Liudger van der Meer – Wannee in Leeuwarden

I am Liudger van der Meer. Chef and practical instructor of restaurant Wannee in Leeuwarden. I am 30 years old and I started to work in restaurants at the age of 15. Working as a chef has really became a way of life with its ups and downs. I am a father of a beautiful son Lièv and my wonderfull wife is always fully supportive in what I do. I cannot live without music and for a hobby you can find me at the shooting range.

Can you tell me about your day at work?
I work as a chef and practical instructor at restaurant Wannee, which is part of Stenden Hotel. In this hotel and restaurant students of the International Hospitality Management education are part of the organisation. In this professional setting i support the students as a practical instructor and work as a chef, and in this role I am responsible for the menu and creative part creating new dishes. In restaurant Wannee we cook according the principles of the Dutch Cuisine. This means for example we use 80% vegetables and 20 % meat, local and seasonable ingredients, no additives and “poison” in our dishes. The “New Dutch Cuisine” is thought heritage of my executive chef, master chef Albert Kooy.

What was the first dish that you’ve done as a chef?
Wow, that’s a long way back! I am not sure I can remember my first dish as an apprentice chef. I do know I started at a catering company and one thing I made allot there was sort of stew, of the vegetable paksoi, this was prepared with ham and curry. This is something I still make at home when I am in a hurry!

Who is the model for you to follow?
Well, this is quite a list I guess.. But one of the chefs I adore is the Dutch chef, Richard Ekkebus. Currently he is working in Hong Kong as executive chef of Amber the landmark mandarin oriental. I love his cooking style and it would be a dream come true to do a internship under his supervision in his kitchen.

Do you have your dream place where would you like to work?
I have a lot of restaurants I would like to take a look in the kitchen. Some of them are here in the Nederland’s and most of them are abroad. For example Mugaritz, Amber and Librije`s zusje would be restaurants I would really like to do an internship.

Do you cook at home?
Yes. I only cook at home, my wife wants to cook, but before that happens I am already in the kitchen haha.

What would you prepared for me in 10 minutes … i mean some food 😉 ?
Haha, well, I think I will just open up some oysters I found myself at the shore of the Waddenzee. Serve them with some lemon and a great glass of wine. What more do you need 😉

What would like to have as last meal in life?
Boiled potatoes, stew meat (Dutch hachee) and red cabbage.

What flavours you are most faithful?
Onion and garlic. These flavours really can bring the best in everything.

What do you think about current trends in gastronomy?
I respect all trends. I really like to cook according to what Mother Nature provides. So the one of the “newest” trends like the Nordic Cuisine is something I really like. I understand we need some “additives and powders” to make things sometimes more interesting, but I really think that when you want to be a great chef, you need to respect the ingredient and product as it is.

What was the most important moment in Your professional chefs life?
I lost my job in 2014 because the restaurant I worked for closed so I was forced to do something else, and eventually end up in my current job. Here I met Albert Kooy and his vision changed my way of cooking and opened allot of great opportunities!

Do you want to make your children have gone in Your footsteps / chefsteps?
I think everybody deserves the right to choose for themselves what they want to do in their professional career. Of course I would like it that my son follows my footsteps but I would not force him. The only thing I can do is show him my passion about food.

 

Private lives there? How it looks like?
My work is part of my life but I cannot let it interfere with my private life. When I am at home I always think about food but the most important thing when you’re at home is to enjoy your family.

What was the funniest situation at the kitchen, is it some fun there?
This was at a former restaurant I worked. It was during the summer and it was so hot. All guest were at the beach so we had nothing to do. The mice a place was done, the kitchen was clean and organised so we got a little bored.. We cleaned a garbage container and filled it with cold water and ice. So we went in to cool down. This was really hilarious.

What advice do you have for young cooks?
Follow your hart and passion.

In which country is, in Your opinion, the most beautiful/interestig kitchen?
In my opinion it is the Dutch cuisine. This is really something we underestimated in the Nederland’s, so we always focused on other cuisines. But we have such a rich history of cooking with so many cultures who influenced our kitchen and cooking style. That I would really like that all of us in the Nederland’s took a look at what we have here instead of abroad!

Photos on your instagram, are so beautiful. Are you doing it ? is it a long preparation?
Thank you!! Well most of the times creating a dish is part of a emotion. Something a part of a dish is triggered by a emotion or memory. This is what I want to put in to my dishes and let my guest experience. Of course it needs to look pretty, but simplicity is the key.

Thank you.

photo: Liudger van der Meer

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