Moshik Roth at &moshik Amsterdam
Welcome in Amsterdam, the city where nothing seems impossible
In the vibrant city of Amsterdam there are all kinds of restaurants, thanks to a variety of international influences and the open-mindedness for trends and everything that is all but mainstream. It comes as no surprise that an unexampled restaurant like &moshik, with a chef that is totally unique, is located in this marvelous city. The personality of Moshik Roth is just like the city of Amsterdam, the result of experiences from all over the world, put together in something extraordinary that cannot be catalogued as a certain style or approach.
Intrigued by the iconic chef Moshik Roth we planned our trip to Amsterdam to discover his amazing restaurant &moshik. The place is located near the central station where modern architecture is in perfect harmony with the monumental buildings and a waterway full of pleasure boats. When the weather is nice, people come here to enjoy a drink at the quay, which makes the atmosphere in this part of the city truly special. When you enjoy dinner at &moshik you have a magnificent view over the water and the happy people that come together to have fun. Especially at nightfall, when the city lights turn on, the atmosphere gets really unique. It’s vibrant, romantic and playful … perfect to enjoy the wonderful food Moshik Roth and his team serve at &moshik.
A unique location and interior design for an unforgettable experience
The interior design at &moshik is eclectic and matches the food and plating perfectly. The pastel colours like pink and pistachio, the round shapes and the exclusive decorative elements that play with contrasting materials like stone, metal and velvet are so distinctive that they could hardly be copied anywhere else.
“Taste has everything to do with a composition of memories.”
He is inspired by other cultures, by his own imagination and by the natural phenomena he observes every day around him. Moshik moved from Israel to The Netherlands in his early twenties. He started his career as a pizzeria manager in Amsterdam. In his spare time he became fascinated by haute cuisine and he set out to become the best chef possible. He seized the opportunity to work at the three stars restaurant De Librije and in the two stars restaurant De ZwethheulIn.
2001 Moshik opened his own restaurant: ‘t Brouwerskolkje in Overveen. Here Moshik received his first Michelin star in 2006, followed by a second one in 2009. In 2012 Moshik Roth and entrepreneur Salem Samhoud joined forces, as the latter was inspired by Moshik’s innovative culinary ideas and his drive to share his own type of gastronomy. They started the restaurant &samhoud places, which was renamed to &moshik in 2018. Their philosophy is that food can make the world a better place, so they created two concepts: &samhoud food – which is a retail product line – and &moshik, the restaurant that is awarded two Michelin stars and where chef Moshik Roth surprises his guests with innovative creations and presentations. For example, bouillons are made at low temperature, using the Rothewald distillation machine. By using this technique of distillation instead of cooking, you can get a very pure and intense taste. And also other techniques like fermentation, combined with traditional cooking, give the cuisine of Moshik Roth its own unique style. Then there’s the plating of course, which is representative for Moshik Roth as well. He creates dishes that look like pieces of art, building them up in several steps. By his approach to plating, Moshik Roth manages to give the taste an extra dimension as it is not only about flavour anymore, it’s a full experience, combining senses like view, smell, taste and even touch.
The Best Chef Awards & Hungry for More (Chef’s Secret): Nice to meet you! Let’s start our chat with the question how you got started here in Amsterdam and how your personal life story has brought you to the point where you are now, as a chef.
Moshik Roth: Well, I’ve been in the business for about 17 years now, since I only started cooking at the age of 29. So I can be considered an autodidact. It was my passion and my love for gastronomy that encouraged me to pursue a career as a chef. The fact that I have been travelling a lot, is clearly reflected in my cuisine. My inspiration comes from around the globe. And as for the choice to be located in Amsterdam, I’d say I can glow here more than anywhere else. My previous restaurant was situated in a more quiet place, outside of the city centre, which is totally different. Here in Amsterdam, people are very open to new experiences and foreign influences. It’s a beautiful and vibrant city.
Actually the combination of cooking and being happy is most important to me. Certainly considering the fact that I have a new family with small kids now. My personal life as I experience it is reflected in my cuisine. It’s the sum of all the essential elements – like Amsterdam, travelling, my family and my inspiration from around the globe – that makes me the chef I am.
Chef’s Secret: Shall we say you’re a true cosmopolitan, with a love for what’s local?
Moshik Roth: My cuisine definitely has international influences, but in fact it’s all about the quality of the product and the preparation. Let’s say you can have the best potatoes from just 50 kilometres away, but you can also have beef that is bred 10.000 kilometres from here. When it comes to the selection of fish, I love to use North Sea fish, as we have really nice and precious species in our region, like mullet, blue lobster, turbot or oysters. But at the same time I love to use produce from Japan or other special places in the world. I will always look for the best producers, and as logistics today are seldom a problem, it’s possible to make a top quality selection.
Chef’s Secret: What is your opinion on culinary trends? Is there such a thing as ‘fashion’ in gastronomy? Do you think you are also influenced by trends or by traditions?
