Joris Bijendijk on Slow Food, Core Values, and the Rijksmuseum

What is the connection between museum and restaurant? How is museum collection translated in the menu?

It’s not translated in a cliché kind of way. I always say that there should be a logic in a fact that we are the restaurant of the Rijksmuseum. When you walk in, it feels like we are the part of the museum, but you won’t see art. The art is in the museum building and here drinks and food are being served. I think we have achieved to create a full experience. If people had a day in the museum and afterwards they come to RIJKS®, they will feel this full experience, all senses are being involved.

 

If people had a day in the museum and afterwards they come to RIJKS®, they will feel this full experience, all senses are being involved.

What is your vision of gastronomy?

We have a very strong philosophy. The general part of the philosophy is that we have the same core values as the museum: authenticity, quality, simplicity. We are open for everyone. In the kitchen we always have four principles. Number one is the choice of products. That’s actually the alphabet of the restaurant, our signature. Secondly – techniques, preparations, continuity and details. These four principles are always reflected in our dishes. And talking about choice of products- quality and Dutch origin.

Before working in RIJKS®I already wanted to work with Dutch products. This restaurant and me was a very good match. To give you an example, I thought that it’s strange that we don’t have farm pigeon in Holland, though a lot of restaurants are working with this product. After negotiations with one of Dutch breeders, the first Dutch farm pigeon was on the market. And now he has one of the best farm pigeons I’ve ever tried. It’s on our menu as well.

In RIJKS® we have the team of three chefs: Jos Timmer, Wim de Beer and me. We are all part of the Slow food alliance of Dutch chefs, meaning that we can put slow food products on our menu. Dutch slow food products belong to the Dutch tradition, Dutch culture and they are almost extinguished. Our job is to keep them from disappearing. We try to work as much as possible with slow food products.”

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