De Librije chef Jonnie Boer shares the 10 kitchen items he can't live without

Laura Price - 09/12/2016

Header images: Kitchen items and langoustine dish photographed in the De Librije kitchen on a Dekton by Cosentino worktop; Jonnie Boer outside the restaurant (images: Valerie Soh)


There are certain things a world class chef simply can’t live without – knives, sketchbooks, mobile phones... not to mention a larderful of creativity.

In the first installment of our two-part Can't Live Without series in association with Dekton by Cosentino – the ultracompact kitchen worktops used in some of the best restaurants in the world – we asked 50 Best cooks to name the items they consider most indispensable.

First up, Jonnie Boer, chef-owner of De Librije in Zwolle, Netherlands, No.38 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016, talks us through his most prized kitchen possessions.


1. Baharat

“I’ve made my own version of this spice mixture from the Middle East and I use it in some of my dishes, either in dressings and creams or to cook fish.”


2. Microplane

“In the kitchen we work with lots of citrus acids. We use the microplane at the table to release the aromas and essential oils from the peel in front of the guest. This provides an extra experience for the diner.”


3. Langoustine

“I always have a dish with langoustine on the menu. It has a beautiful refined taste and texture and you can combine it with endless flavors to create new dishes.”


Langoustine, kombucha and boemboe

4. Fermentation bottles

“These are placed next to our hot pass. The bottles contain different fermented vegetable juices, which we use to preserve vegetables or make different sauces and dressings.”


5. Water pepper

“This is a secret ingredient that’s hard to find. It has a beautiful pepper flavor.”


6. Sketchbook

“Every day, after lunch or dinner service, I sit at the Chef's Table and draw dishes in my sketchbook. All my ideas begin in this book.” 


7. Ryusen knife

“I always use this kitchen knife. It's perfect to handle and it's very powerful.”


8. Grow box

“I cultivate my own spices in a grow box. We pick the herbs daily and add them to dishes.”


9. Nature

“Every week you can find me out enjoying nature. I often take my boat to pick wild herbs in and around the water. Nature is my greatest source of inspiration for new dishes.”

10. My team

“The kitchen and service teams are equally important and there has to be close cooperation between the two.”


All kitchen items photographed on Dekton worktop.

Next week: we'll go into the kitchen at Mugaritz in San Sebastian, Spain, to find out chef-owner Andoni Luis Aduriz's Can't Live Without items.

Now discover six restaurants in Western Europe for your 2017 wish list.