London's up-and-coming chefs
Bjorn van der Horst: fabulously inventive
The wild cardBjorn van der Horst, 33, La NoisetteSon of a Dutch father and a Spanish mother, born in Switzerland and raised in New York, the UK and France, about to marry a Canadian – 33-year-old Bjorn van der Horst could have pretty well gone anywhere, but has decided to put down roots down in London. This month he will open La Noisette in partnership with Gordon Ramsay Holdings, a restaurant on the site of Jamie Oliver’s former Monte’s and the short-lived Pengelley’s eatery. Van der Horst has been living in London for just over two years, coming to lead the kitchen at Mayfair’s sophisticated Greenhouse, where he acquired a reputation for fabulously inventive dishes such as foie gras with espresso syrup and amaretto foam – a dish he first developed while working in America.
In January 2006, the Michelin Guide publicly tipped The Greenhouse as a prime contender for a second star; van der Horst left (officially) in early February. ‘It was a tremendous honour, that’s what we strive for, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do my own thing.’ For La Noisette he’s promising whole roasted cuts of meat, rotisserie chicken, tableside cooking and a very light lunch menu. ‘Nothing too philosophical: high-quality ingredients cooked perfectly with straightforward flavours. We had a lot of fun at The Greenhouse, but as time goes on we mature a little – I know I have. I’m very clear now about where I stand and what I enjoy eating.’
La Noisette, 164 Sloane St, SW1X 9QB (020 7750 5000) Knightsbridge tube. Scheduled to open July 17.