Portrait Otto Nijenhuis

Portrait of Chef Otto Nijenhuis  

The profession of chef was something Otto Nijenhuis was brought up with. As a child, he helped his parents in their restaurant. Standing on a crate, he produced his first self-made chips, and a few years later he made his first ice cream. And so his love for this creative profession was born.

He therefore considers it important to actively look for new dishes, products and preparation methods – everything to give his guests a real treat. And working with the most attractive and freshest products is something he considers very important in this.  

If you ask him about his philosophy of cooking, he answers: “Everything you do you should do well, with feeling, and always striving for perfection. You must always have the greatest respect for the product. It must remain recognisable, and don’t use too many flavours in one dish. And always respect the seasons.”  

He sees himself as a creative chef with respect for classical cookery and the product, making use of modern influences and techniques as appropriate. In this regard, he is always looking for good, honest flavours and attention devoted to the right forms of cookery.  

Otto Nijenhuis works with a great many ingredients every day, but Geul valley lamb and langoustines are his favourites. He also has a passion for “forgotten” vegetables and organic ingredients. In his kitchen, as much use as possible is made of products from Château St. Gerlach’s own orchard and garden, and of course from the surrounding region.  

One dish of which he is particularly proud is one made with fresh eel, an example of a forgotten product that very few people still use. Lamb is another of Otto’s specialities.  

Asked about his personal challenge or the goal that he wants to achieve with Restaurant Château St. Gerlach, he answers: “I'm aiming for an even higher level for the restaurant at Château St. Gerlach, and I also want to produce more de luxe dinners for larger groups.”   

Curriculum Vitae  

Work experience:
1978 – 1979   Hotel-Restaurant Avenarius in Ruurlo as a trainee chef
1979 – 1981   Restaurant de Echoput, Relais Gourmand in Apeldoorn as
 a trainee chef 
1981 – 1983   Restaurant de Hoefslag, Relais Gourmand in Bosch en Duin as
 chef de partie
1983 – 1984   Restaurant Scholtenshof, Relais Gourmand in Stevoort 
1984 – 2003  Hotel-Restaurant Prinses Juliana in Valkenburg a/d Geul,
 chef from 1 June 1990
2003 – 2004   Le Grand Restaurant in Liège as chef
2004  Restaurant Château St. Gerlach  
                              
1990            passed Master Chef exam  

Work placements/traineeships:
1986            Restaurant Comme Chez Soi in Brussels
1986            Restaurant l’Aubergine in Munich
1987            Restaurant Stucki Bruderholz in Basel
1987            Restaurant Jamin in Paris
1989            Restaurant l’Espérance in Saint Père sous Vézelay 
1990            Hotel-Restaurant Troisgros in Roanne
1993            Restaurant Le Crocodile in Strasbourg
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