Suriname’s well-known and still our reigning pastry chef of the year! Xaviera has been with the Suriname Culinary Team since 2013. She is well-known for her Surinamese cakes, like viadu, keksi and more.
Read about how she started in the article: Who’s the Chef? Xaviera Mijnhijmer.
In our first interview, you stated that it is fairly difficult to choose a favorite ingredient, but that chocolate and fruits should always be on hand in your kitchen, next to sugar. Do you have now have one or more favorite ingredients that are a must in your kitchen?
My other favorite ingredients are fresh fruits. I make confiture (edit: jam) or crémeux (creme) with them.
You’ve come far in the industry since we’ve met. Was it a difficult path to walk?
It wasn’t a difficult path, but a very very hard-working path to be honest. I’ve had many late nights, some sleepless nights too, but in the end, it is all worth it.
You’ve been with the Suriname Chefs Association for a few years. Do you think, know, if the goals as written by the starting board members have been reached?
I don’t think we have met all the goals, yet, but we have reached some.
How has the Surinamese cuisine changed since our interview in 2014?
Because of the shortsighted people, we didn’t reach the biggest goal for Surinamese Cuisine as yet. For me, that is creating One National Dish.
People in this country hold on to too many traditions. And that’s holding Suriname back in the Gastronomy world.
Has the Surinamese cuisine evolved in the last 6 years?
I don’t really think that the Surinamese Cuisine has evolved much, in the last 6 years. In Suriname, we have a wide range of ingredients. But Surinamese do not want to let go of traditional dished. It must be just like my grandmother made it 500 years ago. They should be more open now and not be afraid to try new things.
Surinamese often think that our Pom, Pastei, and Bami (noodles) is our thing. While that is not precisely the case. These dishes come from all over the world. For Suriname we do not yet have a culinary dish, a national dish. We’re not there yet. We are far below in terms of culinary skills. Those who have been abroad are one step ahead. So let’s work together to achieve our goals so that we can present a beautiful product for this country.
Often enough we bring the foreigner to a Warung or something similar, which does not count for much, who cannot use the traditional authentic herbs either. They make a noodle with soy sauce and hot pepper… finished! And that is not what it’s supposed to be.
I was very ashamed when an Indian man took an American on a tour and brought him for a noodle, a saoto… really? How does that define our country?
There is nowhere really good noodles or nasi (fried rice) to be found. It is no longer authentic. When I see such things, I wonder what the level is where we want to be. Why can’t we think broader and go beyond what we have to offer now? Suriname must have a unique product and we can only do this together.
Do you think we have yet to expand our Surinamese cuisine culture? How would you change this?
Yes! We need to expand. The change will come when we start to educate the Surinamese food industry. Professional Chef’s need to educate themselves that flavors can go so many different ways.
D-Luxe Magical Sweets. A bakery still growing. How do you see your bakery in 2025? Keeping the new normal in mind of course.
In 2025, I see myself opening a bigger kitchen in a more central location. Somewhere in the City. I’m thinking beyond the sky ❤️!
Thank you again for your honest answers. Do you have anything else you would like our readers to know?
Let’s Work Together! This is the only way we can progress to raise Culinary Suriname~ Xaviera Mijnhijmer