Restaurant M*** is the culinary pop-up restaurant of MASTERS EXPO. For four evenings and an afternoon in 2019, 23 chefs will cook for a total of 40 stars. This concept, implemented by culinary entrepreneur Carsten Klint, is not only a pleasure ground for gourmets, but also a nirvana for networkers. The knives will be sharpened and the taste buds tested before 2021. Enjoy a little longer...

Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer
Opening image: Good Folk
Photo report: SpecialPixels
Editing: Susan Poeder

"You meet incredibly interesting people here," Hilde Watty tells me, the sponsor of the art project Micky Hoogendijk is showing at Masters of LXRY. "It's not about what you know, but who you know." On the opening night, guests are welcomed with a flûte of sparkling Champagne Philipponnat. Hands are shaken, experiences are exchanged, there is talk and laughter, while amuses such as artichoke bonbon, caviar and tandoori yoghurt are served.

I give Piet Boon a hug, ask Jaguar Land Rover Benelux CEO Marc Bienemann about the situation in the car world and give Micky compliments for her outfit. The evening is a succession of surprises, including performances by the professional singing ministry of Pasta e Basta led by Jolijn Middelhoff and the beats of Hans Stroeve, resident deejay of De Librije.

Intimate dining

Carsten opens the evening with the words "it's a fairy tale you're in". Tafeltje dek je can't beat this, to really every detail is given attention: from the menus and napkin rings to the flowers (thanks to Expo Flora and Silk-ka). Not only the tables, but also the restaurant looks fairy-tale like. Interior designer Mariska Jagt signed with creative schwung for the perfect makeover. She transformed a cold office into a cosy haven.

"I completely took the corporate nature out of it and made it an intimate setting. For example, I covered up the bare floor with carpet, installed my self-designed lamps and tackled the walls with creations by Dofine and art by Micky."

Heaven on Earth

But my gaze is not directed upwards, for heaven is on my plate: white cabbage ravioli with porcini gravy and Amalfi lemon, a dish by Moshik Roth. The creations from the kitchen form a holy trinity with the wines that importer Vinites has selected from the South African wine estate Creation by Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin and the water from S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna.

While the tables are buzzing with conviviality, the kitchen is also buzzing with a friendly atmosphere between chefs on duty Moshik Roth, Erik van Loo, Edwin Vinke, Fred Mustert, Dick Middelweerd and Marcel van Lier. "We all know each other. A bit of chatting, great fun", says Moshik. Vinke complements him: "It's old boys' bread here. Just a party." It is anything but currant bread that the chef of De Kromme Watergang conjures up on the plate. En papillotte prepared celeriac, cauliflower, kimchi, walnut and gold-of-pleasure. A taste sensation that is hard to beat. A fairy tale in itself.

Film worthy material

Jort Kelder, who sits next to me on the other side of the room, laughs: "This is the worst possible start for an evening at work: all that delicious food, all those wonderful South African wines...". His film crew, with whom he's about to go on the exhibition floor, hasn't arrived yet, but this evening in M40 could have provided plenty of footage.

Starring Selwyn Senatori, whom I'm calling upon during the launch of the winter edition of LXRY because he created the festive cover. The artist who lives La Dolce Vita also knew how to correctly evaluate the excellent wines of Vinites, but apparently didn't quite estimate the right amount. As a result... The Selwyn Show! He spontaneously made the blow-up cover, which was actually intended for the Jaguar Land Rover stand (Selwyn is an ambassador for Jaguar), into the first prize of a quiz.

"Who knows how many years Rob Peetom has been a barber?", Selwyn shouts into the microphone. Denise Boekhoorn, sitting at the table in front, guesses 53 years. I look at Selwyn: "What's the answer?" "I have no idea, kid. Hahaha!" Rob Peetoom is called forward, it's about everything and nothing. The answer was wrong, but Denise wins anyway. No rules. No boundaries.

Going once, going twice...

The latter does not apply to the auction of three unique covers of the LXRY LOVE Edition, created by Selwyn, Roland Kahn and Jan des Bouvrie. When it was time for the work of the godfather of Dutch interior design - a compilation of four back covers of cigar boxes containing his sketches - to go up for auction, Yves set a lower limit: 'We start at 1,500 euros. In the end the cover went to Henrico van Lammeren, CEO of Vinites, for four times that amount.

I congratulate him on his purchase and generous donation - the proceeds are destined for the Dutch Heart Foundation. He in turn congratulates me on the pop-up restaurant: "M40 is professional, high-profile and trendsetting. For the first time in three years it has reached a level that suits its ambitions. Top notch cuisine, great guests, hospitality and a good atmosphere."

In addition to Dick Middelweerd's dessert, maracuja with tangerine and five spices (so good, I'll take two), KLM Netherlands director Harm Kreulen also has a nice dessert for those present: KLM house number 100, a miniature version of Palace Huis ten Bosch in The Hague. After the coffee and chocolate surprises, the tables slowly empty and everyone makes their way to the exhibition floor. I walk up a little with the harassed but combative Addy van den Krommenacker. "This was a gift, really great!

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