Netherlands - De Bloemenbeek & Carelshaven
Maîtres Hôteliers Raymond Strikker & Alco van Berkel
An intertwined history and unique collaboration

Located in the beautiful Dutch region of Twente are De Bloemenbeek Country House Hotel and Restaurant (Maître Hotelier Raymond Strikker) and Langoed Hotel with its Restaurant Carelshaven (Maître Hotelier Alco van Berkel).

Twente is close to the German border in the east of The Netherlands. It is a region of great historical importance for the country because of its great natural beauty and especially its textile industry.

Carelshaven (established in 1772) is the oldest hotel in Twente and in the 1970s it was the first restaurant in the east of the country to be awarded a Michelin Star.

De Bloemenbeek (dating from 1906) was initially a farmhouse with a public tasting room and accommodation. It has been in the family of current owner Raymond Strikker for 52 years. More than 30 years ago his parents realized that, given its remote location, the restaurant had to distinguish itself on a culinary and gastronomic level.

They recruited the Head Chef of Carelshaven, already in possession of a Michelin Star, who within four years gastronomically transformed the kitchen. He was succeeded by Michel van Riswijk, who has been Head Chef at De Bloemenbeek for the last thirty years. In the same year, Raymond Strikker took over from his parents and they both celebrated their 30th anniversary in 2018. De Bloemenbeek was awarded a Michelin Star in 2011.

Nowadays, the use of local and regional products is very popular, but both De Bloemenbeek and Carelshaven have been using local and regional products for decades. This was possible because of the agricultural setting of the restaurants and the herbs grown in their own gardens.

At one stage Carelshaven even employed its own gardener to grow produce for the restaurant. The vegetable garden no longer exists but the vegetables the restaurant uses are now being grown in the organic vegetable gardens of the adjacent Castle Twickel. De Bloemenbeek sources its vegetable requirements in co-operation with the local country estate of Singraven.

After a very successful period, business at Carelshaven waned, but since the arrival of new owners Alco and Evelyn van Berkel in 2014, there has been a marked revival. Alco van Berkel motivated and inspired his staff by visiting Restaurant De Bloemenbeek.

During that visit Raymond Strikker indicated that Carelshaven once set a shining example for De Bloemenbeek, now the roles were reversed. Daniel Nijkamp, the current Head Chef at Carelshaven, previously worked as a sous-Chef under Michel van Riswijk of the Bloemenbeek!

Now both back to full glory, the restaurants have produced Sous-Chefs for the Dutch Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition: Michel Oude Booijink of De Bloemenbeek won in 2017 and came second at the International Final in Frankfurt. Rick Stehr from Carelshaven won the 2018 National Final but unfortunately just missed out being in the 1-2-3 at the International Competition in Taiwan.

Raymond Strikker and Alco van Berkel are already busy with preparations for a Grand Chapitre in a region where the motto ‘Noaberschap’ (lit. “help thy neighbour”) still thrives.

This historic neighbourly friendliness and helpfulness is embedded in the genes of the people of the eastern Netherlands and is successfully represented in a unique collaboration between the Chaîne member establishments De Bloemenbeek and Carelshaven.

Cressida Esmann-Hakvoort
Chargée de Presse