La Rive - Perfect Harmony - I + I = 3

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d i n e PERFECT Master Chef RogĂŠr Rassin & La Rive chefs and Recipes



introduction PeRfeCt HaRMony is a unique peek into the kitchens and wine cellars of the amstel Hotel’s legendary La Rive Restaurant. It reveals the valuable trade secrets behind the famous signature dishes of Michelin starred La Rive’s starched white brigade of cooks, under the controlling genius of Master Chef Rogér Rassin.

these are directly “paired” with the wine selection advice of the hard-earned, hard-learned black brigade of sommeliers and waiters under charismatic host, Maître Sommelier Ronald opten.

In this section, Dine, La Rive’s top 29 signature and rotational dishes, created and perfected through the last 7 years, are explained by Rogér Rassin, with clear step-by-step instructions, ingredient and supplier listings.

In the Wine section, Ronald opten discloses La Rive’s perfectly matching wine pairings, with some alternative choices depending on your mood and budget.

these pairings have been carefully chosen to enhance and transform the pleasure of their combinations into a series of divine experiences that can now be enjoyed at home.



Roger foto


rogér about the amstel hotel Master chef Rogér Rassin “the amstel GM’s phone call triggered something deep inside me. How could I, even for a moment, resist being head chef of my country’s finest and most beautiful Hotel? How could I not pick up the baton of the highest challenge there is? to aim to always delight the most cultured and knowledgeable guests from here and abroad, and to fulfill all of their expectations, be they personal, business or governmental. I could not say no.”


personal story of a pastry chef I’m a pastry chef from france. I was in a kitchen in france and on the way to be a sommelier. But I was asked if I wanted to go into pastry for a while to help. So I went and discovered pastry and it was WoW, this is my new patient! I just love it.

that was 4 years ago and I decided to dedicate myself to pastry. I am now so happy making every type of dessert for this top restaurant. I try to learn and do everything I can. I imagine a new dessert everyday. Before I go to sleep I write down maybe a new idea with framboise or whatever.

I love the atmosphere here – it’s so much more constructive and supportive than in france. of course its very competitive and hard work but you really feel supported by the Chef and all my colleagues. It’s such positive energy. I wake up and think “yes- I’m going to work!” In other kitchens it’s so stressed and people let you down. Here everyone is helpful and they want to get the best out of each other.

I’m on a 6 months contract but after that I want to stay. one day I will do my own thing but not now, it’s too early. I want to learn and enjoy this experience every day. It’s wonderful.

personal story of a sous chef


I am Rogér’s number 2 in the kitchen. I have been focused on La Rive fine dining but am involved in all sections now. I like to move around the sections, it ensures the transfer of quality throughout and improves the standard overall. I joined La Rive 6 years ago and only began to cook when I came here from thailand with my mum 14 years before. My mum’s food has always been an inspiration. Being here in Holland but enjoying these wonderful, vivid and sophisticated mixes of flavours and textures at home. I studied cooking for 6 years and joined here directly from college. It was amazing because it is so difficult to get a job here. everyone would love to be here. I was very lucky, although I had to work extremely hard to be given the chance. I started as demi chef de partie.

this is an international restaurant so our guests are familiar with many of the flavours of the world. La Rive’s thai curry was developed by me. Chef said, “Why don’t you look at a thai curry.” So I thought about it and asked my mum. She suggested some ingredients. normally thai curry is spicy with more than 20 ingredients. We buy them in the asian supermarkets here. My mum is the best thai cook of course! I created this 4 years ago and it became one of our evergreens. It is back now for the next 8 weeks, as part of La Rive Gauche menu, which makes me very proud. I like to mix asian ingredients and themes along with classic western flavours. It adds interest, depth and more notes to a dish.I recently won the Dutch competition for the best chef or sous chef in Holland. the Goldenkokmuts or Golden Chef’s Hat. they make a final selection of 10 chefs who apply. We each had to propose a 4-course meal and cook it in 150 minutes at their kitchens in amsterdam. the pressure is incredible. Very hard, but you learn so much up against 9 other chefs who are all dedicated to winning with the very best of each course. My mother cried when I won. She was so proud of me.


Raw marinated sc allop with green apple and green herb g azpacho ingredients



gazpacho green herbS

gazpacho green herbS

Serve the gazpacho ice-cold, with a raw scallop

20 g baSil leaveS

Blanche the herbs, add to the food blender and

with lemon.