Moshik Roth: Being an autodidact, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to create my own trends. I’m free to define my own style and this way you can become who you really are, and that’s being authentic as well. Of course I’ve been to the best restaurants in the world to see what those chefs were doing, but when I travel these days it’s more about discovering other cultures and foreign ingredients. So to be honest, I’d say I don’t get inspired by trends, but I’d rather get inspired by ‘me’.
Chef’s Secret: Isn’t it difficult to be self-taught and to explore things on your own?
Moshik Roth: It’s not easy. But on the other hand it’s just about the way you see things. Being a self-taught man, you can make things happen and it gives you the freedom to explore new horizons. The creation of new dishes is something that happens solely in my own mind, it’s when I put things into practice I start involving other people in the process. I find it very difficult to describe that moment of inspiration. It’s something that just happens, it’s a journey on my own and nobody can interfere.
Chef’s Secret: What about pressure? You’re at the top of the culinary world, don’t you feel the pressure to get a third Michelin-star or to be even higher up the rankings of the most respected guides?
Moshik Roth: The only pressure I feel is the responsibility to support my family and 25 employees. I’m not that worried about my kitchen, the dishes or the quality. At a certain moment you get to the point where you’ve got control of what you do, but that’s not it. I’m always looking to improve everything we do. However, what drives us isn’t the stars or reviews, it’s the guest’s experience that counts.
Chef’s Secret: So what’s the ultimate satisfaction in your work?
Moshik Roth: My satisfaction is my family, my team and the guests in my restaurant. I’d say you need to think bottom-up, instead of top-down. If your guests and the people around you are happy, then good reviews and acknowledgement will follow automatically.
Chef’s Secret: What if we’d ask you to describe your own cooking style?
Moshik Roth: Well, my cuisine is much more than cooking or fine dining. It’s the kind of cuisine of today and tomorrow. It’s a cuisine that boasts emotion and respect for top quality produce.
Chef’s Secret: So do you have a favourite ingredient?
Moshik Roth: For sure. My favourite ingredient is ‘love’ and my favourite tool in the kitchen is the ‘touch’.
Chef’s Secret: We’re here today to make a reportage about you for The Best Chef Awards. What do you think of the platform?
Moshik Roth: The role of a huge culinary platform like The Best Chef Awards cannot be underestimated. Thanks to the online culinary community, it’s now possible to discover other chefs’ creations with one simple click. Those kind of new influences can make you more professional as a chef, as you get inspired and you are up-to-date with what happens around the globe. It makes it possible to put things in perspective. When I see on an Instagram account with that many followers what other chefs are creating, then I can see that I am authentic, as my cuisine is what represents me as a person.
Chef’s Secret: Do you think Instagram encourages ‘copying’ behaviour?
Moshik Roth: In fact it’s very simple. You can copy a photo, you can copy ingredients and you can copy technique. But you cannot copy the emotion that a chef has put into his creations. For example, a chef like Massimo Bottura, who is world famous for his lemon cake. So many people have tried to copy it or to showcase their interpretation of that dish, but no one will ever be successful as these recreatings are lacking the emotion of the original. So it’s pretty obvious who is authentic and who is not.
Chef’s Secret: We assume we can say you’re pretty happy you became a chef, although it didn’t seem to be your path initially as you started off at the late age of 29?
Moshik Roth: Being a chef is my oxygen, I simply cannot live without it. The feeling I get when I am cooking and creating is above happiness. It’s the opposite of obligation, as I feel I got the right to do it. I am very blessed to be able to spend my time by doing what I love the most.
Chef’s Secret: We are very curious to know what your future plans and ambitions are?
Moshik Roth: My biggest dream is to be number one of the world. Now it’s time to become famous. As a chef you really want to be recognized as the best chef there is, and that’s no matter of materialism. If this happens, then the rest will follow. And besides that, it’s my wish to be an example for the people I work with. To accomplish their dream on the same intensity level that I try to accomplish mine.
A new interpretation of the famous crêpe suzette
Cornette of algae, tartare of hand caught scallops, pili pili ice cream and avocado ripened for 18 months.
Gazpacho of botanicals, cream of Turkish ayran yoghurt and pistachio ice cream.
Veggie and non-veggie bites, with and without eel in a green sauce and an Asian lacqué.
Preparations of Turbot.
North Sea turbot ‘en cocotte’, cooked through ice, served with plankton, sabayon, Amontillado Sherry and candied Amalfi lemon. Cutlet of the belly of the turbot, softly cooked and lacquered with a reduction of the gravy of the tale of the turbot and a mousseline of Monalisa potatoes. Polenta, terrine tête de turbot, gherkins and mustard.
Pigeon ‘Gâtinois’ with red cabbage from a local farm just outside of Amsterdam.
Pigeon cooked in a crust of sea salt. Filet of pigeon with a jus of red cabbage and ‘Carobe’ (Johannesbrood, which is a kind of fruit from the mountains near Jerusalem).