Discover Benelux, Issue 69, September 2019

Page 54

Michelin-starred luxury on Texel TEXT: MAYA WITTERS  |  PHOTOS: BIJ JEF

Texel harbours some surprising gems for those who make the trip to this peaceful haven. Despite its rural outlook, the island is home to Michelinstarred restaurant Bij Jef. Those who come to experience chef Jef Schuur’s magnificent cooking, are advised to stay the night in the eponymous hotel: breakfast is just as impressive as dinner, and served in as many courses. “We are truly spoiled on this island.” Texel, the biggest of the Wadden Islands in the very north of the Netherlands, is a quiet paradise for those seeking solitude, space and calm. As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the islands are shield54  |  Issue 69  |  September 2019

ed from high-rise builds and big hotel chains. This, however, has not stopped the locals from developing an offering of luxurious boutique hotels, bringing visitors the highest level of comfort in addition to a restorative environment. Bij Jef is foremost among these. “Our business has been developing steadily over the last 24 years, going through plenty of changes along the way,” reminisces owner and chef Jef Schuur. “I was born on this island, and even as a kid, my dream was to own my own restaurant here one day. That dream materialised when I was 25, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Recognition for hard work In 2009, chef Jef’s delectable cooking was awarded with a Michelin star, which the establishment has managed to keep for the past ten years. Unsurprising, given Jef’s insatiable thirst for progress. “To me, stagnation means decline. I always want to make things even better, more refined, more vibrant. We never stop working to improve,” he attests. Does the Michelin star add extra pressure on top of his own ambitions? “Not at all,” shrugs Jef. “It’s a nice recognition for the work we do, and it brings us joy to be appreciated. It also helps us reach a wider, international audience. But I don’t