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Plant Hunting, History and Health with Rob Baan, Planthunter & Owner of Koppert Cress

In this episode, Ragnar talks with Rob Baan, owner of Koppert Cress. Self-titled Plant Hunter, he’s been called the Steve Jobs of horticulture. He’s on a mission to change the way we look at fresh and healthy food.

Rob Baan has secretly always wanted to live and work in the Golden age, the time of the Dutch East India Company. He knows it was not the most comfortable time in human history, but what attracts him most is the great focus on discovering great flavours in distant lands. In this rich food history, he sees a path to a healthier future.

Being Dutch, he has grown up with the five principles of Dutch Cuisine, which are based around the philosophy of the Dutch chef Albert Kooy. These principles aspire to the following;

  1. To eat 80% seasonal products and 20% out of season
  2. To eat 80% vegetables and 20% meat or fish in our daily diet
  3. To utilize the entire product and limit waste to a minimum
  4. To buy, cook and eat authentic, high-quality products
  5. To eat a balanced diet on a daily basis, ensuring a long healthy life

His vision at Koppert Cress is to use creativity, ingenuity and open-mindedness to spread these principles far and wide, through living ingredients. Plants, including microgreens, have always been the basis of human nutrition. Rob and his team are forever traveling to the four corners of the world to find new and exciting living ingredients. They have a plan for the next 20 years in place, which is to help feed the world and to turn that world into a healthier place.

Hear his journey to change the way we look at fresh food, one plant at a time.

About our Guest

Rob Baan, the owner of Koppert Cress, is a passionate grower, enviromentalist and visionary. He has undertaken numerous trips around the globe to research and seek out unusual, ancient and unused seedlings. He has turned this passion into a business and created an amazing range of living ingredients.

Rob is a passionate and sometimes stubborn man, which are traits needed to pursue his dream of making the Netherlands the healthiest country in the world. Rob grew up in Haarlem and later moved to Enkhuizen, which is known as one of the most important port cities in the time of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. The efforts of the VOC have put the Netherlands on the map as an international trader in herbs and spices, among other things. These Dutch roots give a strong meaning to Rob’s life. He is a real ‘plant hunter‘ and has been traveling the world since childhood in search of the most surprising and amazing plants.

Rob learned from his father to love nature from a young age. Throughout his career, he has had the opportunity to work in countries all over the world. All the knowledge he has gained during his travels about vegetables and human health encouraged him to take over a greenhouse from a radish grower in 2002 and to meet the needs of gastronomy. This was Rob’s way to change how we look at food: by inspiring the top gastronomy about vegetables, and teaching whoever wants to listen about living the healthiest life we can.

To learn more about Rob, click here.


Would you like to experience what it’s like to be a planthunter yourself?

Join us on June 7th at 3pm CET for a workshop with Koppert Cress’ chef and spicehunter Marcel Thiele. By registering for this event, you’ll enter to win a free Cressperience box and special invitation to a masterclass on microgreens!

Explore Koppert Cress’ beautiful product catalog at You’ll find plants from around the globe, their histories, recipes, and more. For the latest updates, follow Koppert Cress on Facebook and Instagram.

Don’t forget to subscribe to Worldchefs Podcast: World on a Plate! Choose your favorite listening platform from the right panel or go here to subscribe!


Special thanks to Rob Baan for joining as a guest.

World on a Plate is supported by Nestlé Professional and our podcast sponsors.


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