20 g Dill leaveS

blend. Slowly add oil, add the shallots, green

20 g parSley leaveS

tomatoes, cucumber and chilli, and blend for two

Cut the apple and lemon in wedges. Serve the

20 g mint leaveS

minutes. add the vinegar and water and blend

gazpacho ice-cold with a raw scallop, dress the fruit

50 ml olive oil

for another two minutes. Sift through a sieve and

wedges and garnish with some wild herbs.

75 g ShallotS

season the gazpacho with salt.

500 g green tomatoeS 350 g peeleD cucumber 10 g green chillieS (DeSeeDeD) 50 ml white wine vinegar 100 ml water Salt preSentation 1 granny Smith apple 1 lemon 1 Scallop 100 g wilD herbS (mint, purSlane, bronze fennel)


tar tare of sea bass, n or th Sea crab, watercre ss a nd was abi vinaigre t te ingredients tartare

watercreSS cream

waSabi vinaigrette

320 g baSS fillet

2 buncheS watercreSS

Mix all of the ingredients together until fully

1 lime (zeSt)

200 ml olive oil


1 tbSp finely choppeD chiveS


watercreSS cream

crab clawS (100 g cleaneD)

4 thin SliceS of breaD

Blanch the watercress, rinse cold, then turn the

100 ml arbequina olive oil

1 Sp mayonaiSe (maDe with olive oil)

watercress in the olive oil.




30 g peeleD Dutch ShrimpS


crème fraîche

Sprinkle the slices with olive oil and a little salt and


friSée lettuce

put them in the oven to 160°C.

1 cucumber


1 carrot

blue ocean (koppert creSS)

4 mini carrotS

Scarlet creSS (koppert creSS)


olive oil Sea Salt a few StalkS of chiveS


ice water

Place a cutter on the plate and line the bottom with the tartare of sea bass using a pestle. Garnish with the cream of crabmeat. Remove the cutter. Spray on


the crab cream spaced nicely, create small nodules

waSabi vinaigrette

Skin the fillets of the sea bass and dice them into

of the crème fraîche.

10 ml Soya (kikkoman)

a fine brunoise. add the olive oil, lime zest and

arrange tufts of frisée lettuce with the vegetables,

250 ml grape SeeD oil

chives. Cook the crab claws for 6 minutes, and

arrange cucumber ribbons across the plate. top

185 ml natural vinegar

then cool them immediately in ice water. Mix the

with two quenelles of caviar, ‘Blue ocean’ and

22.5 g Sugar

crabmeat with the mayonaise, lime zest, salt and

‘Scarlet Cress’ (Koppert cress) and watercress

22.5 ml water


cream. Serve the vinaigrette separately.

60 g waSabi paSte 8 g garlic


35 g muStarD

Cut the cucumber into half-moon shapes and strips (using a mandolin). Clean and blanch the carrots. Mix with the olive oil and some sea salt. Cut the chive stalks leaving them long and place them in ice water until they curl.


Violets, rose petals, mascarponemousse and rhubarb bouillon ingredients rhubarb compote

meringue violet

rhubarb juice

800 g rhubarb

100 g egg white

Combine the rhubarb juice, sugar and crème de

150 g Sugar

200 g Sugar

cassis and bring to the boil. add the mint leaves and

1 vanilla Stick

100 ml water

allow to infuse. Sift through a coffee filter, cool,

purple Dye

then include the xantana.

natural biScuit joconDe

7 DropS of violet eSSence

2 eggS

maScarpone mouSSe

1 egg yolk

Bring the cream to the boil with the vanilla; allow

100 g almonD powDer

meringue roSe

to infuse for 2 hours. Soak the gelatin and stir the

100 g icing Sugar

100 g egg white

mascarpone. Bring the cream mix to the boil again

180 g egg white

200 g Sugar

and dissolve the gelatin. add the cream through a

70 g Sugar

100 ml water

sieve to the mascarpone: stir smooth. Lightly beat

80 g flour

reD Dye

the egg yolk with the sugar. then beat air into the

25 g butter

7 DropS of roSe eSSence

egg white and add the sugar. Combine everything.

rhubarb juice


the rhubarb pills. Cover with the rolled and sliced

600 ml rhubarb juice

freSh violetS

Joconde biscuit. Wrap tightly and freeze before

100 g Sugar

Small mint topS


60 ml crème De caSSiS

roSe petalS

fill moulds with the mascarpone mousse. Insert

20 g mint leaveS xantana


meringue violet Boil the water and sugar to 121°C. Lightly whip the egg white, then add the sugar syrup. add food

maScarpone mouSSe

rhubarb compote

colouring and essence and leave until it stiffens.

