Kath Witbreuk

After spending many years of her career cooking for the Dutch Ambassador (to the UN in New York and Beijing) and the Dutch Royal family in Holland, Kath is now the personal chef to the Australian Ambassador in Paris. I turned up to the address she gave me without realising it’s actually the Australian Embassy building! She lives in the apartment attached to the residence of the ambassador – complete with the stunning view of the Eiffel Tower. Kath was preparing the Ambassador’s lunch when I entered the kitchen, a simple yet elegant open sandwich of grilled chicken breast topped with sautéed wild garlic (Ail des Ours).

We had a great afternoon together talking about fermentation and ways of cooking sustainably. Kath showed me her library (fridges) of all the pickles she has made, every other parts of vegetables/flowers/herbs that she had dried or grounded to use in her cooking.

“I think fermented food adds a whole new flavour to the dishes and you get that umami taste and a really interesting twist on what our palettes are not used to or expect. I am still very much in the state of teaching myself so it’s still an ongoing learning curve but it constantly surprises me how something that you expected to taste a certain way changes after that fermentation and that’s what I like about it. It is also a great way to use every part of the produce I get and not waste anything. To me sustainability is very important and if I can use something and not waste it then I always will because thats what I’d like to do. We only have one world and whatever I can do in my little world to make sure that we look after it then that’s what I will do.”

Below you’ll find images of Kath’s pickled creations on her handmade ceramic creations and a couple of her delicious pickle recipes.

Who Kath Witbreuk
Home is Paris
Family origin Dutch Australian
I can’t live without Food
Occupation Chef
Dream Job Chef
Currently I’m obsessed with Fermentation
Childhood taste Bitterballen (Dutch Meatballs)
I will always have in my pantry Cheese
I learnt to cook from Annie Ripper and George Haddad
Currently I’m listening to bad ABC radio
One day I must visit Lebanon
Go to meal Anything with 'Asian' flavour
I am really good at Bread
The unforgettable meal For Paris - Septime or Le Bistrol. For OZ - Tetsuya's. For USA - French Laundry.
Guilty pleasure Gin & Tonic, Bread & butter
Who does the dishes Me!

Tomato and Cherry Sambal

Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves 10

  • Paste
  • 40g peeled garlic
  • 20g ginger
  • 2 lemongrass stems, whites only and bruised
  • 10g red chillis, seeded
  • 5 dried chillis, soaked in hot water
  • 120g shallots
  • 30g dried shrimps, soaked in hot water
  • 150g rice bran oil
  • Sauce ingredients
  • 400g fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 400g pitted and sliced cherries
  • 600g tomato and cherry puree
  1. Place all ingredients for the paste except 100g of oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy based pan and add the paste. Cook until the oil separates from the paste and the colour becomes a darker red. At this point, add the fresh tomatoes and cherries.
  3. Cook until the tomatoes have collapsed, about 20 minutes.
  4. Now add the puree and cook out the sambal until dry. This can take up to 90 minutes depending on the water.
  5. Check for seasoning and add paste in sterilized jars.

Wild Garlic (Ail des Ours) Pickle

Prep time: | Cook time: | Serves 10

  • 500g of wild garlic ( in France – Ail des Ours), carefully washed, ends trimmed
  • 350 ml rice vinegar
  • 350ml water
  • 350g sugar
  • 50g salt
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 6 voitsberg (pink) peppercorns
  1. Carefully pack the wild garlic into a sterilized jar with a screw-top lid.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, whisking until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  3. Pour hot brine over wild garlic (it should fill the jar completely, if you have excess, discard).
  4. Screw on lid and allow to cool at room temperature.
  5. Transfer to refrigerator and allow to rest for at least 3 weeks and up to a year before consuming.
Posted: Jun 11 2019
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