22 Oct Restaurant ML

A little over a week ago, I had the privilege to “peek” in the kitchen of a Michelin starred restaurant, called restaurant ML. The Chef (and his crew) – who also happens to be my brother in law – taught me a lot.

I’ve been to the restaurant many times, but always as a guest. Of course I was always trying to get a glimpse of what was going on in the kitchen.

When I started Food Deco and discussed this with the chef – Mark Gratama – he asked me if I would be interested in assisting in the kitchen for one day. I expected “this day” to be a “quiet” Tuesday night or even lunch, but he wanted me to participate on a – busy and fully booked – Saturday night!

Restaurant ML is a restaurant situated in a national monument in the lovely city centre of Haarlem. Haarlem is located about 20km west of Amsterdam. Besides a gastronomic hotspot, Haarlem is also a great city for shopping and located very close to the beach of Bloemendaal and Zandvoort.

Chef Mark Gratama – a self-taught chef – distinguishes himself by a large palette of flavours; his cuisine is playful and pushes the boundaries of tradition and innovation. He finds inspiration in challenging techniques of modern international cuisine, but always with respect for French Cuisine. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline, but what comes with this discipline is pure greatness! Every single plate leaving the kitchen has up to a dozen different components, the pairings always perfectly thought out. All components prepared separately, cooked perfectly and plated elegantly and uniformly.

There is an elegant grace to chefs working in the kitchen, a grace I’m happy to have witnessed. Working in a kitchen is not only hard labour: it’s an art, top sport, mentally and physically draining at the same time. I not only got to watch Chef Gratama, but I also participated. It makes me very proud and happy to say I’ve been allowed to do some plating as well.

Although Food Deco has a complete different style (and is by far not working at the same level), there was a lot that inspired me. I learned: techniques, new foods, flavour combinations, plating and slaving over a hot stove. Just kidding. I had a great experience and highly recommend restaurant ML!
Please share your experience with ML by commenting below! Thanks. If you have suggestions of your favourite places to eat (worldwide), leave a comment or email me.

Kleine Houtstraat 70

2011 DR Haarlem

023-534 5343




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