The terms ‘front of house’ and ‘back of house’ are widely used in the hotel world. The RAI too has many passageways and corridors behind the scenes but goes one step further with a ‘below the house’ area. The extensive network of tunnels under the RAI are used to transport items from A to B out of sight of the guests. While many of the cellars found down here are used for storage, this is also home to the kitchens.
Yes, the RAI's chefs prepare food for our guests at the heart of this underground world. From gala dinner to Dutch bitterballen snacks, from cookies with coffee to an international buffet, they all have their origin in the basement kitchens… Hence the nickname Basement Chefs for the staff who do everything they can to make a culinary success of every event.
In doing so, they have made the choice to use as many products as possible from regional producers and other sustainable collaborations. This approach is incorporated in their regional catering concept called Heartwarming Amsterdam. It allows them to fulfil every catering wish with regional and/or seasonal products while also making a clear choice to do good for society by partnering with local suppliers renowned for their fresh, animal-friendly, sustainable and tasty wares. Made on a small scale, the short distances for transportation further ensure product freshness while reducing CO2 emissions.
In the past our Basement Chefs even developed ketchup made from their own recipe using tomatoes from the Stadskwekerij Osdorp urban farm. In addition to fresh healthy vegetables this farm is dedicated to providing meaningful paid daytime activities and training to its employees.
Waste reduction is also very important for the Basement Chefs. For example, they recently made the RAI employees some delicious cake from a large number of bananas that were about to go off. Other culinary finds that the RAI staff love are pesto & herb butter made with wild garlic from the Amsterdam forest and pesto using organic goat cheese from the Ridammerhoeve farm.
In addition to the kitchens, there is one meeting room in the Basement. The office staff occasionally hold meetings there and usually find some fine snack treats on the conference table. Friday afternoon in particular is a popular time to meet in the Basement, yet another reason why it can be called the hotspot of the RAI.