I recently had the pleasure of meeting Dutch chef Jaimie van Heije. Jaimie is no new name in the culinary world. He is known as a passionate chef who lives for food. Jaimie has trained under Thorvald de Winter, Ron Blaauw and Sergio Herman among others and it has certainly served him well. But underneath all of that, it’s his family’s culinary culture that has influenced him most. From the way he talks about his grandmother’s recipes to his journeys to Indonesia, he radiates this love for his family’s food. And that’s what you see in his menu. Jaimie van Heije serves a menu with bold flavours, contrasts but delicate at the same time. And all with an Indonesian spin.
We were offered an exclusive look inside the kitchen. With the mise en place in front of him, he took us through his ceviche dish step by step. The dish was created with slices of pollack, radishes, a watermelon ice dome, yuzu, basil, caviar and kailan flowers. And after seeing the young chef in action, we got to recreate the dish ourselves. Let’s just say I better stick to photography and blogging for now. My dish looked nothing like Jaimie’s!
Anyway, here’s why we love Jaimie van Heije (and you should too):
There are a lot of chefs on Instagram these days but no one stands out like Jaimie does. His dishes are colourful and gorgeously plated. Head over to Jaimie’s Instagram to see a dozen of his creations. Being a sneaker freak, Jaimie also likes to include his sneaker obsession on his Instagram. This creates a wonderful contrasted feed of cool sneakers and fine dining dishes.
2. Art of plating
Needless to say, Jaimie’s plating game is on-point. The way he plays with colours, structures, textures and quirky shapes. Jaimie explains that plating is important and that he is also well aware of the fact people are constantly taking photos of food these days. He takes this into account when he comes up with a dish. The way the dish is served to his customers, that’s the way the dish is supposed to be (so don’t rotate the plates).
3. The food
…is just amazing. It’s anything you’d expect to get in a restaurant and better. There’s boldness in his food, there’s creativity, there’s subtlety and passion. If anything, I’d say Jaimie is renewing the food game in the Netherlands. It’s the first time I have seen Asian-inspired dishes actually work in fine dining. Jaimie talks so passionate about his food as well. Don’t expect the same dishes when you come back, Jaimie is constantly changing up his dishes!
4. The atmosphere
Regardless of its location (Jaimie van Heije is situated in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, a relatively wealthy residential town), the restaurant has a no-nonsense vibe. The restaurant claims you could even walk in in shorts for all they care! All the restaurant cares about is food, good food and people who love it.
Sometimes you eat at a restaurant and you just know there was passion involved. This is one of those restaurants. Jaimie has set the bar high with his dishes but he’s still trying to perfect his craft. Seeing this you fear you won’t have the opportunity to eat the same dish again but then there’s this excitement for anything new he may be concocting. In the end, that’s what you want to see in a chef, isn’t it?
In the photos: Jaimie van Heije Restaurant, Selwyn Senatori artwork
What we had:
- Gin & Tonic with fruit-flavoured ice cubes (drink)
- Bao (amuse)
- Ceviche of pollack with radishes, watermelon, yuzu, basil and kailan flowers (starter)
- Paella Nero with a lobster bitter ball, seabass, langoustine and crab foam (main)
- Strawberry dessert with cremeux, vervain, sponge cake and strawberry and lime ice cream (dessert)
- Macaron and raspberry tartlet (petit four)
Jaimie’s Instagram: Jaimie van Heije