The Dutch Eatery & Refuge executive chef Marcus van Winden recognized his passion for food at in early age.
After finishing his standard culinary training, Marcus studied under European master chefs and learned to develop his own unique style and flair. He continued with his career as the pastry chef of the two Michelin Star restaurant, InterScaldes. Next, he worked cruise lines as the fine dining chef de cuisine.
Once Winden finished at sea, he eventually made his way to Tucson and where he worked at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Le Rendez-vous and Lodge on the Desert. He spent some time working with his wife Nicole in Texas before moving back to Tucson and opening The Dutch Eatery & Refuge at Main Gate Square.
1) What was the first dish you had that changed your perspective on food?
When I was 17, I was working in a restaurant called Paraplu Parasol and we made lamb pastrami in-house. The whole process and then the end result was beautiful to see and taste.
2) What are you eating these days?
I often make myself an Eggs Benedict in the morning and I am always happy to eat Patatjes Oorlog. During dinner I am sampling new dishes, working on the special for that evening, etcetera. I don’t really eat dinner, I just taste a lot of different things.
3) What was the first dish you remember cooking?
I remember helping my mom cook for the family. In the Netherlands, a standard dinner is potatoes, a seasonal vegetable, and a Dutch meatball.
4) What concept, ingredient, or food trend are you experimenting with these days?
I stick mostly to the classics; but I love slow braising meats. We have slow-braised duck on the menu right now.
5) Who would you most like to cook or eat dinner with?
It may sound cheesy but I would choose cooking with my daughters, who are three and five, and eating dinner with my wife. We are so busy starting a new restaurant, family time is precious.
6) What city, other than Tucson, is your favorite place to eat?
Seattle. I love fish and I have had some great experiences up there. Everything is so fresh.
7) Speaking in junk food terms, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
My kids call me a cookie monster. I try not to keep them in the house because I will eat them all. They sell stroopwafels and speculaas cookies at Trader Joe’s. Those are traditional Dutch coffee cookies. I love them.
8) Which three Tucson restaurants do you frequent the most, aside from your own?
9) With a figurative electric chair in your immediate future, what is your last meal?
Classic risotto, braised pork cheeks, grilled peach, and asparagus. I actually just made this for a dinner special at the restaurant because I was craving it. I go through phases, but I always love risotto.