After working across The Netherlands at restaurants such as Scholteshof, De Bokkedoorns and Get Laurierblad, Jacob Jan Boerma and his wife Kim Veldman decided to open their own restaurant in 2002. They didn’t want anyone to know its official opening date so that they would have time to perfect it.

Despite trying to hide, Michelin walked in on the second day — while the toilets were still not working. Boerma couldn’t hide. He earned his first star. By 2006, De Leest was awarded a second star and then a third in 2013.

Boerma closed his famed restaurant in December 2019 and moved to The White Room in Amsterdam, where he serves as signature chef.