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Marko Karelse is chef at restaurant Villa La Ruche in Voorburg, the Netherlands. In his younger years, Marko worked as a kitchen assistant at a truckers' café in Spijkenisse. His dream was to open his own restaurant one day. During the final year of his studies, he interned at restaurant Villa La Ruche where he learned the tricks of the trade from patron-cuisinier Geo Bosma. Next, Marko worked as a chef de partie at restaurant Castellane in Rotterdam. In the end, he was invited back to Villa La Ruche by chef Bosma, who really wanted him back. Karelse accepted the offer and eventually took over the business in 2009. We asked Marko some questions about his culinary profession, his favourite dish, and much more.
Marko, how would you describe your cooking style?
I cook Burgundian, and I don't mean that we cook large plates with heavy food, but I do have the classic base. Full and beautiful flavours, but adapted to the wishes of today.
What's your favourite dish to make?
My favorite dish to make is smoked oysters with potato, foamy champagne sauce, and fresh herbs. This dish surprises my guests time and again with the refined taste of the oyster, the light smoke flavour, and the delicious creaminess of the champagne sauce.
What is your favourite ingredient to work with?
I can't do without three ingredients as a base. These are garlic, laurel, and shallot. This is the basis in many sauces and dressings, as these products give off so much flavour in different ways.
Who is one of your top suppliers or producers?
I have several great suppliers, and all have their own way of adding to the quality of the dishes that leave our kitchen. Q Vis is one of them, his knowledge of products, his high standard and the fact he knows what I want ensures that we always have good products. He is one of the few suppliers who can come up with an alternative that we always agree on.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your culinary career?
The biggest challenge for me has been the first three years of my entrepreneurship. Finding the right balance between cooking, entrepreneurship, and managing my staff was the biggest challenge I've had, which now results in having created a very solid team.
Which gastronomic trend are you excited about the most?
I'm not really into trends. Many of the current trends we’ve already experienced at Villa La Ruche, such as trying to conduct business responsibly, cooking according to the seasons, and trying to use regional products whenever possible.
If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would that be?
That's a difficult question. It's different at every moment of the day. In the morning I really enjoy a nice freshly boiled egg on toast, in the afternoon my grandmother's chicken soup, and when I'm at work that extra piece of sweetbread or the butt of the wagyu.
What’s one thing in the area that guests have to see or do?
We have a beautiful small village center here in Voorburg. Scheveningen is very close as well, where you can walk on the boulevard and enjoy the ocean. And of course, the political heart of the Netherlands can be found at the Binnenhof, a nice place to go and have a look.
Thank you, Marko.
Book your table at restaurant Villa La Ruche
Taste chef Marko Karelse’s excellent modern French cuisine for yourself at restaurant Villa La Ruche in Voorburg, the Netherlands. You can easily make your lunch or dinner reservation through our website.