For the Love of Food

For the Love of Food

International chef Jens Jakob brings signature dishes from his two Michelin star-restaurant Le Noir to the city

Jens Jakob’s love for food began as a young boy. One could even say it was in his blood,passed down from his grandmother who was a chef in her day. He began to learn about food while watching her,and went on to have his first cooking experience with her. Not long after,this budding passion for cooking was sealed as his career. “My first girlfriend owned a restaurant,where I tried my hand at cooking,and I enjoyed every bit of it,” he says in an e-mail interview. It took years of training under different chefs,but Jakob eventually began his own restaurant,Le Noir in Saarbrücken,Germany,which was awarded its second Michelin star earlier this year.

In his maiden visit to India,chef Jakob brings all his passion for food,and his signature dishes from Le Noir to a food festival at the Hilton Shillim Retreat Estate and Spa. Chef Jakob’s food is modern French cuisine with influences from a global palate,such as his signature Glazed catfish fillet with physalis salad and bok choy. While the fish is cooked using French soufflé technique in low temperatures,the global touch comes from the physalis,a mildly acidic fruit native to the Americas,and bok choy,a leafy Chinese cabbage typically used in Asian cuisine.

During his visit,he plans to whip up both vegetarian and non-vegetarian gourmet fare from France.“We will prepare some classic French dishes using global Asian products grown organically at the retreat itself,” says Jakob.

While the chef hopes to pick up some new ideas from Indian cuisine,his tastes have been influenced greatly by past travel and interacting with other chefs. “I believe that travelling is a great teacher. Different cultures and people have a great influence in the way you grow in your art. Connecting with fellow chefs around the globe also makes you more sensitive to different palettes,” he says.


Today,he hopes to spread some of his knowledge teaching ingredient selection,presentation skills and techniques to hobby cooks in the weekends. But amateur chefs are often unaware how much there is to learn,and are in a hurry to develop their skill,he feels. “It’s interesting to see how good hobby chefs believe they can cook until they join the class,” adds Jakob.

“It takes years to find yourself before one can create and come up with a dish that can be called one’s own. Creativity comes with time,” says Jakob,adding that each chef he has worked with has left a mark. Ultimately,it’s the little details that counts when it comes to food. “What is more important is that we pay heed to every small detail. Quality and creativity are two important aspects of cooking style,” he says,and adds that the two factors are probably what brought his restaurant its two Michelin stars.