100 ml cream

Chop the rhubarb, combine and cook all ingredients

form into studs and let dry.

2 vanilla StickS

together in a bowl au bain-marie for 2 hours.

7 ½ gelatin leaveS

Remove the excess moisture with a sieve. Put the

meringue roSe

300 g maScarpone

compote in pill sized moulds and freeze.

Preparation as above.

75 g Sugar

natural biScuit joconDe


375 ml half beaten cream

Combine eggs, egg yolk, icing sugar and almond

150 g egg white

powder, then mix with the sugar and egg white.

Remove the mascarpone mousse from the freezer

50 g Sugar

Blend in the flour, then the melted butter. Sprinkle

to defrost on the plate. arrange the meringue

with beaten egg and bake at 220°C.

studs against the mascarponemousse. Spray the

100 g egg yolk

maScarpone cream

mascarpone cream between the studs.

200 g maScarpone

maScarpone cream

20 g icing Sugar

Stir together until smooth.

Garnish with sprigs of mint and violets.


Strawberrie s with masc arpone and lavender ingredients


Strawberry broth

Strawberry broth

2 kg StrawberrieS

Heat the strawberries au bain-marie until all of the

Shape and form the aspic into a round plug shape.

200 g Sugar

moisture from the strawberries has gone. Place the

Place the aspic plug with a palette on the board.

strawberries on a cloth and squeeze well.

Remove the plug and squeeze the mascarpone

Strawberry aSpic


cream evenly around the aspic.

500 g Strawberry broth

Strawberry aSpic

Garnish with the mini strawberries, cress and

4 gelatin leaveS

Soak the gelatin in cold water. Cut the strawberries

flowers. Place a little of the white chocolate

500 g StrawberrieS

into equally sized slices. arrange them on a plate

powder in the middle of the aspic. add a pinch of

with as little space as possible in between. Bring

strawberry sorbet on the tuille.

maScarpone cream

one-fith of the strawberry broth to the boil, then,

300 g maScarpone

add the squeezed gelatin. add the rest of the broth

100 g hung yoghurt

and spread a thin layer of broth over and around the

40 g icing Sugar

strawberries. Leave to set in the fridge.


maScarpone cream

120 ml freSh orange juice

Smooth and stir all the ingredients together in a

200 g icing Sugar

piping bag with a plain wide nozzle.

100 g Soft butter 80 g flour

tuille Heat the orange juice with the icing sugar. Stir the

Strawberry Sorbet

butter through the sweet juice and add the flour.

1 kg StrawberrieS

Paste into the desired shape on a silicone mat. Bake

100 ml water

the dough at 170째C until golden brown. Remove

140 g Sugar

from the mat and bend the tuille slightly.

80 g glucoSe powDer 4 g Sorbet Stabilizer

Strawberry Sorbet

1 lemon (juice)

Puree the strawberries with the water, then bring to the boil. Mix all dry ingredients together and add to

white chocolate powDer

the boiling liquid. Continue to boil, add the lemon

100 g white chocolate

juice and sieve.

37 g malto powDer

allow to cool and blend until smooth in a food processor.

preSentation variouS kinDS of mini StrawberrieS

white chocolate powDer

lavenDer flowerS

Melt the white chocolate and gradually stir the

limo creSS

malto powder into it.

w i n e PERFECT HARMOnY MaĂŽtre Sommelier Ronald Opten & Black Brigade and Pairings

104 WinE

la rive is a pink cloud “Our guests walk up the red carpet into the imposing lobby and are escorted here through a wood-paneled staircase. Expectations are way up, and I don’t want anyone stressed coming here for dinner. This is not about stress. The reason I am here, with my team, is to help everyone walk into a pink cloud. No stress. Completely relaxed. And when they leave the cloud, they should be delighted with an evening that they will remember as a highlight in their lives.”

102 WinE

happy feeling One dish that appears regularly at La Rive is Cod with Langoustine, lettuce, olive, quinoa and samphire from beside the Dutch dunes. The Cod is soft, translucent and succulent, while the Langoustine adds an extra texture level. It is paired with a white wine from Bandol in Provence, for its Mediterranean feel. It will pick up on the saline touch of the dish so the taste together comes out creamier than the wine is itself, while adding a citrusy, mandarin finish. It tastes soft and makes you feel happy. Ronald Opten says; “If you close your eyes it gives you a feeling of sitting on a terrace by the Mediterranean sea in Marseille.�

