WITH CHEF JONNIE BOER
& COOKING ARTICLE
the age of twenty-four Jonnie Boer took on the position
of chef at the Restaurant De Librije. A few years
later Jonnie and his wife Thérèse bought
the restaurant and soon after they received their first
Michelin star. Four years ago the restaurant received
its second star making Jonnie at 33 the youngest two
star Michelin chef in Holland.
style can be described as eclectic, daring and fearless.
He has received notoriety not just for his great cooking
but also for his commitment to using local commodities
along side the more traditional goose liver and truffles
one expects from high ranking dining establishments.
us about your restaurant.
restaurant itself has 35 seats, then we have a chef's
table which is in the kitchen of the restaurant. Three
years ago I was able to buy the whole building, so the
first floor is the main restaurant, the second is a
private dining room for up to 35 covers and in the kitchen
we left half in its original state which was the restaurant
and this gives room for another 15 covers. We are open
from Tuesday through Saturday, with lunch service on
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
much does dinner for two cost?
you order five courses, Thérèse will make
a wine arrangement including champagne to start off
and coffee to close. You can expect to pay approximately
230 Euros ($200 or £140). We give our guests several
small courses to start. When you eat with us you can
expect to receive a little snail with sourkraut then
an apéritif followed by a lollipop of duckliver,
then we start to serve the menu.
big is your wine list?
have about six hundred wines on our list. They vary
from very well priced to very expensive. Thérèse
likes to have a big range of wines because she feels
that a rather cheap wine can sometimes be better than
more expensive one.
was born in Giethoorn which they call 'Little Italy'.
This is because of all the canals. The area is surrounded
by nature. When I was a child I used to hunt and fish
in that area. I like to work with regional products
that are pretty much unknown. We have good local products,
so I don't get them from France but from my region and
that's why we are popular in Holland. Nature and everything
that grows and lives in the surrounding area of Zwolle
is my source of inspiration.
the food of your restaurant.
food is simple, honest, pure in flavor and no nonsense
. . .
see from your book that you use some unusual ingredients
such as perch, eel and gurnard. How popular are these
types of dishes with your customers compared to more
commonly eaten foods? Do you charge a lower price for
the unusual items?
perch is the dish that has given me fame. It was born
because we didn't have a lot of money to buy exclusive
products. Now a lot of guests come and visit us for
that type of dish, but we do use exclusive products
as well but everybody likes to taste dishes with products
from this region. We don't charge a lower price because
our local lamb is almost as expensive as from France.
The best thing about that is I can select it myself
and give my guest more information - because I know
everything about the lamb.
was the most unusual item on your menu last year and
what was the reaction from your guests?
sole prepared in smoked butter with sweet and sour leeks
stuffed with an oyster and a sauce of lemongrass. This
is a dish that we are going to keep, everybody went
crazy with the flavors.
your cookbook - Puurder (more pure) . . .
is my follow up from Pure my first book, which was printed
only in Dutch. The reason why I made Puurder
(which is available in both Dutch and English) is because
we have progressed - with our guests, our suppliers,
our food - it's more pure now. The name reflects our
steps forward. The next one will be called Purest.
idea was it to insert the wine booklet into the front
was both of us (Jonnie and Thérèse). It's
nice to have a book all about food but wine gives balance
and can really give a dish that extra character. Wine
can also destroy the concept of a dish. In the book
you will find some simple wine ideas and how to handle
it. It's written by my wife and is very easy to read,
well suited is the Dutch climate to the production of
wine? What wine would Thérèse suggest
compliments your cooking?
do have a chateau in Holland, it's called the APOSTELHOEVE
but that's really the only one. The reason we do not
produce much wine is because in Holland we have too
much rain, winters are cold and the summers do not offer
enough sunlight. But 2000 was a good year for Dutch
wines. Thérèse feels the wines which best
compliment my style are red Spanish wines as they are
full bodied and creamy and white Bourgognes with a bit
of wood but not too much.
are your plans for 2002?
even harder, better flavors, more guests. More development
for the restaurant business in Holland. We still have
the reputation of a country without good food and restaurants.
I think that's rubbish. I have been in France a lot,
you don't want to know what I get there sometimes.
you offer a word of advice for the chef of tomorrow?
you visit Europe come and visit Holland as well, try
our kitchens. There is a lot going on here. Second -
don' t think too difficult, use pure and good ingredients
and give your cooking your own style.
written by Jeremy Emmerson and supplied by
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