‘Soekmekaar’ is the African word for 'searching for each other'. The continued search for and the bringing together of various ingredients, people and cultures is also the central theme of the founder of Soekmekaar Lien Kockelbergh’s life.


The choice for a lion as the logo for Soekmekaar is not a coincidence. For two years Lien lived in the area of Lion’s Head in Cape Town. This mountain with its distinctive peak offers a spectacular view over the Atlantic Ocean and guards 'The Mother City'. She often climbed the mountain to find peace and quiet, to get inspiration and to enjoy the wonderful sunsets.

Even as a little girl Lien experimented with speculaas (Dutch spiced biscuits), marzipan and potato crisps with various spices. In 1998 she definitively got the catering bug thanks to entrepreneurs Kasper and Danyelle Stuart. After this she acquired a lot of experience in restaurant life as well as in the catering sector, including chef of the catering company Westkaai, co-partner at Brasserie Van Loock and sous-chef in the Sportpaleis in Antwerp. She cooked here for, among others, stars such as James Brown, David Bowie and Axelle Red.


This self-made woman, with fifteen years experience in restaurants and catering, combines cooking with her passion for travel. This is how in 2000 she met the (at the time still unknown) Argentinian top chef Eduardo Andrés Lopez, better known as ‘Chakall’, during a trip through Syria. They travelled together in his Land Rover Defender through the dessert from Damascus to Palmyra.

Chakall became a popular TV Chef, published various cookbooks and opened various restaurants in Portugal. His infectious optimism and passion for new cultures and exotic ingredients inspired Lien. A life vision which now forms the essence of Soekmekaar.

Food is born out of culture. Why do people eat lamb? Why can’t they eat pork? Why do they use their hands or chopsticks or knives and forks to eat? It’s all culture.
— Chakall