Jaap Korteweg is a 9th generation farmer and founding father of The Vegetarian Butcher. How does someone, having grown up on a farm among the cows in the Dutch countryside, decide to become a Vegetarian Butcher? When the swine fever and the mad cow disease were holding the Netherlands in their grip, Jaap was asked whether his cold storages could be used as storage for tens of thousands of cadavers. Having witnessed this disaster, Jaap considered investing in keeping cattle, in an organic and animal friendly way. This idea was great; until the day the cattle would have to be taken to the slaughterhouse. From that moment on he decided to become a vegetarian. But he missed the taste of animal meat so much, that he promised himself he would only eat meat when he went out for a meal.
It was clear to him that he had to find something that could satisfy his craving for animal meat, without actually having to eat animals.
After a three-year search, Jaap developed and found innovative meat substitutes with a spectacular bite and texture. With the help of top chefs, he added the flavour and experience of meat made from animals to the products. In addition, he saw a lot of potential in the protein rich and organic lupine from Dutch soil. Together with concept designer Niko Koffeman, chef Paul Bom and a devoted team, he is working on a big transition from animal to vegetable meat. Their ideal is to have meat enthusiasts experience vegetarian meat products and to realise they don’t have to miss out on anything if they leave animal meat out of their diet for a couple of days a week. Jaap and his team’s ambition is to become the biggest butcher in the world, in a short time.