacking.
In addition to ingredients from their own garden, they work with trusted suppliers. Many of them are also local. They get their lamb from Drunen and the cheeses from Moergestel, for example, two nearby villages.
Restaurant Bochica is affiliated with Noord-Brabant Culinair. Restaurants that are part of this partnership focus on the gastronomic heritage of Brabant. Many of Noord-Brabant Culinair’s restaurants serve locally sourced food and Bochica is a great example of this.
Next time you go out to dinner in Brabant, I advise you to look at the website of Noord-Brabant Culinair for the affiliated restaurants. Then you can be sure you’ll be eating some delicious food!
Anne Travel Foodie
Anne de Graaf is a travel and food blogger at annetravelfoodie.com. On her website and social-media channels she loves to show her readers all the beautiful and delicious food, drinks and more that Brabant has to offer.