Tim Golsteijn, head chef, Bougainville

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st January 2019

Tim Golsteijn is the head chef at recently Michelin-starred Bougainville at Hotel TwentySeven, Amsterdam. He spoke to The Staff Canteen about his love for pâtisserie, drawing inspiration from the mundane and working with award-winning sommelier, Lendl Mijnhijmer

Tim’s interest in cooking began when he was a young teenager. “My best friend’s parents had a bar, and they were never home. He had two small sisters and he always had to cook for them, so I joined him and we cooked together and so I started to cook and to like cooking,” he said.

Tim's five favourite restaurant dishes 

  • Carabinero/Beef-Rib/XO/Watermelon/Bellpepper at Spectrum** Amsterdam
  • Langoustines/Caviar/Vinaigrette at Inter Scaldes *** Kruiningen
  • Foie/Macadamia/Olive-oil at FG** Rotterdam
  • Prawn Dish at El Cellar de can Roca*** Girona
  • Exotic dessert at Het Gebaar* Antwerpen

Five most influential chefs in his career 

  • Maarten Hogeveen
  • Dennis Kuipers
  • Marco Pierre White
  • Albert Adria
  • Paul Bocuse

His five favourite comfort foods

  • Red Thai chicken curry
  • Sushi
  • Andalusian gazpacho
  • Ice cream
  • Pasta Carbonara

He was encouraged to take it up professionally by his cousin and a friend of his who were already training at a local vocational college.

For the first two years of his apprenticeship, Tim mastered the basics, working in a small restaurant in Amsterdam, but it was famous Dutch chef Peter Lute who gave him his first chance working in a fine dining environment, taking him on as chef de partie at his De Kruidfabriek restaurant in Ouder-Amstel.

Passionfruit ice cream with 4 year old soy oil

Passionfruit ice cream with four year-old soya oil

photo credit: Lyan Van Furth

Then, when he left Lute’s to run the pastry section at The Amstel Hotel, Tim discovered that pâtisserie is where his heart lies.  

“Back then, they made everything themselves, from bread to everything for high tea, bonbons, chocolates, everything. It was amazing.”

He was also running the pastry section at The Dylan Hotel’s Vinkeles when it was awarded a Michelin star, and, after two years at another restaurant called Chef’s Table, he jumped at the chance to return to his love at The College Hotel.

But, not wanting to constrain himself, Tim continued to climb up the echelons in the kitchen. His first role as a chef was at Parker’s restaurant at the Rosarium, promoted to the top position after a year as sous chef.

Tim finally joined Bougainville, named after an island in Papua New Guinea, when it opened its doors in November 2017. He started as an executive chef for two Michelin-starred signature chef Pascal Jalhay, and took over the creative mantle six months later, when Pascal left to focus on his advisory business and R&D management role for frozen food group, Marfo.

Combining traditional French techniques and Dutch produce with ingredients and flavours from around the world – a nod to the country’s colonial legacy - the chef’s eclectically-inspired menu draws inspiration from Asian, Middle Eastern and South American cuisines.

Monkfish with red curry%2C Thai basil and Som Tam salad

Monkfish with red curry, Thai basil and Som Tam salad

photo credit: Lyan Van Furth -

recipe available here

Asked to describe his food, Tim said: “It’s really international.” The chef explained that he doesn't like to call it fusion cuisine, saying the word is “a little bit outdated.”

“I always say to people, 'I cook what I like.' If I like something, I’m going to cook it, and it doesn’t matter if it’s French or Asian or whatever. I just make something I like and I hope that other people like it too.”

Wild ‘Kooiker’ duck with structures of corn%2C dukkah spices and duck jus

Wild ‘Kooiker’ duck with structures of corn, dukkah spices and duck jus

photo credit: Lyan Van Furth

And although the menu features lots of local, seasonal produce and fish from the North Sea, he said: “I think it’s a little bit stupid to only use local products when you can get everything from all over the world.” The restaurant even sends a runner to pick up supplies at the Rungis market in Paris every week.

Unlike some chefs, Tim isn't inspired by a single thing like art or fashion. In fact, he said, lighting has struck him in the most banal situations: “The other day I was sat watching television and peeling a mandarin when I had an idea for a new dish. Half of it was peeled and I was like ‘hey, this looks nice, maybe I can make a silicone mould with it and just serve a mandarin, but like, half peeled.’”

But, as many award-winning restaurants have proved, it takes more than just a creative chef to be successful; and while Bougainville's acclaim is indisputably the result of Tim's hard work, he says it is also thanks to his wine director, Lendl Mijnhijmer, who last year was named best sommelier in the country.

“Everybody is crazy about him. He’s really energetic and personable, everyone likes him.”

Lendl is playful with customers, letting them taste the wine and think for a while before explaining what they’re drinking. “It’s a fun thing,” he said. “But also, this way, people are trying to taste what they taste, rather than thinking ‘okay yeah, you’re right, I smell oranges, or flowers or whatever’." 

Bougainville at Hotel TwentySeven, Amsterdam

Bougainville at Hotel TwentySeven, Amsterdam

The award-winning duo share a vision (or to put it in Tim’s words, “he’s crazy in the same way I am”) - one that is at once playful, innovative and original, yet respectful of tradition and fine dining codes.

While they feel it is important not to be too stiff or too classic, he said, attention to detail is key.

“So we make jokes and we laugh, but at the same time, if somebody stands up to go to the toilet, there’s already somebody holding the door.”

Nonetheless, Tim said he and Lendl shan’t be chasing any awards – though they wouldn’t fail to celebrate them if they received any. 

“I think if we can manage to continue what we’re doing now and become better, then maybe, yeah, one day we’ll get a second Michelin star.”

“But it’s not the main goal. The main goal is that guests are happy. The guests have to be happy.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 31st January 2019

Tim Golsteijn, head chef, Bougainville