Home » Restaurant

About the


A brief history of the restaurant

Often times guests would ask me which room my favourite is. I would always reply that I love every single one of them, because after all, I personally designed, built, and furnished the interior of all of them bit by bit, so they all have a special place in my heart, almost like they’re my children.

There is, however, one special room I hold dear even more. Through its large window in the back wall, you could see the river Geul happily flowing along up close and the mountain ranges forming a gorgeous skyline beyond. When the sun shines, it would fill the room to the brim with warm sunlight. When the old magnolia tree in the garden blooms, the view from the window would colour all manners of pink. The scenery is truly unrivaled; the only place you could find it, is the kitchen of the hotel. I would often joke that this must be the most beautiful kitchen on the planet.

Alas, I am no chef; me opening a restaurant seemed like a ridiculous notion. Guests would often ask me why I didn’t open one. As someone who only knows how to fry eggs and boil a hotch-potch of vegetables into a bland soup, I can say that, though I might want to, I simply don’t have what it takes to open a restaurant. Cooking is like drawing: to do it is easy, to master it, far from easy.

Then one day, a guest named Annelies appeared. She gave me the chance I needed to realise my hope of opening a restaurant, and even though the work is almost done as of writing, it still feels like a sweet, unreal dream to me. Below I will explain why that is.

Annelies loved the environment and atmosphere of the hotel, and the coffee I roasted. The second time she and her husband visited, once again they asked why the restaurant is still not open, to which I can only express my feeling of nolens volens. In reality, the kitchen was already almost fully equipped, but it lacked a soul most elusive: a capable chef. Without it, there would be no point in opening a restaurant.

Understanding my problem, Annelies told me she would ask her uncle, who is an excellent chef, now retired, that worked at the Kurhaus for twenty whole years as chef de cuisine. He happened to live in Schin op Geul; perhaps he could help me find someone suitable. At the time, I understood her offer as merely a kind gesture; I didn’t expect to hear back. However, two days later when she was checking out, Annelies left me the number of her uncle, Koos van Noort, and told me I could expect a call from him to see what my possibilities are. It was then I realised her offer was genuine, and she really wanted to help me with opening a restaurant.

In the evening, I chatted with a neighbour about this, and his jaw dropped at hearing the name “Koos van Noort”. “What? That’s not possible!” Confused at the reaction, I looked up “Kurhaus” and “Koos van Noort”, and understood just how prestigious the restaurant and the chef were. Thus I replied, similarly exasperated: “You’re right, it doesn’t seem possible!”

And yet it was. Two weeks later, Mr. van Noort really arrived. The first time we met, we talked for two hours as if we were old friends just meeting each other again after years. Even more incredible than getting to meet him, was that he had been in the hotel’s kitchen more than twenty years ago. While we were there, he said that the furnishing has barely changed.

“Yang, this kitchen is the best place in the entire village! If I were twenty years younger, I would work here personally without question! Don’t worry though, we can find a way to turn this into a formidable restaurant. From here on out, this is what we have to do…”

When Koos is speaking, he does so with energy and ambition, often using his hand to mimic a knife cutting vegetables while saying: “We’ll get it done, *tsjak tsjak tsjak*, just like that!” His drive and steadfast attitude radiate from his words and demeanour, almost like a general! His willingness to help and enthusiasm about the project ignited my dream to open a restaurant. Koos told me I need a young person as chef with talent who has a love for the craft; experience was unimportant. He gave me advice on where to go headhunting and even offered to personally mentor them to ensure the quality of the menu!

Two weeks passed; I was still busy looking when Koos called me to tell me he has found a fantastic candidate named Stijn. We arranged a time, and just like that, it was the first time Stijn and I met.

Stijn is a young man brimming with energy with a deep passion for cooking. Average height, trimmed beard, and always smiling. Just like Koos, he lives in Schin op Geul. During his high school years, he attended a school in preparation for a university bachelor(VWO), almost completing the course.during his final year, he realised his greatest passion was cooking, and promptly transferred to the academy of hospitality and management in Eindhoven, even receiving the recommendation of Koos. Presently he has graduated for two years and works at an excellent restaurant.

The first time we met, we got along very well! The subsequent time, Stijn told me he had decided to come and work for me. With the assistance of Lady Luck, I’ve found the soul to match the greatness of the kitchen’s view!

Yesterday, I saw Stijn busy at work in preparation for business, organising various ingredients in front of the window at the back, through which the sun cast its radiant light into the kitchen.

I asked him: “What is your greatest dream?” “To have my own restaurant,” he replied.

His answer evoked in me a moment of reflection. Next year I will be fifty, busy with whatever mundane problem presents itself, with seemingly no goal in mind. I no longer know what my own dream is!

When enjoying the delightful and wholesome meal Stijn prepared, it felt like I tasted the taste of hopes, dreams, and passions. To have a dream, an ambition to work towards, is immensely satisfying, as is working with someone passionate!