As a seventeen-year-old, Kokmeijer started at ‘De Twee Schouwtjes’ in Medemblik, followed by ‘De Swaen’, ‘De Hoefslag’, ‘De Gieser Wildeman’ and ‘Karpendonkse Hoeve’, all well-known and respected restaurants. He became a sous-chef at ‘Le Merlet’ in Schoorl. Throughout these years of gaining experience he kept on running in to Arjan Speelman on different occasions, who also steadily built his career in the esteemed restaurants. When Onno Kokmeijer was approached to lead the top restaurant in Hotel Okura Amsterdam, he immediately knew he wanted Arjan Speelman to be his right hand man.
And so their culinary journey together started in 2003, on the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura Amsterdam. From the beginning they set a high bar, which resulted in the first Michelin star in 2005. Michelin awarded the team of Ciel Bleu Restaurant with a second Michelin star in 2007. Onno was 33 years old at that time. In 2008 Onno Kokmeijer achieved the SVH Master Title ‘Meesterchef’, which is the highest degree for chefs in the Dutch hospitality industry.
Describe your culinary philosophy in 4 words…
Passionate, Innovative, Explorative & Dedication
How did you feel when you were awarded your first Michelin star?
Emotional and appreciated, but above all very proud of the entire team who made this happen. It required a lot of time and energy to reach this milestone. On the other hand, when you receive the first Michelin star, you need to strive for the second Michelin star in order to maintain the first star. It’s a way of life.
What is your greatest inspiration?
All chefs who put effort in me, who taught me the craft of cooking and stimulated me to follow several courses to improve myself. In addition, my parents are a great inspiration to me, since they have always supported and motivated me to achieve my goals.
What three things would you take to a desert island?
My family, equipment to make fire and a chef’s knife
* 2 Michelin Stars
* SVH Master Title ‘Meesterchef’
Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Ferdinand Bolstraat 333
1072 LH Amsterdam
+31 20 678 7111