At the end of the day, it’s just food
It’s situated just a stone throw away from Amsterdam’s Central station, in the bustling center of the Dutch capital. However, when you enter Restaurant Vermeer, it feels like entering a warm home, where you’re being served a home-cooked meal of the highest quality. Chef-owner and Britton Chris Naylor makes sure of that. Naylor has lived most his life in The Netherlands and works intensively with local producers. He’s all about flavors and pure ingredients :“Stop with the bullshit. Good food is very simple”. We spoke with him on a gusty and rainy September day.
“I used to work differently. I would telephone producers and farmers, tell them what I wanted to cook with and request those ingredients. Now I ask them: what can you offer and I’ll cook with that.” On the current menu of Vermeer we see pumpkin, pear, shellfish, and oysters. “Our Northern European bodies are made to follow the climates and seasons of the north”, Naylor explains.
The chef admits it’s not the easiest way to work, but after having been doing this for the last seven years he has found a rhythm. More and more local suppliers are getting in touch with him and share their produce with the chef. A big change from twenty years ago. “Amsterdam in the 90s revolved around pubs on the one hand and Michelin restaurants on the other hand. Now you’ve got so much choice. There are farm-to-table restaurants, specialty places where you can order roti or Turkish pizza, or you can opt for a fancy dinner at Waldorf Astoria.
Naylor knows exactly what inspired this change.
Words & Visuals: Ingrid Hofstra