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- Saturday, 14 January 2017 20:24 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
Tesi: Jacob-Jan, you are the patron chef of the restaurant De Leest / Netherlands. Can you tell us a little about the history of the restaurant?
Chef Jacob-Jan Boerma: De Leest has been open for 12 years now. The building dates back to 1930 and originally it was a shoemaker's. Then it became a cafe for the locals to hang out in and eventually, having acquired a food licence, it was turned into a restaurant. Since 2002, it has been in the hands of JJB and Kim Veldtman.
Tesi: Some chefs discover their love for food and their gift for preparing outstanding dishes quite late in life, while for others it is clear from early on that they will become a chef. When did you discover your talent for preparing food that is far beyond the norm?
Chef Jacob-Jan Boerma: I was 14 years old and, while on holiday with my parents, I used to browse the (French) Michelin guide in the back of the car. This always fascinated me and must have left a certain impression on me, as it eventually fuelled my desire to become a chef. At the time, my parents used to laugh at me. Little did they know that, years later, I would go on to become a famous chef. The charming, French, fine dining waiters also made an impression on me as a boy, and this sparked my interest in the hospitality sector.
Tesi: What is your favourite dish and why?
Chef Jacob-Jan Boerma: I don't have a favourite dish, as such, but rather some favourite ingredients, such as the Dutch North Sea fish. For example, I like to work with North Sea Langoustines – they are amazing and most likely the very best quality on the planet.
Tesi: A current trend in fine dining restaurants is towards a more relaxed ambience and style of service, while maintaining the same exceptional quality of food. What is your opinion about this trend?
Chef Jacob-Jan Boerma: These days, more and more people are able to eat well, because they no longer have to pay through the roof to go to expensive Michelin-starred restaurants to be able to do so. Globalisation has made it possible for restaurants to step away from the classical, conservative approach and
offer a cheaper version of fine dining, often in quite a different setting, but with the same high standards of food. It has also become possible to experiment with new methods of cooking, or maybe not even cooking at all – staying close to nature, with raw food, for example. Dining out has become about the experience as much as about the food. Not just the food, but the service, the restaurant interiors, everything is pushed to the limit. There are also ever more restaurants using only locally sourced ingredients. Price is no longer the decisive factor: quality and uniqueness are what make a difference and matter.
Tesi: What does good food mean to you?
Chef Jacob-Jan Boerma: Good food can really 'move me'. The most beautiful part of this is that you actually 'taste' the personality of the chef through his food. This is something that cannot be copied.
Biography Jacob-Jan Boerma:
Among the highest-rated chefs in The Netherlands, Jacob Jan Boerma is chef patron of De Leest, one of the two restaurants in the country to boast 3 Michelin stars
THE RESTAURANT De Leest opened its doors back in 2002, on the outskirts of De Hoge Veluwe National Park in central Netherlands, and earned its first star just one year later. The second star followed in 2007, and by 2013, it had earned its third. Behind the incredible success of the restaurant is chef patron Jacob Jan Boerma, along with partner and sommelier Kim Veldman.
Named the Gault Millau Chef of the Year in 2010, Boerma translates the experiences he acquires from around the world, from places such as Asia and Scandinavia, and places them into cosmopolitan and creative dishes. New ingredients, new flavours and new discoveries are the foundations of the food philosophy of this classically trained Dutch chef.
A perfectionist through and through, his skill and craftsmanship result in culinary art of the highest standard. However, the product is paramount for this chef, who favours local organic ingredients whenever possible. Boerma firmly believes that the quality of the product is the basis of success, which he then crafts into incredibly flavoursome dishes.
In late 2015, he joined forces with the Dutch airline company KLM as its new World Business Class chef, and in 2016, he lent his name to the flagship restaurant of the newly renovated NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam. At The White Room by Jacob Jan Boerma, his signature cuisine remains modern and sophisticated, and features well-balanced international influences with local ingredients