On a grey Wednesday morning I made my way up to Art Deco Hotel Montana in Lucerne for a kitchentalk with chef Johan Breedijk.
He served coffee in the KitchenClub as we talked about the important things in life, like really good olive oil.
Chef Johan Breedijk came to Hotel Montana in 2007 and played a huge part in getting restaurant Scala up to the 15 GaultMillau Points it`s honored with today. But let`s start this introduction at the beginning.
Johan Breedijk was born in Holland.
At 16 years of age he started his four year culinary education wich included working for Michelin-Star chef Kees Helder at Restaurant Parkheuvel, Rotterdam and later for chef Hans den Engelsen in Delft.
Straight after this he moved to Switzerland and Ticino where he worked for Michelin-Star chef Walter Klose in Hotel Ascolago in Ascona. Luckily the chef at Ascolago spoke German, but Breedijk set out to learn Italian and within four years he mastered it.
This brought him to Lugano, Naples, Florence and Vicenza where he learned real Italian cooking, and got to work for even more Michelin-Star chefs.
He returned to Ticino as Chef de Cuisine for Ristorante da Enzo in Ponte Brolla, where he impressed everyone and was awarded “Highest Climber of the Year” in 2004.
The 16 GaultMillau Points restaurant Relais & Châteaux Hotel Giardino in Ascona had for a short period of time the pleasure of his skills, before Johan Breedijk was persuaded to move to Lucerne and blow some fresh Mediterran air into the Hotel Montana kitchen.
He brought eight cooks with him from Ticino and after only three months at work, the Hotel Montana kitchen rose from 13 to 15 GaultMillau points. Today Breedijk has a kitchen staff of 25 people who all work hard to every day serve high quality, fresh and modern food to about 150 restaurant guests.
The kitchen we`re sitting in is quite impressive.
It was totally renewed two years ago after a three year long planning period.
The project group traveled around Europe to look at different kitchen solutions, escalators, colors and changed the architectural plans about 4-5 times before ending up with todays result.
Probably to some annoyance for the architect, but for Breedijk it was important that the kitchen was efficient, not too big and the essential things at immediate reach. He got his perfect kitchen.
Olive oil is a big passion for chef Johan Breedijk.
This passion was discovered when he was working with chef Martin Dalsass in Lugano.
Martin Dalsass is also known as – “Olivenöl-Papst der Schweiz” – the pope of olive oil in Switzerland.
He used 18 different olive oils for his various dishes. Olive oil representing Italy from north to south.
Breidijk was taught how to pair oil with ingredients, and also how to do an olive oil dégustation.
With this passion there is no surprise that Breedijk in co-operation with Hotel Montana created his own olive oil.
This is called “Kitchen Club Selection – Breedijk`s choice” and is made from two types of olives by a female olive oil master in Sicily.
Breedijk explains the taste like this: “it`s an olive oil that would go with almost every dish. It scratches your throat a bit, meaning that it`s a little spicy. That spice goes very well with pasta, but it`s not so spicy that it wouldn`t also go with a neutral carpaccio. It`s fruity and has a little hint of artichoke and tomato.”
Good to know:
– See olive oil as a sauce.
– Use it cold.
– It releases free radicals (which are bad for you body) when it`s overheated (50° C).
Also you can visit the kitchen of Johan Breedijk and try his olive oil.
The KitchenClub offers seating from 2 – 26 guests, every day of the week.
You may purchase Breedijk`s olive oil in the KitchenClub or at the Hotel Montana reception for 28,- chf.
For more info on this, follow this link: Go to KitchenClub