Executive Chef Cliff House Hotel, Director F&B operations – CLIFF, Ireland
A strong sense of place, respect for local ingredients and a deep understanding of the seasons define Martijn Kajuiter’s style of cooking.
Born in 1974 in Groningen in the Netherlands, Martijn learned about food the old-fashioned way- first from his parents in their restaurant, progressing to a traditional culinary college education. There he learned the main skills he needed to start on a career path which took him to top restaurants in Holland and the UK.
An apprenticeship working under names such as Pierre Koffman, Michel Roux Senior and Marco Pierre White, honed his craft and an opportunity to work as Head Chef in the newly opened Restaurant De Kas in Amsterdam under Gert Jan Hageman in 2000 cemented his ethos of using the best local, seasonal produce. In six years Martijn created one of Holland’s most exciting and successful restaurants.
When the opportunity arose to come to Ireland in 2007 to create House Restaurant at the newly launched Cliff House Hotel in Ardmore, Co. Waterford, Martijn had a vision that combined the knowledge he had gained from all the mentors he had worked alongside.
He knew what he had to do – he set about getting to know the fishermen, farmers, foragers, butchers and gardeners around Ardmore in Waterford. He created a small nursery in the grounds of the hotel to grow herbs and vegetables and worked with the St Raphael’s Center in Youghal where people with special needs grow seasonable vegetables outdoors.
From the beginning, he was determined to put fresh, local and seasonal food back on the map and Martijn is proud to be at the forefront of a revolution which has seen top chefs reject imported, processed food in favour of quality Irish ingredients.
Once he had sourced, grown and gathered the best local produce, he used his skills to create modern, innovative and authentic menus at Cliff House Hotel – food of the terroir of Ireland, and a Michelin star soon followed. The House Restaurant has since achieved four AA Rosettes, one of only two restaurants in Ireland to currently hold this accolade.
Martijn has a strong sense of social responsibility and respect for the producers he works with. The flexibility in his menus allow him to serve unique dishes with whatever produce arrives at the kitchen door and this is crucial to his culinary philosophy.
As Executive Chef of The Cliff House Hotel and Director of F&B operations for the Cliff Group, Martijn’s vision can be seen throughout the Cliff properties in Ardmore, at the Cliff Townhouse in Dublin and in Cliff at Lyons in Kildare.
Martijn is driven in his quest for quality, authenticity and consistency and is respected for his knowledge and vision which can be seen in his two books – The Cookbook (2009) and Lets Go Disco (2012). He continues to learn and innovate to ensure House Restaurant remains at the forefront of modern Irish cuisine.