Chef Jacob Jan Boerma Wants You Experience His Travels In Dishes

The chef hails from The Netherlands and has impeccable skills in the kitchen, but the stories he wants to tell are from around the world.

July 5, 2024

Dutch chef, Jacob Jan Boerma is in India for the first time for two-city dinner series with the Taj Hotels. He is one of those super achiever chefs who nabbed his first Michelin star six months into running his restaurant De Leest in 2002. Every restaurant that Boerma has worked on has had the honour of being part of the coveted Michelin list. The White Room in Amsterdam, opened in 2016, has one Michelin star. In 2021 he opened a Restaurant in Antwerpen Restaurant Fine Fleur, which received a Michelin star in May 2022. The latest restaurant he opened in December 2022 in Yokohama, Japan is called Restaurant Smaak.

Chef Jacob Jan Boerma

Boerma has just wrapped up his Mumbai leg of the Rendezvous by The Chambers – The Culinary Chronicles by Taj Hotels. He is prepping for a two-night dinner at Taj Mahal Hotel Delhi on July 6-7, 2024. We spoke to him on the sidelines of a preview lunch in Mumbai, where it was visible that India excited him. “This is my first ever visit to India and there needs to be a second time. Indian culture is fascinating and special and I would like to know more about it,” he said.

The seven-course menu was a fascinating mix of contemporary European cuisine with distinct infusions from the Indian kitchen. For Boerma, these moments of inspiration are a no-brainer as he says, “When you come to a country that is such a rich and interesting source of spices, it’s stupid if you don’t use them. So, in every dish, I use a little of this identity of flavours from India.” He adds that his philosophy of cooking and food is to be able to reflect his passion for travelling while staying true to his Dutch heritage.

Chef Jacob Jan Boerma

We loved the vibrancy of the ‘various textures of tomato’ that used tomatoes in many forms including a mousse that took centre stage. The use of well-seasoned guacamole brought the dish together. The ‘crispy shrimp’ used pearl couscous flavoured with Indian seasonings added warmth to the chlorophyll-rich jus of sakura and dill. The crustacean was cooked to perfection with a delicate crispy layer encasing the sweet richness of the meat within. But Boerma had the most fun creating the red pepper stuffed with local sweet potato course. “I have used local sweet potatoes with Indian spices, which one of the Chefs from the kitchen brought me. We stuffed the sweet potato in a local red pepper and made a saffron-based sauce with local spices. I have to say I was more than surprised at the end result and a true taste of what this country has to offer,” he said.

Ask him about trends that are sweeping the global culinary scene, Boerma succinctly points out the focus on sustainability and locally sourced ingredients, reflecting a growing awareness of environmental impact and a desire for transparency in food sourcing. There is also a heightened interest in plant-based and vegetarian cuisine, driven by health considerations and ethical concerns. “There’s a continued exploration of global flavours and cultural fusion in dishes, showcasing diverse culinary traditions in innovative ways. This leads the way for experiential dining, where the ambience and storytelling behind each dish play a crucial role in enhancing the overall dining experience,” he adds.

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