Michael Roest is the head chef and owner of Herberg De Waard van Ternaard in the village of Ternaard, Friesland, the Netherlands. His restaurant showcases authentic Frisian cuisine made with fresh-from-the-farm local produce – a mouth-watering invitation to visit this tiny community bordering the North Sea.
Where are you from and what can you tell us about the food culture?
I was born in the [Dutch] city of Haarlem, near Amsterdam, but I was raised in the northern province of Friesland. The food culture between Haarlem and Friesland is very different. Haarlem is a more mixed culture; within the Dutch cuisine you find there are a lot of influences from our former colonies, Indonesia and Surinam. Haarlem is also a hotspot for ecological and sustainable food.
Friesland is an agricultural area with its own specific products. The area around Ternaard is well known for its soil. A lot of new sorts of potatoes and carrots are grown here to find out if they can be used on a commercial level. The cuisine of Friesland is frugal but traditional. A lot of farmers grow the most wonderful produce over here, most of the time in a sustainable manner.
I like to combine the styles of Haarlem and Ternaard in my personal style of cooking.
How do you use your heritage in your cooking?
I’m glad that my father helps out in the kitchen; he knows a lot of artisan production methods and traditional recipes. He bakes our bread, butchers the game shot in the area, smokes fish and meat, and makes traditional meals for the staff.
What did you eat last night for dinner?
Yesterday was a day off and I went for fast food. I had raspatat special and a few fried snacks.
What would you recommend visitors in the Netherlands and in Friesland eat?
When you are in the Netherlands you should try at least these two delicacies: Salted (raw) herring with onions and pickles, and smoked eel. When in Friesland try the “peat smoked sausage” and the “suikerbrood”, a loaf of bread infused with sugar and cinnamon.
And what should they do or visit while in Friesland?
It really depends where you are in Friesland. In the northeast part, where I live, there are wide, wild landscapes, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea, and National Park Lauwersmeer. Also a tour by bike or car through the little terp villages is a must. [Terp is an artificial hill constructed to protect important buildings (churches) from the tides in the times when there were no dikes].
How would you summarise yourself?
Stubborn but eager to learn!