“It felt like the birth of our third child,” says Jan Gaastra about being awarded a Michelin star for Koriander, the restaurant he runs with his wife Corry in the Dutch city of Drachten.
“It was an amazing experience and we are very proud to have a Michelin star. We have had it since January 1999,” adds Jan about the sought-after culinary accolade.
A Michelin-star since 1999
The couple have been operating the restaurant since 1994 and, since opening, have had twin children. Their daughter Sabine now serves at Koriander while their son Dennis works in the kitchen, preparing appetisers and desserts.
“It’s a family business and it feels like we work as a unit. It’s great to work with my wife and our 18-year-old twins,” he says. Jan is the chef while Corry oversees the front of house operations.
The signature dish at Koriander
“Our signature dish is made from baked langoustine, tartare of langoustine, sauce tartare, thinly sliced fennel and beetroot chips,” explains Jan.
“We live in a very beautiful province in the northern Netherlands, so the North Sea is our backyard,” adds Jan.
Drachten lies about 90 minutes’ drive north-east of Amsterdam, in the province of Friesland.
Cooking with fresh Frisian produce
Fresh, high-quality Frisian produce features in his cuisine. That means ingredients such as sole, crab, cockels and other types of shellfish. A diversity of herbs and vegetables, including samphire, are used by Jan and his team.
“It’s very important to make basic stocks and sauces every day. That’s the essence of fresh cooking,” says the chef, whose dishes reflect the seasons.
“The most important thing is to let the product be what it is and not change it, cooking honestly. Do not change a good product if it isn’t necessary.”
Koriander is located close to the centre of Drachten.
Restaurant Koriander (Burgemeester Wuiteweg 18, 9203 KK Drachten; tel. +31 (0)512 548 850) is in the Dutch province of Friesland and listed with a star in the Michelin Guide. Making a table reservation a week or two in advance is recommended.
In addition to a la carte dishes, three to six course surprise tasting menus are served (costing between €39.50 and €69.50) at Koriander.
The photos illustrating this post are by Stuart Forster.