Kevin Corcoran & Dimitri Mathijs | Nieuwe Mosterd
Sometimes you taste something and it's really as good as people say it is. That's the case with the
by food enthusiasts Kevin Corcoran and Dimitri Mathijs. After discovering a recipe for mustard in a cookbook and trying it out for himself, Kevin was hooked. With the help of
childhood friend Dimitri, the duo now whips up jars and jars of mustard using just a few wholesome ingredients, according to six perfected recipes; the flavors
range from Apple Cider to Red Wine to Lager and Mint. There's no secret to it, it's just real mustard. "Mustard for your soul." We met Kevin and Dimitri one morning
as they prepared a delivery in the comfort of their own kitchen.
Can you tell us a little about yourselves?
Kevin: We’re both from Limburg (well, my family is originally from Scotland). We’ve known each other for a long time: we played soccer together when we were younger. I moved to Rotterdam for university, and focused my studies on advertising. I started working at a branding agency after university and now I work at Natwerk.
D: I graduated from the Hotel Management School in Maastricht and did a Pre-master business administration (BA) at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. During my time in Rotterdam I found out that a master's degree wasn’t going to make me happy. So, I moved to Amsterdam without a job or a plan. I ended up working at restaurant Fier and was promoted to manager after a few months. We recently opened our new concept, Rotisserie Amsterdam. I’ve been living in Amsterdam for a year now and it’s been great.
Have you always had a passion for food?
D: Food has an important place in our families. I remember my parents inviting people over all the time instead of going out for dinner. They were great hosts, and great cooks, and I really enjoyed it. When Kevin and I lived in Rotterdam, we would go to the market on Saturday and buy whatever we wanted to cook up great feasts. I guess you could say I’ve always loved food.
What inspired the Nieuwe Mosterd?
K: I found a recipe for mustard in a cookbook and couldn’t believe it looked so easy. I had all the ingredients at home and just decided to make it. After filling the first jar and leaving it for a few days, I tried it: it was so different to all the other mustards I had ever tried. Mustard is... mustard. We eat it with a piece of cheese or a Dutch kroket but we never really think about it. I started experimenting with different ingredients, creating different flavors, and before I knew it I had a lot of mustard at home. I realized that if I just narrowed them down to a few really good flavors, created a label to stick on the jars, I could create a new brand. At that point it really picked up and Dimer came along to help me out.
D: I was involved from the beginning as a friend and a mustard-tester because I really liked what Kevin was doing. I even suggested writing down the recipes so he could recreate them later (laughs). Kevin was looking for someone to help organize the business and that’s where I stepped in.
Do you think you’re helping people to change their approach to food in the Netherlands?
K: I think that we take a lot for granted in the Netherlands. We go to the store and buy a jar of mayonnaise and think that’s what mayonnaise should taste like. But it doesn’t have to. We’re so focused on food to go; we’re all so busy and everything has to be quick. But I want to show people to take the time to taste food, to question what makes it taste good. Like that when cooking steak with red wine you don’t even have to add salt and pepper, it’s just that good.
Is that why you post recipes on the website?
K: We don’t cook much with mustard in the Netherlands. I’m from Scotland where it’s used a lot. Since we love cooking, we just keep discovering new ways to use the mustard. From a marinade to a salad dressing to a butter substitute… There are so many ways to use mustard in everyday cooking.
D: We quickly realized that people weren’t sure how else they could use the mustard than with cheese or bitterballen. With the recipes we’re evoking a certain curiosity. Now people are sending us their recipes.
How do you make mustard?
K: We just use regular ol’ mustard seed. It’s really the most boring list of ingredients ever. Take this one: yellow mustard seed, biological apple vinegar, water, curcuma, pepper and salt. That’s it. We grind it in a kitchen blender, put it in large jars, add vinegar, water and spices and let is sit for about 10 days to 2 weeks. That’s enough time to soak up all the spices and the liquids, and it’s just exactly how we like it. Then we grind it again with more mustard seed and spices and fill up small jars. This way we really create something that’s different to the mustard you buy in the supermarket.
So how does it work, when you receive an order do you just get together and make mustard in your kitchen?
D: Yep, it’s really like that. We do everything ourselves, from the orders to the deliveries. We fill the jars and stick the labels. We make big batches, put them in buckets and fill the individual jars. Then we take a Car2Go and race around the city to deliver orders.
K: The Nieuwe Mosterd actually started in Rotterdam; I moved to Amsterdam for my job. I think we were just before the trend of ‘making’ in Amsterdam, not knowing that is was happening. And we started the Nieuwe Mosterd because we thought it was fun. Now we realize we were right on time. People really like it when you make one thing and you’re really good at it. People love products that have stories. Ours just happens to be mustard.
What are your plans for the future?
K: World domination (laughs). I’ve never really thought about it. We’re just going to keep doing this as long as we like it. When that happens, I’m calling it quits, and that’ll be fine because we will have achieved more than we ever thought we would and we’ve had a really great time doing it. I just wanted to introduce people to really good mustard. When people ask me how I make it, I just tell them to go make it themselves. Go make your own mustard, experiment with the ingredients and let me try it - I would love to! So as long as we’re having fun… That’s all that matters.
D: We were recently at Bilder & De Clerq for a tasting with suppliers. It still surprises us that people want to buy our mustard. It started as a hobby, and it still is one. And we want to keep it this way. We could make it bigger and bigger because there is demand for it but then we’re going to run into problems. Right now, we’re just doing what we can. If someone comes along who wants to make mustard with us, then yeah, we’ll think about it. Until then, we’re just going to keep making great mustard… Without an end goal.
K: Why don’t we put out a call out there for an old man who wants to make mustard with us!
Thanks Kevin and Dimitri for this interview! Check out their website for more and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Instagram . This article first appeared (in Dutch) in the first issue of the new publication Amsterdam &Co. Find out more on the website or order a copy of the magazine .