Marcel van Suijlekom

Marcel van Suijlekom is owner/chef at Restaurant de Provenier in Schiedam

From Goeree-Overflakkee to Schiedam; how does that switch feels?

‘We started three years ago in the Provenciershuis. In the 18th and 19th century, Schiedam residents were able to buy themselves in as ‘prebendary’ and received free food and housing for their entire life. It was quite similar to the retirement homes we have nowadays. My wife and i were looking for a historic building with a great atmosphere. You can find a lot of great buildings in Rotterdam, but the prices keep rising. That’s how we got to Schiedam and this national monument. Our restaurant is situated in this classic building, but has a modern interior. The same with our kitchen: modern-French.’

Who are your guests?

‘We focus on a wide audience. You can eat downstairs, but also on the mezzanine where the tables are set for two. And there’re special rooms for meetings and private dining. From the Rotery to birthdays; we serve anybody. We recently had a dinner for people who had been married for so many years and served 15 courses. But we do things different than in Melissant: there our restaurant was open seven days a week. Even though we’re still working on our restaurant for seven days a week, it feels just a bit different…’

And the menu?

‘It’s very diverse, with both fish- and meat dishes and vegetable dishes. Like the dry aged beetroot from Rungis. Aged and dried for 21 days, served with walnut, goat cheese and apple. On the current menu we again have a dish with rendang made from seaweed, which comes from Rungis. First we lightly fry sereh, fresh ginger, red pepper and lime leaves. Then seaweed is added together with ketjap, chicken broth and coconut milk. We vacuum this and let it rest for a while to give it extra flavor. The rendang is then served with ravioli and langoustines. A fun dish from our menu last year was our crystal ball with earth from porcini mushrooms in combination with sweetbread. After drying and preserving the mushrooms, we add flour, butter and Muscovado sugar to make a crumble. We spread the crumble over a silicone mat, put it in the oven for 20 minutes at 100 degrees and shake the rumble a lot in between; to keep the earth loose.’

Anything else that’s 100% vegetarian?

‘Our risotto which we make with garlic and olive oil, and prosecco which we continue to add during the cooking process. At the last moment we add some king boletus and fresh winter truffle. An amazingly rich, vegetarian and vegan dish.’

Do you like fruit and vegetables yourself?

‘Yes, even now during the winter. Every season has its own advantages: at the moment we work with the richer flavors. No matter how simple red cabbage or sauerkraut are, they are both vegetables that are very much appreciated. It’s the combinations of ingredients. Like pike perch with fennel cream which we serve with apple, rice and red onion on top. And some shallot gravy to finish it all off. We also make super concentrated oyster pearls. We lightly freeze the balls in molds until they are set, then we immerse them in cocoa butter. That’s how they get their pearl color. The pearls are hard on the outside: if you bite into them, you’ll taste an explosion of oyster, ginger and passion fruit.’

Why do you choose Rungis?

‘Because they always offer good service and are on time with delivery. If we start at ten o’clock in the morning, we can start right away. And if there are any problems, they always solve them in a proper way. And Rungis also has extraordinary products that you can not get everywhere. Like the so called dry aged beet.’

 

Text: ellenscholtens.nl

Rungis is my eyes and ears. They know exactly what fits our vision: the purity of a product which we can make something beautiful with.

They know: vegetables are the base for making a great dish. They don’t let you wait an entire week before something’s there. They have everything, from small farmers to international products.