Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes
Sales adviser at Dille & Kamille
Sjanne Quellhorst/ 25, master’s student of Politics and Society/ works 12 hours per week at Dille & Kamille/ earning approximately 10 euros per hour (excluding surcharges)
1. She puts on an apron, preheats the oven to 180 degrees and rolls out a ball of dough, made a few hours earlier from flour, butter, cold water and a pinch of salt, on the countertop. Make sure to flour the surface beforehand to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
She’s no stranger to the temptation of filling up a basket with all kinds of cooking utensils and other beautiful products from the shop, only to hand her weekly salary back to her employer. But as a sales advisor at Dille & Kamille (“until recently we were just called sales assistant, but something changed in our collective labour agreement”) who works mainly in the kitchen, master’s student Sjanne Quellhorst is on safe ground. “I don’t handle the products as much.”
At the back of the shop is an open kitchen with a few tables and chairs next to it. A blackboard informs customers of today’s menu: pastries (“in the display case”), lentil and tomato soup, grilled sandwiches (not the standard ham and cheese variety, but one with mushrooms, brie and balsamic vinegar, for example). And there’s spring quiche. Two pies in round pans are cooling on the countertop. Quellhorst made them fresh this morning, with peas, herbs, brie and green asparagus. “I’ve got way too many of them, would you like one? They’re blanched.” She pops a green asparagus into her mouth.
2. She skilfully lines the greased quiche pan with the flattened dough and cuts away the excess dough. The eggs, with a pinch of salt, are beaten in a bowl, mixed with whipped cream and set aside.
Half an hour later, she serves a lady with a cup of coffee and the second-to-last slice of rhubarb pie. She cuts the last slice into small pieces. “Go on, have some!” She admits that working in a kitchen means eating all day. “I’m always hungry here.”
It’s a quiet Wednesday afternoon. Quellhorst surveys the leftover asparagus and decides to make another quiche. “I can put it in the freezer.” This time she uses a rectangular pan. The recipe is based on a shop recipe, but Quellhorst puts her own stamp.
While classical music in all Dille & Kamille shops is centrally imposed, they’re free in their menu choices. “We look at the season, what’s being offered on the market or in the supermarket, preferably organic.” Quellhorst can cook and bake, but she doesn’t do it at home. “We have a combi oven, a terrible thing. Nothing gets cooked properly.”
3. She covers the crust with parchment paper and places pie weights on top. The pan is put into the oven for 15 minutes.
Before she started working at Dille & Kamille, Quellhorst worked at gift shop Waar, which had to close its Maastricht location. “I ended up here via one of my former colleagues. I usually work on Wednesdays and in the weekends, when it’s very busy and we really have to step up.” Her master’s programme is one year long; she’s currently working on her thesis, “on Syrian refugees and their integration”. After the summer, she’ll start looking for a ‘real job’ that fits with her study program. For now, this still feels like the right place for her.
4. The green asparagus are cut in two and placed side by side in the pan.
A customer would like to know if they sell books with Arabic recipes. “We’ve got a party coming up, and we bought the hostess a mortar. We’d like a nice book to go with it.” Quellhorst takes a look. Unfortunately, there are no more Arabic cookbooks. She points out an alternative: a tapas cookbook. “With ideas for foods to prepare with the mortar”, she says.
5. Blanched peas and finely chopped pieces of brie are placed in the pan.
We’re interested to know if customers ever ask for a product the shop doesn’t sell. She doesn’t have to think about the answer: “A bottle scraper!” A quintessentially Dutch kitchen tool with a long handle and a small rubber head to scrape the last bits of yoghurt or other viscous substances from a bottle. “In this kitchen we don’t have one, either, and we have a lot! We sell everything you see here. Well, just about everything.”
6. The beaten eggs are added to the filling. Dried tarragon as well as parsley, pepper and salt are sprinkled on top. The quiche is put in the oven for about 30 minutes.