SOUS Stories: Luc Kusters

Luc Kusters from Restaurant Bolenius*: "I am most proud of the people who are here at Bolenius every day"

In the culinary search for what keeps chefs busy, we use SOUS Stories to question various chefs about how they ended up at the highest culinary level, what their most memorable dining experience was - but also: what the craziest experience they ever had with a guest in their had a restaurant. We sit down with chefs in their own environment and discuss their path to success. We'll kick it off with Luc Kusters from restaurant Bolenius!

In 2016, Bolenius received its first Michelin star, after which he received the Michelin Green Star for the first time in March 2023. A very special achievement for chefs who are committed to a sustainable future, and that is exactly what Bolenius has been doing for more than ten years. Luc's most memorable dining experience is an easy one: “It was already 25 years ago that the Bras restaurant in France was already a very progressive restaurant with many vegetable influences. That was still very unique for that time. We received a completely plant-based dish in advance, which was truly revolutionary! And to think that Bras, 25 years later, is still number 1! I think this may never change.”

When we ask Luc about the cookbook that he believes should be on everyone's shelf, he doesn't actually have to think: “Harold McGee, about food and cooking. In principle the only book that really deals with the facts of cooking. If this book were rewritten it would actually be exactly the same. It is about the science of the kitchen and its facts, a mandatory book for every chef. Many other books are often about the opinion and experience of the chef or writer himself. I also think Michel Bras' book is beautiful.”

Luc thinks the craziest experience he has ever had in his restaurant is a difficult question. “I have been spared very extreme things. However, there are sometimes guests who eat the tail of the langoustines, for example. Or someone says they don't eat vegetables. They are very different things, but I sometimes hear crazier stories than this.” Even on the Zuidas it is more stable and conservative than you might initially think! It gives a good feeling that many reliable guests come to Bolenius and that so far it has remained limited to these kinds of small, actually funny moments, says Luc.

Luc knew from an early age that he would become a chef. “I found it strange when others didn't know what they wanted to do later because I felt this very strongly at a young age.” Luc has worked at many different companies during his career, and that experience has given him useful tools that he was later able to apply in his own company. His determination and perseverance is his drive “You have to have a lot of patience and be stubborn, especially with Dutch cuisine and especially because Dutch cuisine is very much a topic now.” Luc Kusters is one of the six founders and ambassador of Dutch Cuisine. “I am now even invited to give lectures about Dutch cuisine, and to think that Dutch cuisine was really not done 15 years ago.”

This has now changed and more and more people are realizing that we have to deal differently with our food and with the entire food chain. “You see that the world is changing and people's interest in sustainability and plant-based eating is increasing. At Bolenius it is mainly about serving delicious dishes to our guests. It should not be a course, especially good food and also to show people that this offers a solution for the entire food chain. And we want to convey that plant-based is the way to go,” says Luc.

For Luc, the word restaurant mainly means having his own place with his own people. “I am most proud of the people who are here at Bolenius every day. Some have been with Bolenius for 8 years. The fact that people stay with me for so long creates trust and also that it becomes a kind of resting point for me.”

His masterful dish that he likes to cook at home? Pasta with shells. “If you were to ask my daughter what her favorite dish is, it would be pasta with shells. No haute cuisine at home, but a simple tasty pasta dish with shells.”

Finally, we ask Luc what it means to him to be a partner of SOUS, we are of course always curious about that! “During Corona, I have learned that there is a large group of people who find it difficult to go out and eat out. They actually enjoy having a well-organized dinner at home. Bolenius offers a good addition as a terribly tasty plant-based option!” And now let that fit in exactly with our vision.

Would you also like to experience Bolenius' special menus at home? Then order the delicious four-course menu, completely plant-based, or choose the menu with fish.