Jonnie Boer is head chef of the three Michelin starred restaurant De Librije in Zwolle. He runs the restaurant together with his wife Thérèse (1971), a master of wine and hostess. Jonnie and Thérèse have two children, Jimmie and Isabelle.
Jonnie Boer was born in Giethoorn where his parents had a café, De Harmonie. He attended the private chef course in Groningen. When this was completed he went to Amsterdam to work at the Lido. Subsequently, he worked at star restaurant the Boerderij at the Leidseplein, which is where he acquired the taste for real cooking. When Jonnie Boer read that there was a restaurant in Zwolle using regional products, he applied to Mr Meijers for a job and was employed by him. After a year as trainee chef and at the age of 23 he became head chef.
In 1993 Jonnie and Thérèse took over De Librije together. Shortly after this they got their first Michelin Star. In 1997 Jonnie became SVH-master chef (Dutch Association of Restaurant Professional Skills). In 1999 the second star followed and Jonnie became the youngest two star chef in the Netherlands. In 2000 Jonnie and Thérèse published the book PUURDER (Purer), the sequel to the book PUUR (Pure). Two years later the books ‘Puur Natuurlijk’ (Naturally Pure) and ‘Natuurlijk Genieten’ (Enjoy Naturally) followed suit.
In 2003 they joined the reputable association Tradition & Qualité Les Grandes Tables du Monde (tradition & quality of the great tables of the world). In 2004, De Librije was the second restaurant in the Netherlands to receive a third star.
Jonnie Boer was often asked by guests if they could buy jelly, jam, or dressing, as it was served, in De Librije. That was why Jonnie and Thérèse decided to start Librije’s Shop, which opened in September 2005. In that year Jonnie Boer also become Ridder in the Orde van Oranje Nassau (Knight of the Orange Nassau Order). In 2006 the culinary couple started Food on Tour, the De Librije catering business. The purchase of the Spinhuis, a listed building from 1739 which was used as a prison until 2004, also took place in 2006. The start of the extensive refurbishment to ‘Librije’s Hotel’ could commence. In the RTL4 docudrama ‘Pure Passie’ (Pure Passion) the producers wanted to show the progress of the hotel and how great Jonnie and Thérèse’s profession is. On 25 May 2008 a wish they both had dreamed of for a long time was fulfilled. On this day Librije’s Hotel officially opened its (centuries old) monumental doors.
In November 2008, half a year after the opening, Jonnie and Thérèse, together with the young kitchen staff, also received a Michelin Star for the Librije’s Zusje (Little Sister) restaurant, which is also established in the former prison, just like Librije’s Atelier and the cooking and wine school. In this year Jonnie won the Eckhart Witzigmann prize from the Deutschen Akademie für Kulinaristik (German Culinary Academy). In November 2011, Librije’s Zusje was awarded its second Michelin Star.
On the 3rd and the 4th of June 2012 organised by Jonnie and Thérèse Boer with the team of Port Culinaire and Thomas & Carola Ruhl the first edition of Chefs (R)Evolution – the Dutch Avantgarde Cuisine Festival in Zwolle, the Netherlands. This gastronomic successful festival consisted cooking demonstrations supervised by international high-class chefs in De Spiegel theatre, a Wijn & Spijspaleis (Wine & Food palace) arranged by the best Dutch restaurant owners, cooking competitions, special wine workshops, tasting rooms and the BOERenmarkt (Farmers Market).
On 3 June 2012, during the first day of the festival, the last book of Jonnie and Thérèse’s trilogy was published, called PUURST (Purest). This book won the prestigious ‘best chef cookbook in the world’ prize in February 2013.
In December 2013 it was announced that Jonnie and Thérèse will take on advisory for all drinking an dining options at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on the Herengracht in Amsterdam. This restaurant is called ‘Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam’ and opened on the 1st of May 2014.
On the 14th and 15th of September 2014 Jonnie and Thérèse organized the successful second edition of Chefs (R) Evolution once again in collaboration with the team of Port Culinaire and Thomas & Carola Ruhl. Chefs (R) Evolution this year was even bigger start by adding new components to the program.
Since the 20th of January 2015 Restaurant The Librije moved from the former Dominican monastery to the courtyard of Librije’s Hotel. De Librije installed a glass roof and climate control and the restaurant also has an open kitchen and a chef’s table. One great advantage of this new design is that guests are able to enjoy a complete Librije experience, with everything under one roof: the hotel rooms, the shop and a school for cookery and wine.
As a result of the relocation Librije’s Zusje is located in Amsterdam since the 31th of December 2014, where Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam has been based in the Waldorf Astoria since the 1st of May 2014.