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OP: Sergio (3 vols)

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by Sergio Herman

Homarus Culinary Publishers, 2005. Three volumes, Very Good Plus.

In 2005 Dutch chef Sergio Herman (1970– ) self-published a three volume box set of books, which highlighted his efforts to push his family restaurant, Oud Sluis, to its creative limits. 

A volume titled “catalogue” includes Tony Le Duc’s close up, larger-than-life color photographs of the restaurant’s dishes, which correspond to recipes in a spiral bound booklet titled “manual.” The third volume, “portrait,” shows black and white scenes from the restaurant with some of Sergio Herman’s diaristic thoughts woven throughout.

Recipes fall into one of seven categories: snacks, fish, seafood, vegetarian, fruit, chocolate, and sweetmeats.

Among them:

  • Sousvide eel, served with brill and dressed with a cucumber “spaghetti” salad and makrut lime foam, accompanied by a rich potato mousseline
  • Fried kataifi-wrapped langoustines, served with a parcel constructed from thinly sliced pumpkin, stuffed with celeriac gel and toasted sourdough, finished with caviar
  • A translucent tuile filled with diced beets and onions, dolloped with sour cream and black truffle
  • An ethereal dessert called “mango coconut,” consisting of a Breton shortcrust, whipped lemongrass mascarpone, mango crisps, and drops of sweetened coconut milk rapidly frozen with liquid nitrogen to create tiny snowballs to finish

Herman shuttered the restaurant, one of only two in the country with three Michelin stars at the time, in 2013 after 25 years at the helm. Despite reaching what other chefs might consider a peak, Herman recognized that in order to continue growing creatively, he must expand outward, rather than upward, and has since opened several restaurants in Europe and Asia. That expansive vision is already evident here.

Our three volumes are all Very Good Plus, though the original box, a monochromatic white paper construction susceptible to soiling and bumping, had fallen into disrepair. We had a new one made in burgundy cloth.

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