Talking 2 Monique van Loon: Ms Culy.nl

MoniquevanLoonCuly
Picture taken by Joris Bruring (c)

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Monique van Loon aka Ms Culy.nl. I first met Monique at a workshop I did in December. Very down to earth, bubbly personality if you ask me. Being me, I asked her if she would be open to me interviewing her for my blog. Without a blink she said yes and that got me super excited. So we planned a date and I got to interview Monique at her office,which is  part of the larger publisher Wayne Parker Kent <<YEAH>>

We started with Monique telling me how it all began and 45 minutes later, I didn’t ask her any of my other questions. What a story. In a nutshell; at age 11 she first got connected online, then CU2palace.tk was a first. Minettes followed, Girlscene was next and the past 3 years her biggest adventure Culy.nl. Pretty awesome online path if you ask me.

Age 25

Profession Executive Editor / Owner at Culy.nl

Website http://culy.nl

Why so passionate about food?
Being a Brabander aka “a Brabo”, growing up in a small town I have learned how to enjoy good food. Where ingredients come from and how life gets better when having great culinary treats. I think the answer lies more in what is she not passionate about regarding food. If Monique could breathe food, I think she would. Talking to her, she oozes passion for big, but also small things regarding food. 

Where do you get your inspiration from to cook?
Yvette van Boven’s “Home made”; for sure one of my favorite cookbooks. I love the fact that she did the illustrating herself and her husband the photography. Ideal situation. Cooking at home can be immediately documented. She was one of the first ones to document “real home cooking”. It doesn’t have to be all glitter and glamour, lets just keep it real.

What is the most memorable / special moment in the kitchen? Good or bad.
When I was about 15 years old, I wanted to bake a chocolate cake and I created all these layers, cookies, parfait, ganache. You name it and that layer was in there. That cake was amazing. Unfortunately, I was never able to recreate it. I have a love/hate relationship with baking. One time you get the perfect brownies and the next day you fail. The best Oreo cheese cake I ever made, was a cake I actually forgot to take out of the oven. Slowly the oven cooled off and the cake was perfect! Leave it to set for 2 days in the fridge. Then you get the perfect cheese cake. Believe me, its worth the wait.

What 3 ingredients we would always find in her kitchen and why?
Mayonnaise, mayonnaise and mayonnaise. I have over more than 7 jars of mayonnaise in my refrigerator. I did not just put a whole chapter in my cookbook about it, I love it. Avocados is another favorite. I eat that, I think at least once a day. Last but not least: Butter, real butter. Never margarine. I only do real butter.

What other interests do you have we don’t know?
Traveling. By now I love to travel to other cities and eat nice food there. For work and for pleasure. I try to balance my work life a little better, so traveling every month will probably be a no go for this year. But my next trip, this time Copenhagen has been booked.

Do you have a favorite cuisine?
Classical French food and Italian.

What is your hotspot at the moment?
As I go out to eat 3-5 times a week, combining business and pleasure, I also have lunch meetings outside. Rijsel, is a favorite place to go. I want to eat there every last Sunday of the month, but they are always fully booked. Why? The owner who shakes your hand to welcome you, the exquisite knowledge of the sommelier and the exceptional good food. I always eat the cote de boeuf. Always. Another favorite is de Koevoet, don’t expect a lot of luxury, but very good Italian food. Cafe Restaurant Amsterdam for their steak tartare. Conservatorium Brasserie, expensive, but very good. I also like to go to SLA for a quick lunch.

If you could take a plane tomorrow to go and eat somewhere, where (city) would it be and why?
Paris, I am  in love with Paris. It is my dream to one day live there. I am a different person there. Actually I am convinced I will live there one day. No doubt in my mind, it’s only a matter of time. Thats why I go there about 4 times a year, at least. I love the area Le Marais, Rue de Rivoli around the Palais Royal area.

Do you have a bucket list for things you would like to eat/ places you want to eat?
Eat at the Fat Duck,  I could marry Heston Blumenthal. Travel to a lot of destinations. If I would have time, I woul do a patissier course at the Cordon Bleu.

What does the future of Culy.nl look like? Are there still things you would like to do with Culy (more/different)?
We are constantly trying to improve the website and thinking how we can become some sort of a steady factor when it comes down to culinary inspiration. Think Appie and Allerhande for Albert Heijn. And of course to grow their user base, because you are never done reaching people. Another important thing is producing more articles in house and with the new office location, there will be the possibility to experiment more. To Monique, making Culy a household name would be a dream.

Can you tell me a little bit more about your cookbook? How did this journey start?
The publisher approached me to create this cookbook together. Staying close to who I am, was the most important thing to me. It really had to be me. That’s why its not a cookbook with a lot of recipes, because I am not  a chef, but I wanted to give you insights in how I “live food”, where I eat and how I enjoy food: Good Food.

What is your favorite recipe from the book? And from culy.nl?
Hmmm..I can’t choose, but if I have to answer, its definitely the Divine Cherry cake “Goddelijke kersentaart” that any one can make. Oh no wait..the Funky bean sprout salad with mango and caramelized cashew nuts! From Culy.nl, my favorite is an “Easy chocolate dessert” called “Chocolate Pot de Creme”.

Will you ever be making a second cookbook? What kind of cookbook would it be?
Never say never, but currently there is not a cookbook on the agenda or in the planning. But if I do fantasize about it, it would be more a cookbook, around a certain theme rather than an all round culy lifestyle book part two.

Are there any tips (do’s and don’ts) you would like to share with starting food bloggers?
Do: Don’t think about it, just do it. Start now, but find your niche. Don’t start because you think this is a trend, just to get free stuff. That won’t work. If you look at a blog, I want immediately to get the niche, know what angle is being used to document and give your own twist to things.

Recipe for Funky bean sprout salad – Serves 4

funky bean sprouts mango
Picture taken by Denise Kortlever (c)

Ingredients
250 gr bean sprouts
150 gr of cashew nuts
2 TBsp of honey
100 gr of Pomegranate
2 mango’s, peeled and cut into small cubes
salt & pepper

Method
In a bowl, mix the bean sprouts, pomegranate and the mango.
In a pan, fry your cashew nuts with the honey until crispy and golden brown. You need to stay on top of this as it could burn fast. You need to find the ideal moment between soft honey and tooth braking caramel. Keep practicing.
Last step is to add the caramelized cashew to the bowl with mango and toss it up.
Season with some salt and pepper.

Your ready to serve!

You can buy Monique’s Cookbook in various places, but online, Bol.com ships it for free.

If you liked this post, be sure to check out my other interviews.
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