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.”
|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
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