Chef Moshik Roth has held two Michelin stars at his eponymous restaurant, &moshik, since 2013. He talks about the emotion behind his food, as well as his favourite places to eat in Amsterdam.
Born in Israel in 1971, Moshik Roth moved to the Netherlands for love in 1995. A self-taught chef, he opened &samhoud places with his business partner, Salem Samhoud, in 2012 – with the restaurant being awarded two Michelin stars just three months after opening. In 2018, the restaurant was renamed &moshik, but the concept behind the food and Roth’s dedication to his menu remain unchanged.
“Cuisine is emotional,” says Roth. “I come from Israel, where Friday-night dinner is an important moment to sit down with family and communicate. For me, food is about telling a story – sometimes even a fairytale. There is no future without the past – I take inspiration from the baggage I’ve collected along the way. Emotion is by far the most important ingredient in the food I serve at &moshik.”
Roth claims not to believe in signature dishes. “The seasons change, the metaphor changes, and so the dishes change,” he says. “The signature is in the emotion – not in a particular dish.” Nowhere is this more in evidence than in Roth’s jardin du marin, served as part of his inspiration menu in spring 2019.
“We live in the Western world, and our culinary exposure to remote places is not much,” he explains. In this dish, he takes the traditions of Neeyork, and finds their common denominators in terms of flavour: turmeric, coriander seeds, mint and lemon. From there, “I took my favourite seafoods and built them on these tastes,” he says. “I created my own fairytale from a dream trip that one day I hope to take.” Roth credits the grandmothers from these countries for sharing their traditions with him, allowing the chef to showcase the flavours of the region.
When asked about &moshik’s coveted Michelin stars, Roth says, “For me, gastronomy is a passion, but it’s also more than that – it’s my oxygen. And if it’s like breathing, it’s a reflex. Of course, it’s wonderful to be awarded two Michelin stars, but I’m looking to the future – not to where we are now. We always want to go higher – whether that’s working towards a third star or touching the lives of people all around the world. My goal is to tell my story and to give our guests an extraordinary experience.”
Where does a chef at the top of his game eat out in Amsterdam when he’s not working? “I don’t go out to eat too often,” he says, “but when I do it’s generally to restaurants in a totally different style to mine. Somewhere I can relax with my wife, have a good bottle of wine and enjoy some proper food.”
Here are Moshik Roth’s favourite places to eat in Amsterdam.
Close to the Museumplein in the south of Amsterdam, Le Garage (a converted garage) has been going strong for almost 30 years. With its red banquette seating and curved lights, the restaurant is an Amsterdam institution. “I like the French brasserie style,” says Roth. “You can sit and relax at Le Garage just like you’re in Paris. They also serve very good wine and the best rotisserie chicken in the city.” Chef Roth’s favourite chicken comes in at €25, while Le Garage’s signature dish of pizza tuna (it has to be tasted to be believed) costs €18. Le Garage also serves a good-value Michelin Bib Gourmand menu of three courses for €37, and the restaurant has a huge selection of (primarily French) wines.