Amsterdam’s not exactly famous for its incredible fine dining scene. The few starred restaurants are those connected to luxury hotels and the proposed menus are, for the most part, either French or Asian cuisine.
But there’s one chef that’s managed to make a name for himself, earning accolades worldwide: Ron Blaauw has managed to succeed in the challenging feat of transforming some of Holland’s traditional ingredients and dishes into a creative cuisine. And his skills have earned him two Michelin stars (the first in 2004 and the second in 2005), which were awarded to his restaurant when it was in its original location, in the lovely suburb of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. From March, however, he’s moved to the city – adding a welcome gourmet touch to the heart of Amsterdam and bringing along a particular price philosophy (with menus at 70, 82.50 or 90 euro), that has made him accessible to a wide range of customers. The chef uses excellent ingredients that he sources from Holland’s best produces, like vegetables, meat and cheese from the Lindenhoff farm. While Blaauw isn’t afraid of putting simple, more humble ingredients alongside the great “noble” products like foie gras and truffle, his foundation has remained fundamentally Dutch, characterized by the creative and almost obsessive use of potatoes as well as regional delicacies like eel and herring, as well as a savvy use of spices from the V.O.C. (East India Company). And of course, his menu features crab, cod, salmon, and all the Northern fish with a few Made-in-Italy intrusions like lard from Colonnata.
His cuisine is most certainly tied to the Scandinavian tradition and ethos: excellent products, simplicity, creativity and taste in the way he composes as plate. But it’s frankness and strength is all Dutch.