Top chef at Carcasse*, the fourth-best steak restaurant in the world in collaboration with Dierendonck.

MOCKTAIL MEETS | 29.06.2023

Hey Timon! Bedankt dat je tijd hebt vrijgemaakt voor ons! Bij ons ben je al een bekend gezicht als dé chef van Carcasse, met een Michelin-ster op je naam. Maar voor degenen die je nog niet kennen, zou je jezelf en Carcasse even willen voorstellen? 

Absolutely! I'm Timon, the chef at Carcasse for the past 3 years. Together with Hendrik from Slagerij Dierendonck, a renowned family business, we run Carcasse in Koksijde. At Carcasse, we bring the delicious meat from Dierendonck directly to our guests' tables.

We've noticed a growing trend where more and more people are opting for alcohol-free alternatives. Is this something you've also noticed in your restaurant? 

Definitely, especially among the younger generation, it's a rising trend that I strongly feel. This year, I'm also part of Jong Keukengeweld, where we organize a special event for young people in March and October. The concept is simple: chefs under 30 cook for people under 30. And there, I really see a clear demand for alcohol-free alternatives. The older generation who visit Carcasse are often more traditional. They tend to order an aperitif and a bottle of wine more quickly. But with the younger generation, there's a noticeable shift. They still occasionally have a glass of alcohol, but they also order mocktails just as quickly, if not more frequently. 

During one of the Jong Keukengeweld events, for example, we tested the sales ratio between classic aperitifs and alcohol-free alternatives, and we saw an equal split of 50/50.

You can really tell that people are consciously consuming alcohol and seeking a healthier alternative.

Has this trend also influenced your menu? Have you looked for a wider range of alcohol-free alternatives?

Yes! A few months ago, we started offering food pairing in combination with mocktails from The Mocktail Club. Previously, we only offered wine pairing, but now guests also have the option to choose mocktail pairing. We understand that people who don't drink alcohol still want to have a full experience. Not drinking alcohol shouldn't mean having to drink water or soda throughout the entire evening.

According to you, as a chef, what are the key aspects of an alcohol-free alternative?

For me, taste is of great importance, as well as the flavor combinations that are created. I wouldn't simply put a regular apple juice on my menu. It's essential for me that it complements my dishes well.

If we could collaborate with Belgian companies that focus on exciting flavor combinations and natural ingredients, I'd be more than happy to work with them!

What was the decisive factor for you to collaborate with The Mocktail Club?

The extensive range of The Mocktail Club was a huge advantage for me. They offer a wide variety of options, so I can serve a wonderfully refreshing mocktail as an aperitif, and for the main course, I can choose a spicier mocktail, like the one with beetroot.

I wouldn't simply put a regular apple juice on my menu.

Has this trend had an impact on your personal life? Have you started thinking more consciously about alcohol?

I've consciously reduced my alcohol consumption. It's been a few months now since I hardly drink any alcohol. Even when I go out for a meal, I pay attention to it. I used to automatically order an aperitif and a glass of wine. But now I take the time to look for restaurants that also offer a tasty alcohol-free alternative. It's important for me to have more choices than just soft drinks because that's not why you go to a restaurant. And if there's an interesting pairing available, then I think it's even better! It makes me more likely to come back.

If you had to pair your steak, which is ranked as the 4th best in the world, with one of our mocktails, which one would it be? 

I already pair it with one of your mocktails! I serve it with N°3 Beetroot & Ginger. It's a perfect match for the meat and has a nice spiciness to it! It's truly a fantastic combination. 

I've consciously reduced my alcohol consumption.

What is your personal favorite? 

I'm really a fan of the new mocktail, N°9 Summer Berry & Chamomile! But the N°7 Lemongrass & Chili is also fantastic, especially as an aperitif.

You've mentioned it partially, but you agree that The Mocktail Club is ideal for food pairing, right?

Absolutely! I've already tasted all your flavors, and I'm definitely of the opinion that your mocktails can be perfectly enjoyed with each course of the menu.

The wide range of flavors you offer allows me to be creative. Currently, I offer 5 to 6 flavors at Carcasse, and they are used from the aperitif to the dessert. We always give our guests suggestions on which mocktail best complements their choice, so they know they can choose something other than just soft drinks or water.

We've noticed that when couples dine with us, if one of them chooses the menu with paired wines, the other often decides not to drink alcohol and instead goes for the menu with paired mocktails. That way, they can both enjoy the entire experience and safely head home afterward. We truly see that the alcohol-free food pairing menu is immensely popular.

The Mocktail Club demonstrates that mocktails can also be enjoyable during other times of the day, such as a barbecue. How would you describe your ideal barbecue?

For me, a perfect barbecue starts with good preparation. It's a shame when you go to a barbecue and the host or hostess is nowhere to be found. Additionally, it's great that TMC is so easy: open the bottle, serve it on ice, and done! That's exactly what I'm looking for with barbecue dishes. I'm a big fan of sharing dishes. Everything on the table, in the middle, and enjoying it together. It doesn't have to be overly gourmet! But of course, Dierendonck's meat is an absolute must (laughs).