Sometimes I have to answer the question how I got into this wonderful profession and I always say: “It’s all Henk Tuin’s fault!”
In 1978, I was 15, was at boarding school, and I was home for 2 weeks during the Easter holidays. Shortly before, Ton Fagel, at the time owner of Bistro Klein Paardenburg in my hometown Ouderkerk, calls with my mother to ask if I could replace the sick dishwasher (Omar, who wanted to marry my sister when she was 11) for 2 weeks. My mother immediately said yes, Ton sputtered a bit to “don’t ask Julius about that”, but my mother said I could, which was true!
The first day was of course hell, I had no idea, one big mess where I also cut myself twice, blood all over the place… The 2nd day I got it and even liked it, and the 3rd day…, Omar was better! My parents were regular guests in the Bistro, with or without us, so Ton had a hard time sending me home. “Then you go into the cold kitchen…” and so suddenly I was under the wings of chef Henk Tuin making salads and other cold things, too cool for words. So that’s how it came about, the seed was planted by Henk (I was later allowed to say Henk).
When Henk started his own business in Aujourd’hui (Cornelis Kruzemanstraat) I was there almost immediately, but now as a guest, who wanted Henk’s egg, but without truffle! Chef Ron (Blaauw) was not happy with me, but I was with them because they cooked my kitchen, nice and classic. La Ciboulette was his second place, in Fort Kwadijk, extremely clumsy in a bunker, but also a cool place. And good!
I fondly remember the few times we cooked together in the last few decades. The preparations for the big Bocuse dinner in the Kauwgomballenfabriek (“Keep those big pans off, I’m not going to participate anymore…”) and with Kraan, Alain and Constant Fonk behind the Patton grill at the Bosch on one of the unique sounds parties.
Henk passed away on October 10 and I just know a few who will really miss him (I am one of them).