98 WinE

rogér and ronald on 1+1 equals 3 “1+1=3 doesn’t just relate to the dish with the wine,” explains Rogér Rassin. “No. It has to be timed perfectly, there has to be the right atmosphere. The food has to delight each person; the wine has to really add to the dish. The atmosphere, all together, has to be great. Then it’s 1+1 equaling 3. “1+1=3 also relates to how we work together,” says Ronald Opten. “Sometimes there are challenges to get the wine to match with certain dishes. We then sit together and negotiate what we have to add or take out to get it perfect. We do this together and either change ingredients in the dish or change to a different style of wine. We want to create harmony together”

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philosophy behind the wine lists We have 2 wine lists. One is called Aroma Impressions. It is not categorised by

We’ve also changed it so that the Collectibles book isn’t just expensive wines.

wine region. The wines are only listed by flavours. ‘Light and refreshing’, ‘Full

I don’t want price to be such a dominant factor or to be a limitation, especially

bodied’, Lightly aromatic’, ‘Powerful & Rich’, and so on. Each flavour has 20

when we can often sell some great wines by the glass.

to 25 wines, in different colours, from around the world that meet that criteria.

Each book should be for everyone so there are some real pearls in Collectibles

Against each wine we describe 3 Aroma’s to the wine such as chamomile, green

for around €70.00. We have some wonderful wines from the Loire Valley, like

apple, citrus so you know what’s coming at you.

nice Chenin Blanc that we bought at the right time. We have a lot of these great

As a team, my 3 sommeliers and I worked hard to make sure the Aroma’s

wines that go up in steps.

perfectly denote each wine and show the price of a bottle and where we can

The most expensive is Chateau Petrus 1982 at €7,500.00 but the most active

serve it by the glass.

is the €80.00 to €300.00 level. My main task is to find reference wines, like

Some people don’t want to go through a whole book. They already know what

Barolo, Barbaresco, Meursault, Puligny, etc. that most people are looking for, at

style they’re looking for. I want to make it easier and simple to read.

great prices.

The other book is called Collectibles. It covers everything we have collected

In that way I can have a wonderful Meursault in different price ranges starting

over time. It has major references on the well-known wine regions. So, for

at €98.00, then Meursault at €120.00, €150.00, €200.00 and €300.00. If

example, if you are looking for a specific Cru in Barolo from Parusso, then this is

you are into it then each is worth its price. If you’re not interested then that’s

the book to look through.

absolutely fine. Everyone gets both books and it’s entirely up to them. The idea that any

This is an evolution of what I did in my previous position at De Vrienden van

restaurant would only give only one book to certain people is so wrong I just

Jacob, and updated for what I think people are looking for.

don’t want to go there. That’s so not us. We want to delight everyone that

Some people say, “I don’t know anything about wine but I know what I like.”

walks in here, no matter what their budgets for wine are.

82 WinE

ronald’s best dining experiences One of my best was in New York. At Per Se by Thomas Keller at Columbus Circle who also owns the French Laundry in California. I was lucky, because I managed to get a table 2 months ahead. For a 3 Michelin star restaurant they have 2 sittings, at 5.30 or 8.30. I took the 5.30 because it has this marvelous view of Central Park. It was outstanding. A hand-written card on the table, welcomed us by name. The food was truly amazing, 12 dishes but not paired, which was surprising because the dishes are so different. Pairing is not so frequent in France or Italy either, but when you have a great match, pairing really makes sense. When I arrived here, the only focus on wines in the cellar was French. I listened to our guests and first I added wines from Italy, then Spain, Austria, Germany the US. I stay focused on what the guests are interested in. I have some returning guests, for instance, who love Opus 1, so naturally we have to have that. I see trends, and decide whether to follow them or not. Good Barolos are standard. I introduce really new wines through the pairings, when appropriate. I introduce more unknown, forgotten or new wines through the pairings, when appropriate.

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Anjou pigeon with bee troot, peas and raspberrie s The pigeon is cooked at low temperature so it’s very soft. Pigeon cooked like

The name Crimson was inspired by the work of the Charitable Conservation

this is normally a great pairing with a nice Burgundy but the vegetables add

Trust known as ‘Project Crimson’. A significant portion of the proceeds from

extra earthy notes and the raspberries add fruit acidity that will push a Burgundy

the sale of Crimson Pinot noir helps to fund this trust, which aims to protect and

over to the wrong side. When you use pigeon liver, for instance, in a sauce with

renew New Zealand’s spectacular red-flowering native ‘Christmas trees’, the

roasting flavours, the Burgundy could work. The earthiness of the beetroots is

Rata and Pohutukawa.

also fine with Burgundy but the raspberries, with their fresh, fruity bite call for a

This wine is very fruit-driven. I love it because it has that powerful fruit that

slightly different direction.

