The Michelin Guide continues its assessment and inspection of restaurants around the world as usual. So, where in the world will we make the gastronomic journey this time? Today we are going to the Netherlands to explore two of the highest rated restaurants in the Netherlands that have earned exactly 3 Michelin stars: Inter Scaldes & De Librije.
Contemporary Elegance and Abstract Art: Inter Scaldes
Inter Scaldes is located in the mussel and oyster capital of the Netherlands. Against a backdrop of white tablecloths and abstract art, locally born chef Jannis Brevet wows with his haute cuisine: mousses, purees, oils, wafers and cremes all in evidence. Menus are characterised by the very best of the region’s natural larder – lobster, lamb, sea fennel, cheeses, fruits and, of course, oysters and mussels. Brevet’s impressive repertoire spans uncomplicated but perfectly executed plates to intricate, reimagined classics, and his seafood cooking is among the finest in Europe.
The chef’s recipe is extremely precise and dosed. In order to maintain the optimal taste experience, the restaurant therefore asks you to make as few changes as possible and only to report serious intolerances to them. They would like to know about vegetarian wishes in advance, so that they can compose a menu for their guest. Please note that the restaurant does not offer vegan cuisine.
About 3 Starred Chef Jannis Brevet
Jannis Brevet earned his spurs in renowned restaurants at home and abroad. He has won several Michelin-starred awards for his kitchens. In 2001, Jannis and Claudia Brevet took over the renowned Inter Scaldes restaurant and in 2018 Jannis was rewarded with a third Michelin star***. Jannis and his wife Claudia are big fans of the moderns, the refined, minimalist art of the post 1950s, with a preference for (geometric) abstract. Gradually, their interest in minimalist art gained the upper hand. By now, they possess a large collection of Zero Art.
Already at a young age Jannis was drawing/painting figurative and portrait. The love for cooking was greater at that time and he continued his way to the cookery school. Due to his demanding work as a kitchen chef and later his own restaurant business, Jannis lacked time and for a long time there were no works from his hand. In 2015, he was given the space to take up his passion for painting again. He is an inspired minimalist artist. His motto “Nothing is as difficult as simple cooking” and “the art of leaving things out”, also got priority in his artworks. With fairly simple materials, such as cardboard, nails, rope, eggshells and corten steel, he makes unusual creations and visual art in addition to oil paintings. His work is exhibited in the Hotel-Manoir Inter Scaldes in Kruiningen.
What fascinates Jannis is the synesthesia between art and cooking; the connection between perceptions and representations from different senses. Colours, lines, shapes and structures inspire cooking. “I don’t cook the images, it inspires me more in a certain direction. “It influences my choice of ingredients or the way I decorate the plate and the tableware I use”. Jannis is admirably averse to trends. However, you cannot just call him traditional because he remains true to his own light-hearted, refined, yet original way of cooking. He cooks directly, purely and transparently.
A balanced composition is the result of technique, creativity and product knowledge’. This principle is also reflected in his works of art.
Imaginative Dishes That are Full of Flavour: De Librije
Influential De Librije is housed within an 18th-century former prison in the Dutch city of Zwolle. Run since 1993 by the energetic Jonnie and Thérèse Boer, top-quality regional produce takes the form of a bespoke culinary experience. Whether visiting at lunch or dinner, guests choose four dishes from the seasonal ingredients on offer, to which the chef adds further dishes, creating a balanced five, six or seven-course menu. The main dining room is in the courtyard, its glass roof and whitewashed brick walls creating a bright, airy space.
De Librije also has Michelin Green Star and is No.46 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019 list.
De Librije’s Successful Chef Jonnie Boer
Little over one hour’s drive from Amsterdam, on the border with Germany, there’s a town called Zwolle, unexpected, calm, which in fact hides one of the temples of taste: De Librije. Working in the kitchen of the restaurant with 3 Michelin stars is Jonnie Boer, whose culinary history starts in this same place of which he’s now the patron, between these walls. And “walls” is quite a suitable word since the restaurant is located in an old women’s prison.
To get to the dining room, you pass through an iron grate door that once led to a cell. The meal is eaten inside an inner courtyard where once the prisoners enjoyed something much different: their out-of-cell time. Jonnie Boer arrived at De Librije at 24 and he bought it a few years later, together with his wife Thérèse. He got the first Michelin star in 1993, the second arrived in 1999 – the youngest Dutch chef ever – and the third in 2004.
Contrary to his colleagues, the chef has not worked kitchens around the world. «I’ve always been here in the Netherlands. I started working at 18». His origin is certainly the strong point of his philosophy. «I come from Giethoorn, a town full of canals, known as the Venice of the North».
This year Boer was chosen for the third edition of
«I reinterpreted some of my recipes – said Boer – and made them more precious with the Joselito meat. Its forte is certainly the fat». Something even the two preceding chefs chosen for the Joselito Lab project were also convinced of: «I met Massimiliano Alajmo in France, unfortunately I’ve never been to Le Calandre, but I know his cooking very well and find it sublime», he says.
Jonnie Boer loves Italy but not just its cuisine. «I’m very fond of your country. I asked my wife to marry me in Cortina d’Ampezzo. We were skiing – he smiles as he speaks – it was midnight, we were really full because we had eaten lots of zampone. I looked at her and said “Thérèse, I want to make you happy” and she let me do it». A story rich of passion and genius, talents they took to Zwolle.