Behind every culinary story lies a host of driven people. De Stadt Van Luijck too would not exist without these driving forces. Meet our team, a group of young, talented and ambitious high-flyers in the kitchen and the dining room.

Pajtim Bajrami
Chef

"My entire youth has been about cooking. I was never interested in going out, I just wanted to be the best at finding the right combination of flavours. I was able to gain experience in a variety of top kitchens and to see what (not) to do. Now I’m at the helm, I try to outdo myself at all times. My wife Ardita is a huge and very welcome support in this enterprise and, along with the rest of the team, we try to create a culinary experience
that will long be remembered.

"I strive for perfection every day. Every plate that leaves my kitchen must entrance people.”

Willem Sels
Sous-Chef

At just 22, Willem is one of the youngest talents in the kitchens of De Stadt Van Luijck. Willem’s passion for cooking emerged at a tender age and he started work in the restaurant soon after leaving training. His career started in patisserie and he worked slowly but surely towards becoming Pajtim's right-hand man.
 

​Willem applies the same standards and his ambition is to create a fully-fledged kitchen.

Keanu Loomans
Maître d'Hôtel

"I was fifteen when I ended up in the catering industry without any previous experience, via a learning-contract. It didn't take long before my interest in wines, cheeses and general gastronomy shone through. I was given the opportunity to work in various quality establishments in Limburg and the surrounding area, both front-of-house and in the kitchens, and it was there that I discovered my passion for this area."
 

​"It was my dream to work as the head waiter at a location such as this and I seized the opportunity with both hands. I love a slightly relaxed, homely atmosphere in which people feel at home and can really be pampered. Personally, I am hugely enthusiastic about food and drink in general so I’m always open to improvements or innovation."

Gunther Craninx
Sommelier

Gunther also developed a passion for cooking at a young age. “I love pampering people. I discovered my passion for wines while I was training at the hotel school in Herk-de-Stad and then specialised in wines and beverages at Ter Duinen in Koksijde. Since then I have won a number of prestigious awards such as the ‘Meilleur Jeune Sommelier du Val de Loire’ and ‘Trofee Jo Vanderhassel’.”

 

“Above all, a good wine must offer good value for money so that it always meets expectations. I still rely on traditional wine tasting to select our wines, and the flavour and finish are always the key criteria. I have a preference for European wines and you will see that manifested in the most varied way in the choice of wines with the dishes. There is always a French wine in there somewhere, but we also have Belgian, German and Italian wines, always depending on the dish served.”