Our chef Paul has been working at the Lloyd Hotel for 15 years. His career started off a bit differently than you would expect. Paul started a technical training at first. As a side job he worked at the Zoo in Amersfoort, where they hosted many parties for large groups. After this he decided to start training as a chef. His parents were less happy with this career switch, although his technical background did come in handy in the kitchen. “There’s no need to call a mechanic if the kitchen appliances fail”, says Paul.
Because of a newspaper article he read, Paul started working at Sluizer in the Utrechtsestraat 20 years ago. He describes this period as a big learning opportunity. After Sluizer Paul started working for the Lloyd Restaurant, of which Liesbeth Mijnlieff was the initiator. She had a clear vision for the restaurant, inspired by her experience from Café Restaurant Amsterdam. In the beginning her way of working was very difficult for the cooks to get used to, but it certainly was a welcome challenge. The restaurant started with a unique concept; ‘Slow & Fast’. These terms were meant for internal use but quickly became known in Amsterdam. Paul fondly describes the concept: “it was new, crazy, different and very chaotic.” Everything could be ordered from a stew to an Indian rice table. This made cooking for a table of 4 extremely complicated. Soon we realized that this was not the most efficient way to work and the amount of choices were reduced on the menu. This created more room for variation. “These type of changes have kept my enthusiasm up for the past 15 years”, says Paul.
Paul also likes to be the chef at home, he always cooks for his family. His daughter has never had a store-bought meal, she always gets a freshly cooked meal. “We like to organize dinners, and everyone likes to come, even without an invitation”, he says.
The menu of Lloyd Restaurant changes every season. Paul finds it important to involve his team in coming up with surprising dishes. “I used to love it when the chef put my ideas on the menu”, he says. With all these ideas he forms combinations that then come together to form the new menu. In addition to the new creations, there are always a number of classics on the menu such as our Hamburger and the Caesar salad. For the regular guests he brings back some favourites on the menu. Taste combinations are developed through tasting, a lesson learned during his first job at the zoo. “You have to meet people who know different combinations and recognize flavours, that’s how you come up with a dish”, he adds. “This is not something I learned at home because my mother preferred to stand in the kitchen as little as possible.”
The newly designed kitchen of Lloyd Restaurant in 2018 was much needed. It ensures that the kitchen routing is clear, the team works faster and there is a larger capacity. “In short, we can take on more”, says the chef. This also affects the new menu, we can think bigger. The thought of changing the menu completely has popped up in Paul’s head from time to time, but he is still a fan of the typical Lloyd style.
He describes his profession as creative and technical, with a good dose of organisational skills. It’s varied, especially in a hotel because every day is different. This makes his work challenging, but for Paul the Lloyd Hotel has been the best challenge for the past 15 years.