Jan Willem Kuijt, owner of Roots Smokehouse in the Dutch town of Ysselsteyn, is exhibiting the products of his smokehouse at Gastvrij Rotterdam.
Kuijt has a long history in smoked salmon: he was the director of well-known Dutch smokehouse Zalmhuis Steur for fifteen years, before he started his own business.
“This is our first big trade fair since we started our smokehouse two years ago. We can use some more name recognition, especially among restaurants, our main customer base,” Kuijt explains.
He shares his space at Gastvrij Rotterdam with the Alaska Seafood Marketing Board.
“We’ve worked together for a couple of years now, at events and trade fairs. Chefs are interested in Alaskan salmon, and although it is a minor product for our smokehouse, around five percent of our sales, it’s a good introduction to the restaurant sector. It gives me the chance to also let them taste our main product: farmed smoked salmon from Norway.”
His son and daughter are busy slicing salmon: Norwegian salmon, gravadlax, and Alaskan salmon.
“We let people try all three, so they can taste the difference,” says Kuijt. “We try to create demand at the chalk face. And we hope that the chefs will then ask their wholesaler: that is the salmon I want you to buy for me!”