Issue 30 | 5 Minutes With

5 minutes With
Dennis Van Den Brink of DNA Niseko

Chef and entrepreneur (and a legend in the Niseko food scene) Dennis van den Brink has opened a string of successful restaurants – Green Farm Cafe (moving to its exciting new location at Shiki Niseko), Ginger (2017), Niseko Gelato (2016), Wild Bill’s (2006), and soon-to-be-opened Temporada (in mid December 2018). Since coming from Fukushima to Niseko in 2006, Dennis’ mantra has been to keep his dishes simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. With his ‘Farm to Fork’ concept, Dennis uses high quality, fresh ingredients from Hokkaido to create delectable dishes for everyday dining. We managed to catch Dennis for a chat about his new food ventures, and yes – his new look.

 Photo by Jacinta Sonja

Photo by Jacinta Sonja

What are your plans for Green Farm and Temporada, Ginger, and Wild Bills this season?

The new Green Farm Cafe at Shiki will be our deli and coffee roastery; Ginger at AYA Niseko is our pan-Asian brassarie; Wild Bill’s revamped with a Latin inspired menu; Temporada (at Shiki) will offer modern Hokkaido tapas dining and wine bar. We worked with a 5-star hotel executive chef and food consultant, Jeff Hurst, to develop our menus. All menus will have vegetarian and vegan options. We will also be staying open all year round.

Tell us about your new tapas bar Temporada, what’s its story?

The word ‘seasons’ is ‘shiki’ in Japanese, and ‘temporada’ in Spanish. It was only natural to choose the Spanish equivalent of ‘shiki’ to match the cuisine. Temporada at Shiki will be our take on Spanish tapas using Hokkaido sourced ingredients.

The new Green Farm Cafe and coffee roastery will also be in Shiki. Tell us more about it.

We will be roasting our own beans for Black Powder Roasting company. We use beans from Africa and Indonesia. At Green Farm Cafe, we make a lot of coffee and I am a person who likes to be control of where my ingredients come from. But really, the decision to roast my own beans was out of pure curiosity!

And the question that everyone has been dying to ask – why did you cut your dreadlocks?

Haha – I had my dreads for 20 years, I felt it was time to let it go. *Green Farm was the winner of Best Of Niseko Awards(Coffee) in 2018.

Interview by Clara Tan

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