I was looking for, with a red cherry note, raspberry, red berries, and a good acidity level, without the harsher tannic structure and higher acidity of the other

I ventured out to New Zealand. Clive Paton in Martinborough in the south of

Ata Rangi wine or those of a Burgundy.

North Island was a dairy farmer until 1980. He then sold the cows and became

The Crimson Ata Rangi is softer and has a finer style of Pinot noir to play with

a pioneer by planting Pinot noir grapes. This was 10 years ahead of the New

the fillet of pigeon. It still has that nice earthiness to stand up to the beetroots,

Zealand Government supporting the move away from fortified wines by

but brings with it that wonderful soft red fruit that pairs so well with the

subsidising the introduction, and planting, of noble grape varieties from abroad

raspberries in the dish.

such as Pinot noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Riesling. Rogér s pigeon preparation here is perfect. The way he cooks it, slowly in the These grapes do very well in New Zealand because it is a cool climate zone,

beetroot leaves, makes it become butter soft with just the slightest hint of

with a lot of influence from the South Pole bringing in cold air, yet still getting


enough sun. Unlike Burgundy the extra intensity of the sun gives it a riper tannic

As an alternative, even though the Crimson is wonderful with this dish, you

structure, more quickly. The cool nights also help the build up of aromatics in

could go for a good Beaujolais style wine. A Moulin à Vent, in a more powerful

the grapes. You don’t see a lot of Pinot noir grapes in Australia because the heat

stage, has that fruit intensity, without that tannic structure that Pinot noir from

alone is too strong for the grapes. Pinot noir is a grape with a thin skin, it’s very

Burgundy can have.

vulnerable, so you have to be careful where you plant it.

Spätburgunder from the Rheingau or Pfalz area in Germany could work, so long as it hasn’t taken on those tobacco notes. Spätburgunder wines have the nice

Ata Rangi wines are the main result of Clive’s work and he has become the

fruit flavours, without the tannic structure but still with a little complexity.

reference point for Pinot noir in New Zealand. This is not the dish for a big bold wine as the complexity will over-dominate the But the wine I chose for this dish is not Ata Rangi, it is his second wine called

pigeon. A Romanée-Conti would be a waste of Romanée-Conti, so better to

Ata Rangi Crimson.

save it to weave its magic on a more appropriate dish.

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Dover Sole, potato, oys ter and par sley g arlic s auce We serve the Dover Sole fillet, after it has been cooked very naturally at a low

It doesn’t make the oyster ‘pop out’, it creates a balance at the same complexity

temperature, with a creamy soft potato mousseline. It has some Gillardeau

level of the dish, so it can really focus on the Sole. It has a very elegant and

oysters and a little mustard seed, sweet and sour style, in a beurre blanc.

refined style.

I have to pay particular attention to the effect of the creamy textures. There is

The vineyard is very small so it’s maybe not easy to find. Wine for this dish

some acidity, but not so much. I don’t want to overwhelm this refined dish. I

needs elegance, not power, but a nice balance between acidity and backbone.

can’t go with a powerful style Chardonnay. Good alternatives can be found in Southern Burgundy in the Mâconnais district. I discovered a wine from Tenerife, Spain, at a wine fair called ProWein in

A richer style like a Pouilly-Fuissé has the minerality, and the barrel ageing

Dusseldorf, which I became very excited about.

gives it the smoky finish and enough creaminess. Pouilly-Fuissé certainly has the complexity, but a Mâcon-Bussières for instance, might be a little too light in

Trenzado from Suertes Del Marqués, Orotava Valley on Tenerife, is from Listán

richness for that oyster, and the creaminess in the dish.

Blanco, Pedro Ximénez grapes and a Vidueño grown in a volcanic terroir and fermented in 500 liter oak barrels in contact with its skins. It works sublimely

If you want to take a step up you could go to the Côte d’Or in Burgundy for a

with this dish.

nice Puligny-Montrachet. Here I wouldn’t choose a Meursault or ChassagneMontrachet as they have more fattiness, in contrast to the tighter style of the

The Trenzado has a nice acidity level and the smell has a smoky touch with

Puligny-Montrachet, which works so well with the oyster while elevating the

refined hazelnut and the appetite-appealing sense of fresh baguettes. It has


a luscious citrusy start with fresh white fruit. It’s not at all disturbed by the creaminess of the potato, but it does pick up on the minerality of the oyster on the other side.