My name is Boer, Jonnie Boer

Meeting the most illustrious chef in the Netherlands. In love with Italy and Italian chefs

07-11-2015
Jonni Boer, born in 1965, chef at restaurant De Li

Jonni Boer, born in 1965, chef at restaurant De Librije in Zwolle, one hundred kilometres from Amsterdam, 3 Michelin stars. The establishment got the first Michelin star in 1993, the second in 1999, the third in 2004

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.

The restaurant, in Spinhuisplein 1 in Zwolle, tel. +31.(0)38.4212083 was born on the ashes of an old women’s prison

The restaurant, in Spinhuisplein 1 in Zwolle, tel. +31.(0)38.4212083 was born on the ashes of an old women’s prison

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.

Wiedencocktail, blueberries, mint water and curdle

Wiedencocktail, blueberries, mint water and curdle

What’s nice about cooking at these standards is that it is transformed into an art and, as with any artist, meeting the thoughts and minds of professionals from other countries, makes your own artistic expression even better. «Massimo Bottura came here some time ago. He’s mad, a genius».

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.


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