Joey and Jody have been running Restaurant Zenith on Koninginnelaan in Apeldoorn for almost 2 years, he is in charge of the kitchen and she is the hostess.
“… and we’ve always wanted to start our own business”
What was it like to start your own restaurant?
Jody: “During both of our careers, we were given certain positions in a company with a lot of responsibility. You develop yourself in this and it is great that an employer offers you the opportunities for this. At some point we both came to the conclusion: maybe we can do it ourselves. Instead of doing it for someone, actually be able to do it yourself. I think it actually came naturally to us. Joey has been a chef in several companies, in particular I have been a hostess and restaurant manager. In this you want to expand yourself and relieve others. We are still very young and it came our way when I was 25.”
How did you end up in Apeldoorn?
Jody: “I know Leon and Esther, the previous owners who had Sizzles at this location. I’ve had the pleasure of working for them and we’ve each always wanted to start our own business. Esther sent me a message , if we were open to a conversation. They moved, and that’s how it happened.”
Born: July 4, 1992
Brothers Sisters: 1 brother
In love, engaged, married: in love
Most proud of: Zenith
Be inspired by: cultures and nature
loves: cooking and eating
What book is on your bedside table: none
What can they wake you up at night for: spontaneous holiday
“I (Jody) think that the more practically educated usually come earlier into the picture for good hospitality”
What can the people of Zenith expect?
Jody: “Very good quality food. A gastronomic experience, a pleasure for the taste buds. A real night out, not just eating and standing outside after an hour. It is actually an evening-filling programme. Enjoy Joey’s cooking.”
Where did you learn the trade and gain experience, Joey as a cook and Jody as a hostess?
Jody: “I believe that a high school is not the basis for a real top hostess. A hotel school focuses more on management and numbers, your turnover and goals. I think the more practically educated are usually more likely to enter the picture for good hospitality. Hospitality is real passion and experience. You can’t teach guest contact, it’s in you. You can give tools to make it a little easier, with cordiality and openness, the feeling. You can’t learn it, it’s in it or it’s not. At 15, I started working in a Michelin-starred restaurant, where the theory of my regular training didn’t really fit. School was very important to me and I definitely wanted to finish it. I did that with one day of school and 4 days of work. In addition, I have managed to excel by taking special courses alongside my regular education.”
“I (Joey) did the regular chef training for 2 years and the Cas Spijkers Academy for 4 years. A more highly regarded study for chefs”
Born: February 27, 1994
Brothers Sisters: 1 brother and 4 sisters
In love, engaged, married: in love
Most proud of: Zenith
Be inspired by: Different people/things around me
What book is on your bedside table: The house of unwanted girls from
What can they wake you up at night for: horses
Joey: “We’ve had very different careers, which now coincide well. I did the regular chef training for 2 years and the Cas Spijkers Academy for 4 years. A highly regarded study for chefs. More specialized, this is where theory and practice come closer together. Attention is also paid to pastry, bread, game, meat and fish. Really focused on talent development. Even when it comes to language, everything is always available for the kitchen. One day a week theory and the other days just work. I was in a class of six and every other week there was a boss and you were in charge of the whole process. This is how you have built up your experience. From the academy, you work in a restaurant for a year. After the academy I went full time in Rotterdam at
a 2 star company. Then to Zeeland in a 1-star business in Cadzand. Then we returned to one of my older training companies, ‘De Swarte Ruijter’ in Holten as deputy manager, and there we found each other. Also worked in Amsterdam and now here in Apeldoorn.”
Who else is around you?
Joey: “In addition to Jody, there are 2 full-time employees next to her in the ministry and some part-time employees. In the kitchen, 2 full-time employees and an apprentice. My sous chef came from Amsterdam.”
How many guests can you have and where will they come after?
Jody: “Maximum capacity in terms of places is around 50, officially we have 56 places. On average, we assume 45 envelopes. We can vary in this regard. We can place 6 or 8 chairs around the large table.”
“Our guests are really open to a surprise, they trust our concept for it”
Joey: “Most people come for a surprise menu of 4 to 7 courses. We also have an à la carte menu for people who really need it. We really offer a wide selection for our regular guests to enjoy. And we always discuss with the guest what they are open to. In the surprise menus, I can really show my qualities, where enjoyment is always paramount. Our guests are really open to a surprise because they trust our concept. There is mutual respect for each other.”
Jody: “Our concept is really ‘fine dining’. With multi-course menus, refined dishes, good gastronomy, a real night out. The overall picture, as we believe it should be, should be Zenith.”
Where do you get your stuff from?
Jody/Joey: “Many different suppliers, especially local ones, we are very aware of that. Special suppliers with short lines. We have our own kitchen garden where I grow all kinds of herbs for our kitchen. Completely under your own management, you work on it every day. The kitchen garden has actually become a new hobby, but entirely at the service of Zenith.”
Can vegetarians join us here too?
Joey: “I really enjoy cooking vegetarian food. It’s not like they get twice as much garnish as a main course, but I really make a separate vegetarian main course and not the same plate without meat or fish. The demand for vegetarian food is increasing.”
What kind of people know where to find Zenith?
Jody: “It’s very broad. Everyone is welcome here. They are the enthusiasts, they know where to go. It goes from 20 to 80, everything is mixed together. Everyone can enjoy themselves here.”
What effect has the corona crisis had?
Jody: “It was a tough time. We’ve had 10 working days. We fell out of all arrangements, we had nothing, really nothing at all, just fixed costs which we tried to cover by making back our take away concept, and we finally succeeded. It’s actually a miracle that we exist. We started by flying ourselves around different neighborhoods in Apeldoorn with the menu we could offer. We didn’t have any name recognition yet, in fact we were behind 10-0 . And yet we are still very grateful to the people of Apeldoorn for what we have been able to build business and we have been able to build a steady customer base to this day. Which we are very proud and grateful for. The case has managed to survive on its own. In return, there is great loyalty from your employees. Day in, day out, work very hard with each other, be inventive so you stay interesting and your guests keep seeing you .The quality and mouth word of mouth has helped us with that. Back then, a tear was sometimes shed. We are proud of where we are now. The goal is happy guests, a well-functioning business and a healthy company.”
How do you keep the line between ‘business’ and private, where do you get your relaxation from?
Jody: “Yes, we think that is very important. We do not want the ‘old school’ times that we ourselves have experienced, and that we do not have to deal with the matter day and night. This also applies to the staff. So we said: no more long working days, no more five-day working weeks, but four days if possible, and fortunately it is very often possible. I really need my free time for my hobby besides work. My hobby is not just work. But it is important and then it is about my animals, including my horses. With my horses, I really am in another world.”
Joey: “I have the kitchen garden and my work is also my hobby and vice versa, very simple.”
Where do you want to be in 5 to 10 years?
Jody: “I hope that Zenith is still what it is. That we have evolved in cooking techniques, but also in the front. I hope that by then Zenith has been converted to the ideas we have in mind. Especially on Koninginnelaan. We definitely don’t want to leave here. The property itself has so much potential. We will be happy for the next 5 years.”